Thank you very much for the photos. Along with the photos that Lydia provided, I now have a better feel for what the RT pizza and crust look like. After you posted the new set of photos, I spent some time rereading all the old posts on this topic and re-familiarizing myself with all the details that ThatOneGuy gave us for preparing the RT dough to make pizzas. I also did some more research on cracker-type pizzas, along with trying to come up with what may be a better approach to making the RT clone dough and pizza in the home.
As I now assess the matter, essentially everything seems to boil down to these four major components, which I will address in sequence:
1) Flour type
2) Dough formulation
3) Dough preparation, and
4) Oven thermodynamics
Flour type: I agree that the King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour may not be the best choice. However, I think I would still go with either a bread flour or high-gluten flour from another source. Comparing the ingredients used in the KASL flour and the pizza flour blend that RT is using, the RT pizza flour blend appears to be higher in barley malt. That may account in part for the fairly light crusts that the RT standard pizzas have. I thought that RT might be using a Pendleton pizza flour blend, but when I read the ingredients given on a bag of the Pendleton (Mondako) pizza flour, I could see that it is a different blend with different rank ordering of ingredients (it also includes dairy whey instead of nonfat dry milk and it includes L-cysteine, which is often used to prevent over elasticity in the dough). Since General Mills flours uses barley malt in the same manner as the supplier of the RT pizza flour blend, I would consider a high-protein flour from GM, possibly even the All Trumps.
Dough formulation: In re-reviewing the RT clone dough formulation I originally posted, I do not believe that I would change much in that formulation. However, I would like to get a better fix, if that is possible, on the hydration. We have been going on the assumption that of the 24.5 pounds of pizza flour blend, 23 pounds of it is the flour. I’d like to see if I can confirm that, using my spreadsheet and running some numbers through it. It’s also possible that we may want to increase the amount of shortening, possibly along with a slight increase in the salt content. I believe the thickness factor, 0.08, is still a viable number to use for the time being. Since the sugar and non-fat dry milk are used in rather small quantities, I don’t believe that changing their quantities will have a material effect on the final dough. I would advocate using at least one day, and possibly two, of cold fermentation in order to get better flavor development. A long room-temperature ferment may also be an option although it may be necessary to alter (reduce) the amount of yeast to accommodate that option. Given a choice, I would perhaps go with the cold fermentation since that appears to be the method of choice at RT. What I will need to know at this point to produce the next iteration of the dough formulation is the number and size of the pizzas desired. From there, I should be able to come up with more detailed instructions for making the dough and managing it on the bench to make pizzas.
Dough preparation: Of all the four factors mentioned above, I think that this may be the most important. It’s the area where I have done the most rethinking, especially after studying the information that ThatOneGuy provided on how the dough is handled in conjunction with the sheeter. The work I did before in this area was predicated on making a round skin with the proper attributes. I think now that I may want to change that to a rectangular skin--one from which one or more round skins can be cut. Doing that may allow us to follow more carefully and precisely the procedures that ThatOneGuy detailed for us but on a much smaller scale and using a rolling pin in lieu of a sheeter. I think one of the key aspects of the RT dough handling process is the multiple rolling operations and the use of fair amounts of flour. My thinking here is that the multiple layers that are formed with the multiple sheetings with thin layers of flour and possibly air pockets trapped between the “sheets” may be the main contributor to the biscuit-like effect that has been mentioned. I think I would also slightly underknead the dough in the bowl because the multiple rollings themselves will provide additional kneading. Otherwise, the dough may be too tough and reduce the biscuit-like effect.
Oven thermodynamics: I believe the best way to go in baking the RT clone pizzas is to use a perforated disk, consistent with the approach used at RT. At the time I last wrote on this topic, all I had available to use was a dark anodized cutter pan. I now have a beautiful 16” perforated dark anodized disk from pizzatools.com. I think that such a disk should perform reasonably well in a home oven environment. In the absence of such a disk, I would be inclined to use a preheated pizza stone. For the disk, I would perhaps use an oven temperature of around 475 degrees F to start, and see what bake time is required to get the desired crust color, texture and crumb. It may take a few tries to get this part right, but usually the results are worth the effort.