No offense taken. You are quite right. By the late seventies slow proofing and dough pots and other methods were the order of the day. I really dislike dough pots. The only thing they bring to the production kitchen is a Toxicity from the acid in the oil leaching aluminum into the dough ball, more work and less efficient storage.I found dough pots will develop pin hole leaks in the bottoms over time. When you make a couple of hundred of pies a day then you have a couple of hundred dough pot to wash and re-oil each day. At the end of the year you have paid out thousands of dollars to wash dough pots. I would rather use that time and money to teach that person to make pizza and to cook then to be a drudge. I too can smell rancid oil from across the room. That is why dough trays were scrapped and stripped and re-oiled each day before reuse. And yes the wood will absorb oil over time and go rancid. This alarmed the health inspectors starting the move to the new storage that led to things like dough pots. And I must point out that your statement "unfinished wood. I'm well aware that wood has antibacterial properties, but" is misleading. Some wood may have this property but just as many are toxic. Ever seen a HEMLOCK salad bowl? I think not. How about a wooden spoon make from FIR. I think not. There are a lot of people who read this forums and do not have the culinary depth that it takes to keep cooking safe. There are a lot of artistically carved wooden cooking utensils met to hang on a wall and are not meant to use. You should never assume wood in general is antibacterial and safe. Bubba
My reference to wood and bacteria was to the countless studies that have been done proving wooden coooking utensils and cutting boards
to be anti-bacterial/safe for food use, not as a call to use Hemlock salad bowls.
I'll only use plastic proofing pans now, but, for then, the dough generally didn't spend all that much time in the dough pots and thus didn't leech much aluminum. Not that leeched aluminum has ever been associated with any health risks. I'm incredibly sensitive to dissolved aluminum, but I never detected it in any dough pot using pizzeria. At the same time, though, I can taste whether or not an old, rancid wooden spoon has been used to make pasta sauce, and if one of these old time pizzerias were using rancid wooden proofing pans, I would have screamed bloody murder.
My avatar, Pizza Town, started in 1958, and from all the reports I've gotten, is still making the same legendary pizza today that it made half a century ago. And they're doing it with... plastic proofing boxes. No old dough, no wooden proofing boxes, no rancid oil, just an old, blistering hot, 4 minute pizza producing oven and pizzamaking virtuosos at the bench. They're pretty much one of the only pizzerias in this area that have maintained quality, but it had nothing to do with wood, nor did wood play a role in the other places in this area that were great but are now crap.
Perhaps wood was a Long Island thing. Are you anywhere near the ocean? Salt would probably be bad for aluminum. For the rest of NY/NJ, though, I really don't think wood was that pervasive during the glory days. Unless you want to argue that the glory days pre-date the 70s, which puts it pre-bromate, so, for me, that's going to be a tough sell.