I still haven't figured out the kneading ground rules for the Caputo 00 flour.
When I first started playing around with 00 flours a few years ago, I routinely kneaded the dough for about a total of 30 minutes. I understood that the reason for such a long knead time was to fully develop the gluten. That seemed logical since I was using Bel Aria 00 flour and I estimated that it had around 10% protein (or less). Since the pizzas turned out fine, I just assumed that long knead times were needed in order to make the pizzas.
When I was finally able to get some Caputo 00 flour, courtesy of the importer, the Caputo 00 dough recipe that I was given--from Molino Caputo, the Italian miller--said the following: The dough must be mixed for about 15 minutes (mix on speed 1 for 5 minutes, speed two for 5 minutes, then speed 1 again for last 5 minutes.) I read an article today--a translation of an Italian document about proper kneading of a 00 dough--and it said that the dough should be kneaded for a total of 30 minutes, an initial knead of 10 minutes to mix the flour and water, followed by another knead of 20 minutes.
I have seen instances, including at this thread on A16, where much shorter knead times have been used. I have seen at least one segment on the foodnetwork cable program where short knead times were used, including a segment you alluded to in an earlier post in which Tyler Florence visited a woman in Naples (Signora Raffone) who made a Caputo 00 dough entirely by hand with a fairly short knead time. Tyler liked the finished pizza so much that I decided to try out the recipe myself using the King Arthur 00 flour clone (remember, I didn't have the Caputo 00 flour at that time). The results were so poor that I ended up sending an email to King Arthur to complain about their flour and to tell them that my pizza was one of the worse I had ever made. At the time, I hadn't heard about the Caputo 00 flour (I was later told about it by the chief pizzaiolo at Naples 45 in NYC), but when I saw a rerun of the above segment I watched very carefully to see what kind of 00 flour was used and finally saw the bag of flour with the Caputo name on it.
I think where one of the disconnects is occurring is in relation to the machines used to knead the Caputo 00 dough. I believe in Naples the equipment used to knead 00 doughs employ spiral and other similar kneading techniques (with spiral arms and kneading bars) that do a better job of aerating the dough than other types of mixers (e.g., planetary) and apparently with far less heat buildup. Under these circumstances, a total knead time of 15-30 minutes might not be unreasonable. And it stands to reason that the better the aeration, the more oxygen is incorporated into the dough. This is important because yeast needs oxygen for cell reproduction, and the greater the cell reproduction, the greater the production of carbon dioxide and alcohol. And with good gluten development, you end up with a better overall dough.
Why Chef Christophe at A16 doesn't use an Italian mixer is an interesting question. Maybe he is trying to achieve equally good results, or even better results, but using a different approach. In Italy, a 00 dough intended for same day use (which is just about all 00 dough) is punched down maybe once before using (typically after the first rise). At A16, the Caputo 00 dough is retarded in a cooler, but it is subjected to two and maybe three punchdowns during its stay in the cooler. Most people perceive that the reason for punching down and rekneading the dough is to redistribute the yeast throughout the dough and expose the redistributed yeast to new sources of food (sugar) in the flour. That is true, but punching down the dough and rekneading it also expels "old" carbon dioxide from the dough (that's the "swooshing" sound you hear) and introduces a fresh source of air (oxygen) into the dough to be used by the yeast for continued cell reproduction and production of more carbon dioxide. This is important since oxygen is very rapidly used up by the yeast (the process actually becomes anaerobic at some point) and if there is too little of it, the reproduction cycle slows down. It's perhaps safe to say that the entire fermentation process is more uniform and otherwise benefits from the punchdowns.
Maybe Chef Christophe is banking on his approach to "replicate" the results achieved by Neapolitan pizzaioli with their same day, room temperature fermentation, but resorting more to hand kneading than machine kneading, different yeast management, the long retarded fermentation (for biochemical gluten development, etc.), the use of olive oil, and multiple punchdowns. I hope within a few days to answer some of my own questions. I have a Caputo 00 dough in process that is based on a slight modification of the "giotto" recipe, and using the restated processing steps recently set forth by Friz in a recent post. I look forward to comparing the results against all the other Caputo 00 crusts and pizzas I have made, and will, of course, report on the results.