After conducting many experiments recently with thin-crust pizzas, from which I learned a lot about that style and the principles involved, I decided to take another stab at an RT clone. The area that I most wanted to explore with that clone was the dough-rolling problem. So, after giving that problem some thought, I decided to take one of the earlier RT clone recipes (the one at Reply 82 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1911.msg33883.html#msg33883
) and to modify it in two significant ways: to increase the hydration, and to use the “dough warming” method using a proofing box as described at this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.0.html
. I elected to use the abovementioned recipe mainly because I wanted to keep the salt level at a value (1.75%) that I have found to be workable for my palate for most pizza styles. Since I had a baker’s grade dry milk powder on hand, I also used that in lieu of the Carnation’s dry milk powder I last used. Using the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html
, the dough formulation I ended up with was as follows:
Baker's Non-Fat Dry Milk (1.25%):
|371.46 g | 13.1 oz | 0.82 lbs|
193.16 g | 6.81 oz | 0.43 lbs
1.49 g | 0.05 oz | 0 lbs | 0.49 tsp | 0.16 tbsp
6.5 g | 0.23 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.16 tsp | 0.39 tbsp
5.57 g | 0.2 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.4 tsp | 0.47 tbsp
4.64 g | 0.16 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.19 tsp | 0.4 tbsp
6.5 g | 0.23 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.63 tsp | 0.54 tbsp
589.32 g | 20.79 oz | 1.3 lbs | TF = 0.0812
Note: Harvest King flour used; nominal thickness factor = 0.08; 1.5% bowl residue compensation
As will be noted from the above formulation, the major change from the earlier formulation was in the hydration. I somewhat arbitrarily increased it from 48.3% to 52%. I wanted the change to be dramatic enough so that the changes would be pronounced and possibly point me in a better, or right, direction the next time. For purposes of using the tool, I had decided on a 14” pizza size and a thickness factor of 0.08. To get a 14” skin, I used the tool to specify the ingredients I would need to make a sheet of dough that was 16” by 16”. From that sheet, I would cut out a 14” skin, leaving about an inch on each side as scrap. I used a bowl residue compensation of 1.5% just to keep the numbers in line even though I knew I would end up with some scrap.
To prepare the dough, I put the formula water into the bowl of my KitchenAid stand mixer (with a C-hook), and I combined all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. The temperature of the water I used was about 100 degrees F, which I estimated would produce a finished dough temperature of around 80-85 degrees F, as specified on the bag of pizza mix that elsegundo showed in a post early on in this thread. I gradually added the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and mixed them using the C-hook at the stir speed. I used a long, thin plastic spatula to help move the ingredients into the path of the dough hook. After about a minute or two, I added the shortening (Crisco) and incorporated that into the rest of the mix. I then kneaded the dough, at speeds 1 and 2, for about 5 minutes. Twice during the knead period, I found it necessary to stop the machine and help combine the ingredients into a cohesive ball by hand. At the end of the 5-minute knead time, I hand kneaded the dough for about another minute to get it into a smooth, round shape. The finished dough weight was 20.90 ounces, which was 0.42 ounces more than I wanted based on a 16” square sheet with a thickness factor of 0.08. So I simply trimmed away 0.42 ounces. The finished dough temperature was 81 degrees F.
At this point, I decided on another important change. Instead of forming the dough ball into a rectangular log to then go into the refrigerator, I decided to form it into a square shape. I concluded that possibly a rectangular shape would work for a large amount of dough (e.g., 25 pounds in the case of ThatOneGuy) but that the dimensions were not right for a small amount of dough. Also, since I wanted to ultimately end up with a square sheet of dough (16” by 16”), I thought it made more sense to work exclusively with a square shape and, by so doing, make the rolling out process more symmetrical. So, after placing the dough ball into a generally square-shaped plastic storage container and lightly coating it with shortening, I flattened the dough ball to conform to the shape of the storage container. I would say that the dough piece was about 2” thick. The dough at this stage can be seen in the first photo below. The dough went into the refrigerator, where it stayed for just short of two days, which is the maximum mentioned by ThatOneGuy.
Upon removing the dough piece from the refrigerator, I placed it into my proofing box. A photo of that proofing box is shown at Reply 69 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg49752.html#msg49752
. I set the proofing box to about 115-120 degrees F (using the thermometer to tell me the temperature) and allowed the dough, still within its container, to warm up for about two hours.
