Very old joke. A worker left the plant every night with a wheelbarrow with a little straw in it. The plant guard would check under the straw every night to see if anything was being stolen. Nothing was ever found. After thirty years, the worker waved to the guard as he was leaving for his last day. No wheelbarrow, no straw. The guard said, “I knew you were stealing every day but I never found anything. You’re retired now. What were you stealing?” The worker said, “wheelbarrows.”
For thirty years I have read every pizza book in libraries and book stores to get the pizza recipes down, especially the crust. I watched pizzerias mix ingredients, bribed the help, talked to owners. Some said add oil, milk, whey. Some said you need 700 degrees. I bought a pizza oven.
I have made hundreds of pizzas, many of them poor to mediocre.
I wanted Shakey’s, Round Table, Straw Hat. No luck. I traveled to New York and stole/cajoled/begged for recipes. No luck for what I wanted.
Slowly but surely the little secrets came out.
4. Weigh the ingredients.
3. Get the stone hot for hours
2. Reduce the water, you’re NOT making bread, and cut down the yeast for the same reason.
I was close but not there. Until a couple of years ago.
At least three times a week I make a wonderful, crispy, crackery pizza.
The big secret: layer the dough using a hand crank pasta roller. It took some time but I learned the technique. Then I checked the back rooms to see how great pizza (my style) is made. Sheeters. Rollers. Then I took a turn at pastry. The dough is folded, It all came together. It took about thirty years- I’m a slow learner.
I spent so long on the straw – the ingredients that I overlooked the wheelbarrow- handling of the dough. Refrigerating and folding became important.
By all means develop your own recipe. I like the DKM one.
Graduate school is how you handle that dough to achieve the style you’re looking for.
Atlas pasta roller- about $30. Learning to use it- priceless.