Author Topic: My Lehmann style fail  (Read 1264 times)

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Offline FJPhil

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My Lehmann style fail
« on: November 22, 2011, 12:15:14 AM »
So I was poking around on one of the Mega Threads..with like 50-60 pages of posts, and I found a recipe (from Pete-zza), that was intended to be a 24 hour cold fermented Lehmann style pizza.  Unfortunately, I think his recipe was either for 2-12" or 2-16"...I cant remember which..and I cant re-find the post.  Anyhow, long story short...I tried to replicate said recipe scaled for 2-14" pies.

Here's what I tried
Bread Flour (I used Pilsbury) - 100% - 529.31g
Water                               - 63% - 333.47g
IDY                                  - 0.25% - 1.32g
Salt                                  - 1.75% - 9.26g
Oil (I used EVOO)                - 1.0% - 5.29g
VWG                                 - 2.5% - 13.23g

I mixed the flour,salt, and VWG in a bowl.  I mixed the oil and the water in a separate bowl.  I then gradually added the water/oil mixture to the dry ingredients and incorporated with a wooden spoon.  After everything was mixed together I sprinkled on the IDY and threw it in my Kitchenaid mixer with C hook and put it on speed 1 for about 6-7 minutes.  After mixing, I took the dough, and divided it into 2 equal weight balls and put them in cooking spray coated bowls with plastic wrap and placed them in my refrigerator.

1st Pizza (after 24 hours in fridge)
I should have known I was going to have issues when I noticed my dough had not really risen much at all.  The dough was really difficult to stretch, and I actually had to abuse it with a rolling pin (which I havent had to use for quite some time) in order to get it to my 14" screen.  Once on my 14" screen, I placed it on my middle rack in my 500 degree preheated oven.  I baked it on the middle rack for about 5 minutes and then transferred it to my pizza stone which I had on the oven floor.  I then left it to finish on the stone for about another 3 minutes. 

This pizza was pretty bad....the dough did not have any color and remained white after baking.  The crust tasted really, really bland and had a had a texture similar to cibiatta bread, without the tasty goodness.

2nd Pizza (after 48 hours in fridge)
The dough this time had risen a little..but still not nearly as much as I'm used to.  However, this time the dough was very easy to work hand tossed with relative ease, and was pretty easy to fit to my 14" screen.  I baked it using the exact same technique as my 1st pizza. 

This pizza was a little bit better...the dough was definitely easier to work with...but the pizza was still pretty bland. It retained its crunchy cibiatta texture...but this time it had a little better crumb structure with some air bubbles. 

So my obvious question is...what gives?  I am going to make a fairly educated guess and wonder aloud if it was a combination of really low yeast combined with cold-fermentation.  That was the lowest amount of yeast I've ever used for 2 14" pies.  Also, my fridge is kept at 37 degrees..which may be colder than most people use for cold-fermentation. 

Thank you for any tips/advice that comes from this....I am still in search for a good 48 hr or less hand tossed style dough.

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: My Lehmann style fail
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2011, 12:39:16 AM »
.....   I mixed the oil and the water in a separate bowl.  I then gradually added the water/oil mixture to the dry ingredients and incorporated with a wooden spoon.  After everything was mixed together I sprinkled on the IDY and threw it in my Kitchenaid mixer ....   

Possibly the IDY was waiting for some water but you added an oily water mix ?  How should the yeast get water with all that oil in the way? ???

I might suggest reading the following for more information :,16021.msg157061.html#msg157061,15155.msg149707.html#msg149707

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends


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Re: My Lehmann style fail
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2011, 06:28:03 AM »
Yeast dissolves in water and oil just as easily as it dissolves in water. But it definitely will have a hard time dispersing in already mixed dough. Phil, add the yeast to the wet ingredients, stir, then combine dry into wet.

I'm not sure this is the root cause of the problem though.  Lack of browning is almost always an oven issue.

Phil, pizza is not like a roast, where you preheat the oven, toss in the meat and the convective air currents circulate the heat around the meat, slowly baking it.  The heat for pizza is directional.  Intense heat from above and intense heat from below.

Intense heat from Above

For NY style in a home oven, it's very difficult to get proper top browning without using the broiler.  Since broiling impact depends on proximity, the stone has to be in the upper part of the oven.  Is your oven gas or electric?  If it's gas and doesn't have a broiler in the main compartment, then you'll need some kind of oven within an oven mod.

