In fact, I did just this recently with a Lehmann NY style dough, and reported on the results at Reply #175 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.160.html. The preferment for that particular experiment was dough-like in texture but I see no reason why you couldn't use a more liquid preferment so long as you are careful with the kneading so as no to generate excessive heat in the dough.
Thank you Peter for all the insights. Actually after killing my yeast once just as you described I learned to start with the right temperature of water, and stop the the food processor every minute or so. With dry yeast I pretty much mastered how to get the dough to turn out at about 85į. In fact, that's one of the reasons I like using a food processor so much (because you can get the temp of the dough up there where it needs to be).
I liked it so much that after I sold my mixer, along with my old food processor, I used the money to upgrade to Kitchenaid's new Proline series 1000w food processor. Man is that thing impressive, and it holds steady when the dough is spinning around. But the 16 cup bowl is too big for making a single pizza, and the 1000 watt motor shreds the dough. I talked with KA extensively about this suggesting they needed to make a dough blade for the smaller 11 cup work bowl, and for the unit to have a slower speed. Seeing I wasn't too happy with the unit were nice enough to let me trade it back the most powerful version of their now discontinued 11 cup line (690 watts), which I'm happy with. After all that, I wasn't looking forward to investing in another mixer, so I am glad to hear your views about using the food processor.
.When you use a preferment to leaven a dough, and especially a more liquid one, you will in most cases have to make an adjustment to the amount of flour to compensate for the added liquid from the preferment. Otherwise, the dough can be too wet. This is one of the reasons why professional bakers who routinely use preferments try to get their preferments to have the same hydration as the doughs into which the preferments are injected. That way, any adjustments are minor.
This is a little off topic, but I am both excited and stressed about using the preferment. Right now I have my recipe figured out to the gram and second, and so I figure learning the new crust is going to mean less than perfect pizzas for a while.
I'll be reading what everyone has been doing here, and likely trying the recipe you provided above, but maybe I could ask just a couple of quick questions first.
The preferment a local baker gave me was in the form of a batter. She said it was over two years old, and explained how when one creates a new starter how aggressive it rises dough and has intense flavor, but as time passes the starter acts more slowly but imparts less intense but higher quality flavor to the dough.
She said I needed to "dry" out my starter between uses by adding flour. Then when I was going to use it, add water again, take out what I was going to use, and then dry out what remains and store it in the refrigerator until the next time I want to use it.
Of course, the way I like to do things is to have exactly to the gram how much of what to add, so I have to figure all that out. I was wondering what just what you suggested, if, that is, one can add just enough water to the starter to bring get it close to the consistency of how your dough is going to be. If that works, that seems ideal. But, do I need to add the water a day before I'm going to use it to let it get to work? Or can I do it right when I'm going to use it?
With dry yeast, I let my dough rise for an hour before I refrigerate it for 36 hours or so. Should I do that with the preferment too?