I'm kind of new on the forum, but I "lurked" from the dark for a long time. First of all I want to say that this thread is AMAZING. the passion and the knowledge is great here, it is really inspiring and helpful!
To the majority of you that don't know me, I'm a neapolitan guy living abroad. I've lived in Naples for many years, and have had the big luck of eating Da Michele thousands times. And even if pizzerie like Pellone, Sorbillo, Trianon are really good, the only one that I recall coming close to Michele is Port'Alba (Neaples as well).
In my years out of my country, I've come to the conclusion that Neapolitans - let's say, all italians! are really good at judging pizza, but not that good in baking one. I mean, as you can have a wonderful pizza whenever you want for a little price, and as you don't have a oven to properly bake one, you never study properly the art behind it (unless you're a Pizzaiolo). So the pizzas that I've tasted in my life at home are always "different" from the NEapolitans ones.
But this forum gave me the inspiration to try. To study, to perfection. And even if I don't have a proper oven but a simple home electric one, I feel like I'm learning a new instrument. When I first started learning guitar, years ago, I did not need a fancy one. I needed a basic, "study" guitar. So I will consider my oven and my limits (the temperature, the 3 heating factors, etc) as a way to learn more. Before having the perfect instrument, I have to earn the right with the proper technique. Will come the day when I'll have a proper WFO and will bake myself a wonderful pizza!!!
Also, I've to say that with the help of (mainly) John (dellavecchia) and some other users of the forums, I've reached a "good" result. For my friend is amazing with a home oven, but I've seen also users like Infodeel baking wonderful pies in an unmod oven. The point is not where you are or what you can do, but What do you want to achieve. So if for normal people "baking pizza" is a hobby and as soon as they get a decent result they are happy, for me is a passion that I will carry on forward all my life.
This long introduction is to create the proper background for my questions. So you have now my profile - a beginner, with a home oven, and a lot of passion (I've started my own "Pasta Madre" and now it smells like champagne - will try in a couple of weeks to see how much levain power has!).
So, one thing I've learn, is that a lot of people think a lot of different things. So, the point I've learned is, there is no secret ingredients, no perfect recipe, no good or bad method - there is difference. That's why Michele and Sorbillo are different yet both amazing; you've to find your way to bake YOUR perfect pizza. Don't let anyone else say different. If someone gives you the perfect recipe, argue it. The thing you're looking for is not the proportion of the ingredients. You can learn from that, and learn from the experience of other people, but the real thing that will "break" the pizza is balance. You've to understand what thing creates what results, and try to balance it to reach the result desired.
So, apart from the heat - and the kind of heat, as discussed in induction, convection, conduction etc - and apart from the oven, I strongly believe I have to understand how the dough really works. And even if I made my way into this forum (and especially this thread, that took me one month to fully read!!) and have understood a couple of important thing, I would like to ask you, skilled users, to "simplify". In the end, we all are searching for Neapolitan Pizza, which is "simple".
So, for the sake of us beginner, can you please help me understand the role of every ingredient / method in the dough? I understood, for example, that I want to bake with Pasta Madre, for the sour flavour. That I want to do a ferment of x + Y, where x is a much smaller time of bulk ferment and Y is a long time of ball ferment. I understood this because I've seen a difference in the fermentation related to the kind of "bubbles" you'll find in the crust. the kind x + Y works for my kind of pizza, as I love big holes in the crumb. Also, I've understood that with a longer fermentation you can "stretch" the gluten web, thus having a softer dough. Also, I've understood that hydration is important both for the kind of the dough and for the leoparding and for the bake time - which for me is crucial, as I cannot get over (at the moment) a MAX of 600F (and I don't really want to mod the oven).
I understood that the dough ball is never to be pressed, but "stretched" to help the oxigen concentrate in the crust. In my experience, I understood that more salt means better intake of water from flour, but too much salt = too elastic and gummy dough.
Those are understanding of my readings, but as this thread is - in some parts - very very technical, I would really love to create a "Guide to the interactions of the elements of the dough" to help all the readers that are beginners (like me) not to be scared by all those wonderful knowledge you have.
I'm actually talking to Omid. Omid, your passion, knowledge and dedication has amazed me. Thanks for all your time and spirit, this is a rare pearl nowadays. I would like to help build such a thing - and I'm actually an egoistic being, because doing so, I would learn and experiment a lot.
Thanks you all for your incredible help!