Intense heat from Below

Pizza screens are bad enough when placed directly on stones, because they put air pockets between the stone and pizza and extend the bake time/handicap coloring.  When you put a pizza screen on a shelf, that's even worse, because you're moving it further away from the heat source (stone).  As far as your first 5 minutes are concerned, your screen on a shelf is delivering about as much heat as a hair dryer. And, as far as the last 3 minutes go, you're still hampering the ability of the stone to brown the bottom of the pizza properly by using a screen.

Lose the screen. Get a peel and learn how to launch a pizza onto the pre-heated stone. That's the only way you're going to succeed in getting good NY style pizza.

Phil, is 500 as hot as your oven will go?  Even if you work with a peel and use the broiler, 500 is still going to handicap you bake wise.  

« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 06:35:14 AM by scott123 »

Offline patdakat345

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Re: My Lehmann style fail
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2011, 06:46:49 AM »
I don,t know what FJPhil's problem is, but I have never had a problem using screens. I get a deep colored bottom. I fail to see less than 1/32" screen thickness is going to significantly reduce the temperature between the stone and the bottom of the pizza. FJPhil doesn't say as to how long between the time it is removed to the refrigerator and between the time he starts to prepare the pizza.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My Lehmann style fail
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2011, 08:51:41 AM »

I canít say that I recognize the specific dough formulation either, but unless I was intentionally doing something unique or different, I donít recognize the specific dough preparation and sequencing of ingredients you used. However, I do have several comments that might help explain why you got the results you got.

First, if you add the IDY late in the process, and in the specific way that you did (after all of the rest of the ingredients were mixed together), much as you might do if you were using a classic Calvel autolyse, that is likely to make it harder to uniformly incorporate the IDY into the dough. That might slow down the fermentation process a bit and extend the window of fermentation. In your case with your particular dough preparation protocol, you might have benefited from a longer cold fermentation, perhaps three or more days. That would give you substantially more byproducts of fermentation and yield a more flavorful crust. Also, if it is starting to get cool/cold where you live, for example, if it is in the 30-45 degrees F range, you might want to increase the amount of IDY to compensate for the cooler weather. I do this sort of thing where I live in Texas when it starts to get cool. Moreover, since your refrigerator operates more like a commercial cooler temperature-wise, you perhaps will want to increase the amount of IDY anyway, to maybe something closer to 0.40%. You might also want to increase the water temperature. Ideally, with your refrigerator, you want to use a water temperature that will give you a finished dough temperature of around 80-85 degrees F.

Second, like scott123, I prefer to add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients. Also, the IDY can be added to the flour or, if desired, it can be rehydrated in warm water. As member November has noted in the first paragraph of his post at Reply 6 at,5028.msg42572/topicseen.html#msg42572, and as scott123 noted, yeast and oil can peacefully coexist. However, my usual practice where the knead time is fairly long (e.g., more than about 4-5 minutes using a stand mixer) is to add the IDY directly to the flour. Also, when using vital wheat gluten (VWG), I use the practice recommended by Tom Lehmann, which is to stir the VWG in with the flour. That helps prevent clumping or pilling. However, some people like to stir the VWG in with the water, to get more uniform hydration of the VWG, as November prefers (see his post at,4358.msg36401.html#msg36401).

Third, your hydration is actually lower than the 63% you noted, because you did not take into account that the VWG also has to be hydrated. The actual hydration of your formulation is closer to 61.5%. That value should work with your Pillsbury bread flour, but to be more precise, I estimate that you may need about 5 more grams of water to compensate for the fact that VWG needs more water to be hydrated than the Pillsbury bread flour (the VWG by my calculation has an absorption rate of about 37% higher than the bread flour). I used Novemberís hydration tool at to calculate the absorption rate of a generic VWG with a protein content of 75%. You didnít indicate the brand of VWG you are using but the above estimate should not vary much with brand.

Fourth, I have often used a pizza screen with good results. However, in my case, I use a pizza screen only when I am making a pizza that is larger than 14Ē, which is the largest size pizza that I can bake on my pizza stone. For a pizza size of less than 14Ē in my oven, the stone produces better results. But, when using a pizza screen, my practice is to put the screen with the pizza at a higher oven rack position than you used, and then move it down onto my pizza stone, which is placed on the lowest oven rack position of my electric oven.

In addition to considering the above comments, you might also benefit from reading the thread at,2223.msg19503.html#msg19503, and particularly the posts starting at Reply 8 at,2223.msg19563/topicseen.html#msg19563. That is the thread that I often recommend to members who are trying to make a basic Lehmann NY style pizza.


Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: My Lehmann style fail
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2011, 10:15:44 AM »
From what you have described, I'm guessing that the water temperature was too cold. You said that the dough had hardly risen by the following day, and a cold dough temperature would explain that. With the 6 to 7-minutes of machine mixing it is OK to add IDY directly to the dough as you did. It is designed for that method of application when machine mixing is used. For a finished dough temperature, you want to look for something in the 80 to 85F range. The reason why the dough didn't color up might be due to the fact that it didn't expand very much during baking (lack of oven spring), this would allow the bottom heat to pass through the dough into the sauce, where it is dissipated as steam. In order to get the crust to brown, you've got to get the dough surface temperature up to around 300 to 400F. When the dough expands during baking, it creates an open structure which prevents the heat from being conducted through the dough, hence allowing the surface temperature to rise sufficiently high to allow for the browning reaction to take place.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline FJPhil

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Re: My Lehmann style fail
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2011, 01:29:59 PM »
Oh my....I didn't expect to get so many replies so quickly!  :D

As to what I based this recipe off...I finally found it....I based it off Pete's reply #389 at,576.380.html 

I have to say after reading everyone's thoughts on how I added my IDY....there appears to be no 2 answers alike! With that being said, I'm thinking the "how" of the IDY was probably not the issue. 

As to the specifics of my oven/baking technique: I use a gas does have a broiler on the top, but to be honest I've never used it for pizza making purposes.  Also, I should have been more clear in my original post....I only use the screen for the first 5 minutes of baking (on the middle rack) and then I slide the pizza off of the screen directly on to my stone which is sitting directly on the oven floor.  I use this method because I have found over the years that it is much easier to do than transferring the raw pizza from the peel to the stone.  Also, I have not really noticed that big of a difference in crust texture between my method and baking the entire time on the stone. 

The bottom always gets good color/browning..but I tend to have browning issues with the tops of my crusts from time to time...perhaps that is where this broiler trick comes in?

I have to say what really was the biggest turn-off was more so the texture of my finished crust. It's hard to describe...but it was just the wrong sort of crispy. Like I was almost ciabatta like...or maybe more like stale bread. 

Thanks again everybody for your replies.


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Re: My Lehmann style fail
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2011, 01:54:46 PM »
Phil, was the crust dense?  That's one of the biggest issues with longer bake times.

Place the stone on an upper shelf and use the broiler during the bake. That will give you the browning you're looking for on top of the pizza.

Generally speaking, the lack of direct contact caused by the screen will add about a minute to your bake time.  When it comes to NY style, longer bakes are the kiss of death. In the Midwest, oilier doughs benefit from longer bake times, but, in the East, lean doughs need fast bakes or they get dough-y and dense.

I completely agree that using a peel is no easy task, but if you want to do justice to this style of pizza, you have to use one.

And, from reading the recipe, I can see that you're trying to recreate KASL by combining the Pillsbury with VWG. The Pillsbury bread flour will work absolutely fine on it's own, with this hydration.  The VWG isn't bringing anything to the table except for an off flavor.

Offline FJPhil

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Re: My Lehmann style fail
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2011, 02:05:02 PM »
Scott, thank you for your reply.... Yes the crust was denser than what I would attribute to a typical NY style pizza...although I still had the air bubbles.  But the end crust (where the money is), had pretty awful texture and the interior was more dense than light and airy. 

As far as the broiler goes...I am slightly concerned that the broiler may burn the cheese before the crust is finished broiler only has 2 settings..High and Low, which would you recommend?  I guess if I place my stone in the middle of the oven, then it will still be a decent distance away from the broiler, and it probably won't burn the cheese. 

I can do the stone without the screen, but I then have to use corn meal or selmolina as a "sliding" agent...and then that crap gets all over my stone, or on the bottom of my oven and burns....which is really a pain in the arse. 


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Re: My Lehmann style fail
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2011, 05:16:10 PM »
Definitely go with the 'High' setting or the broiler and don't be afraid to put the stone close to the top.  For this style, as long as you're using low moisture whole milk mozzarella, the cheese will bubble and brown for quite a while before burning.

Traditionally, the 'sliding' agent for NY pizzerias is either flour or a combo of flour and semolina.  If you're using a good wood peel with a thin blade, along with a hydration that isn't too elevated, you shouldn't end up with too much flour on your stone.