Whereas the dough had not risen noticeably while in the refrigerator (as ThatOneGuy said would be the case), it rose by about 15% while in the proofing box. I gently removed the dough piece from its container so that it would retain its square shape and put it onto my well-floured work surface. I pressed the dough with my fingers to flatten it as much as possible and, using my tapered wood rolling pin dusted with flour, I then rolled out the dough to a 16” square—rolling from top to bottom and side to side with smooth rhythmic actions so that the skin would have a uniform thickness. I had no problems whatsoever rolling out the skin to this point since the dough was warm and soft. I then dusted the top surface of the skin with a small amount of bench flour and folded the right side of the skin to the center of the skin, which was followed by folding over the left half of the skin over the other half. This is the 1/3-2/3 method previously described by ThatOneGuy and, I believe, is similar to what elsegundo uses. After dusting the exposed surfaces with more bench flour, I repeated this 1/3-2/3 sequence but in the other direction—vertically from top to bottom (i.e., from top to center and bottom to center). This left me with a square piece of dough with multiple layers—more, I believe, than what ThatOneGuy described. The dough at this point had a shape like the dough piece shown in the first photo but it was in layers, not a single unitary piece.
I then rolled out this new square piece of dough. This time, the rolling out process was more labored because the dough was fairly stiff and the layers wanted to slide rather than roll out. However, I found that letting the dough rest from time to time--for even a few seconds--made it easier to roll out. As an extemporaneous experiment, I also found that docking the dough piece as I rolled it out seemed to make the dough easier to roll out. I didn’t want to overuse this method and possibly alter the final outcome of the dough in an unintended way, but it occurred to me that it might be something to explore more fully in a future experiment. I also found that when the dough got to about 12” square, the rest of the rolling process went more smoothly and more quickly. The second photo below (without the flash) shows the rolled out dough. From the 16” square sheet of dough, which I first docked using my dough docker, I used my cutter pan as a template to cut out a skin of 14”. Based on the weight of the 14” skin (13.80 ounces), I calculated that its thickness factor was 0.089524. The third photo below (without flash) shows the docked 14” skin.
I decided at this point to put the skin back into the refrigerator (as ThatOneGuy mentioned as one of the alternatives), with the intention of using it later in the day. To prepare the skin for the refrigerator, I dusted both sides of the skin with bench flour and folded it into quarters, which I then encased in plastic wrap before putting it into the refrigerator. This is a method I used successfully with the cracker-style skins I made in recent weeks. The fourth photo below shows the skin as it went back into the refrigerator. The skin remained in the refrigerator for 4 hours. When I removed the skin from the refrigerator, I saw that it had shrunk a bit (which is something I had also experienced with the cracker-style doughs). So, I rolled it out a bit and, to be on the safe side, I re-docked it. I decided not to let the skin warm up before using. The skin went directly into my 14” dark, anodized perforated cutter pan from pizzatools.com that I had lightly brushed with a light olive oil (in lieu of a spray that ThatOneGuy mentioned). I have a dark, anodized perforated disk that I could have used in lieu of the cutter pan, and I might try using that disk sometime, but I wanted to see if I could place the cheeses and toppings out to the edge without their falling off, and the side edges of the cutter pan appeared to offer that possibility. To carry out this objective, I pushed the dough up the sides of the cutter pan so that it would form a rim. Doing this had the effect of reducing the thickness factor to a bit over 0.08, which was the initial targeted number. The fifth photo below shows the perforated cutter pan I used.
I dressed the skin in the cutter pan using a 3:1:1 ratio of shredded mozzarella cheese (Best Choice low-moisture, part-skim), Provolone cheese (Stella), and medium cheddar cheese (Kraft); a 6-in-1 sauce with a wide variety of herbs and spices chosen more or less at random from my spice rack and microwaved using November’s microwave-assisted extraction method; partially-cooked hot Italian sausage (Safeway house sausage); diced green peppers; sliced raw onion; and Hormel pepperoni slices. I baked the pizza on the lowest oven rack position of my oven that I had preheated to 500 degrees F. After about 8 or 9 minutes, I moved the pizza (still in the cutter pan) to the uppermost oven rack position for an additional 2 minutes, also at 500 degrees F.
The photos in the next post show the finished pizza. I thought that it was exceptional. It wasn’t especially cracker-like and it wasn’t overly crispy, but the crust was crispy at the edges and randomly elsewhere. The center was soft and a bit chewy, and I could see distinct layers when I tried to peel back the crust. I tried to show this--but not particularly artfully--in one of the photos below. The crust coloration was good and there were bubbles here and there but not big enough to constitute eruptions.
Since I have never had an RT pizza, I have no idea of what I created. However, I would be hard pressed to imagine how an authentic RT pizza could be much better than the one I made. It was a great pizza.