I am gonna contribute my take on this in a few days (a fresh take). Making the dough right now for a brunch pizza. My approach is similar but also quite different from Jim's.
In reviewing the Lahey recipe on Slice, each dough ball (apart from bench flour, which I barely use any) is 217 grams which is either wrong or makes for some very tiny pizzas.
I don't have any real issue with Jim. When diehard enthusiasts evaluate things they have a tendency to be hard to satisfy, like the the way fans of a band dissect a new "album". They are far more critical than most people would be. I used to be more anal about my pizza but it sucks a lot of the joy out of it for me. Pizza making as hobby should, IMO, be more about fun and sharing food than some sort of rigorous lab experiment focused on an idea of perfection that is not static. Years from now, different materials and approaches will come out that make us rethink things all over again. There is no perfect way.I do think Scott has some valid points though
, but I have yet to hear the suggestions (specific and concrete, not blanket) of what Jim should be saying, just hearing that what he said isn't up to snuff. If he should have suggested a different stone or material what is it? If he shouldn't suggest cranking your oven as high as it should go what should he be, that we all need a particular kind of oven or what? If the bake time is erroneous what should it be? Is it reasonable to expect that everyone who buys the book has access to thick steel, a bangin' oven and an IR thermometer? Of course not, that is just totally unrealistic and would be a different book alltogether, one with a much smaller market of potential customers that is for sure.
I'll leave the naysayers (please understand I am not taking a pro Lahey stance, just being matter of fact) with a pic of a "low knead" (yeah, I coined that, if you use you must always give me credit
I made in 2010. I baked it on a cast iron (pizza specific) pan (blasphemous I know -- but I know for sure it works great and most of the people that malign this pan never even tried it, LOL), cranked the oven and observed the bake (never put it on broil, just preheated set at 550 for an hour). I don't need
an effing thermometer or to know the exact temp of the oven to make a killer pizza -- when it is done it is done
. My eyes tell me what I need to know
and are the best tool available
. If I did know all that, I have a hard time believing the pizza would have been any better, I just would have had more data points. Not a bad thing by any means but not necessary. I invite any of you to tell me that my pizza looks mediocre or that my method was somehow flawed.