Mike and Gene,
To answer your questions, I will begin by saying that my premise all along with the Luigi video is that what he is doing in the video is authentic and that the ingredient quantities are correct and that he isn't saying one thing on camera and doing something else off camera. I also realize that when doing a shoot, things are quite likely done that are different than what is normally done. For example, in looking at some of the links that Norma posted, it looks like they cleaned up Luigi's place for the shoot. So, things might have been moved around to make the place look more presentable. In the process, that might have led some of us to wrong conclusions.
The above said, when it comes to hydration values, I usually tend to err on the low side rather than the high side. For example, you will not often see me recommend that someone use a hydration value of 65% or some other value greater than the rated absorption value of a given flour, even for a high gluten flour. However, in the case of the Power flour, it has a rated absorption value of 65%. Most millers do not state the rated absorption values for their flours voluntarily but I am aware of the rated absorption values of many high gluten flours and they are almost always less than 65%. For example, for the All Trumps and KASL flours, the rated absorption values are 63%. And that is for flours that have protein contents of 14.2%, which is quite a bit higher than the 13.5% protein content of the Power flour. I cannot recall any other high gluten flour offhand that has a rated absorption value of 65%. To this, I will add that, according to the article at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/allyoucaneat/2009921993_pizza_flour_what_to_use_depend.html
, "Power is a strong, Montana-grown, commercial-grade, hard durum wheat flour." I can't say for sure, but I suppose that that might help explain the higher rated absorption value.
In arriving at the 65% hydration figure for the Power flour as used by Luigi, I also relied on observing the texture and consistency of the finished dough as shown in the video. To me, those factors suggest a hydration of around 65%. I believe that scott123 came to essentially the same conclusion as I did from the analysis of the specs for the Power flour and the video. I might also add that the "operational hydration" of a given flour, which relates to how bakers actually use the flour, can be a few percent higher than the rated absorption value. So, an "operational hydration" of 67% for a flour with a rated absorption value of 65% does not strike me as being excessive. In arriving at the 65% figure, I also reviewed the Jet's video at
. From what I understand, the dough shown in the Jet's video has a hydration of around 65%. Although the flour used by Jet's is likely to be a different flour than used by Luigi, the texture and consistency of the finished dough looks quite similar to Luigi's dough. The dough making part of the Jets video starts at about 2:39. Note the dough handling characteristics at around 3:00 in the video.
As a further observation, I will say that I believe that what Luigi is doing with his NY style dough strikes me as being quite authentic, and particularly so if he uses room temperature fermentation. In this vein, I recall that Evelyne Slomon once reported on the forum (in the NY board) that the protein content of the old NY style doughs had lower values than are now used in most places that specialize in the NY style (e.g., flours like All Trumps) and that the hydration value was around 65%--and that was for flours that were used long before high gluten flours started to be used and when flours were not as good as they are today. She also mentioned a salt baker's percent of 1.0% (which I found to be too low for my palate). I even played around with Evelyne's ideas at Reply 56 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.msg39803.html#msg39803
. As can be seen from that post, I did not have problems with extensibility at 65% hydration and that was with all-purpose flour in one case. However, I did use a special dough making method to make the dough so that it had qualities comparable to what I believed matched commercial planetary mixers.
I admittedly took a long and winding road to get from point A to point B, with a lot of pit stops along the way to analyze flour specs, apply logic and past experience, apply intuition, and draw in some history, but that is how I arrived at a hydration value of 65%. I will admit that it takes some skill to be able to form 18" skins in a commercial setting at a hydration of around 65%. However, member Terry Deane used to do it routinely in his pizza shop. Also, I believe that the 15 minute knead time that Luigi uses may help develop a strong gluten matrix for his doughs and improve the elasticity/extensibility characteristics.
If it sounded that I was fixated on the 25-pound bag size, I did not mean that to be the case. But if Mike is right that two bottles of water are used to make the dough, with each bottle being a gallon, then the amount of flour that would be used to get to a hydration value of 65% would seem to suggest a 25-pound bag more than a 30-pound bag. Of course, I could be wrong. And my logic at arriving to the conclusions stated above could be wrong or flawed in one or more respects.