O.K., just for the hell of it, I made 2 pies this evening. Both 60 percent hydration, GM Full Strength bromated flour, 2 percent salt, enough yeast to double the dough in 6 hours. Then a 30 minute autolyse, 30 seconds in the food processor and a 3 minute hand knead. The dough, my first with this flour, opened beautifully, one of the best handling doughs I've experienced. A bit of leftover sauce made from Stanislaus Full Red tomatoes, a generous sprinkling of parm, and chunks of Poly O whole milk mozz finished the pie.
The first pie I formed in the NY style. Flat, thin, air pressed out, and thin, tiny, dense cornicione. The second I handled more gently, leaving a generous, puffy rim. Both were baked about 6 minutes, on a stone at around 600 degrees.
Both were tasty, but the consensus of my guests was that the puffy rimmed pizza was better. I agreed. The puffy cornicione was not moist or bready; there was just more of it to crunch and chew on, more delightful contrast between the cornicione and the rest of the pie.
Now I'm just a hack, and I am sure that my pizza, tasted along side an almost rimless New Haven pie from Sally's, would pale in comparison. But my pizza did the trick tonight, and the big puff won out.
I think the so-called artisanal pizza, when done well, is a welcome addition to the pizza universe. But we must have distinctions, and standards, and we don't get those them by calling a thing that which it is not. I explained to my guests what I was doing, and the styles I was attempting to mimic. Now they have a bit of knowledge. They will be better able to judge the pizza that they eat outside my kitchen. The collective consciousness just got a tad smarter about pizza. It's sometimes the best we can do, but it's something.