Author Topic: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?  (Read 78585 times)

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Offline chiguy

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2006, 07:48:49 PM »
 Hi Dartanian,
 As long as you did not make the mistake with the oil that i mentioned the dough may still make a good crust. I have a sunbeam that measures in grams, i cannot remember what the cost was. It would be a nice feature if you're scale measured in grams, especially since you are making such small recipes. If you can return the scale i would and get a scale with gram measurements. Let us know how the pizza turns out.  Chiguy


Offline Dartanian

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2006, 08:07:32 PM »
Hi chiguy --

Will your scale register a measurement of less than 1 gram?  My scale measures in grams, but I just tried to see if would give me a measurement for 1/4 a t. of IDY and I got nothing.  It's too little.

Offline chiguy

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2006, 08:11:30 PM »
 Hi dartanian,
It measures in 2g increments. It should say it's measurement increment's on the box or in the instructions?This is the hard part about measuring smaller formulas/recipes. I usually tend to calculate the bakers % and make a little extra dough, sometime i use it sometimes i toss it.I stck to even numbers like 500g flour to make things easier.    Chiguy
« Last Edit: January 07, 2006, 08:15:19 PM by chiguy »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2006, 08:47:29 PM »
chiguy: Thanks for finding the error. I went back and fixed it. If my math is right, 203 grams of oil would translate to 7.16 ounces, or 43.5 teaspoons. The recipe I posted calls for 1/2 teaspoon of oil.

Dartanian: I wouldn't worry too much about scale accuracy and your inability to get the precise weights of all the ingredients. The main ingredients to weigh are the flour and water. The other ingredients, like yeast, salt, oil, etc., are too lightweight to be weighed on scales intended for consumers, and especially in quantities for a single dough ball. There are scales that can handle the very small weights, and I am aware of a few members who have them (which is the reason I post them in recipes), but using the volume measurements for those items is plenty good enough. That's the main reason why I convert weights to volumes for the lightweight ingredients.

Since I don't know what kinds of scales people have available to them or their accuracy, my practice is to post what my calculator or my spreadsheets come up with. If you were a professional pizza operator making hundred or thousands of dough balls, the accuracy rate would increase dramatically as you scaled up the numbers. But, for a single dough ball, most of the accuracy is of no consequence. Like in horseshoes, close is good enough.

I might add that many of our members, especially those located overseas and use the metric system, prefer using grams rather than ounces because it is more accurate. I, too, prefer grams over ounces for that reason, but most of our members are not used to working with the metric system. So, I tend to favor our system of measurement in my postings. Fortunately, most modern digital scales allow weighing in both ounces and grams, some with accuracy down to 1 gram, so those who have such scales have the option of selecting grams or ounces as desired. I often switch between the two, depending on which system is used in recipes.

Peter

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2006, 09:17:06 PM »
Dartanian,

As I was looking for something on another thread, I stumbled across something I had written relative to making a Lehmann style dough. I thought it might help you so I have cut and pasted it below:

My practice in making doughs is to hold back on some of the water I have weighed out to use to make the doughs. If, after all the ingredients have been mixed and kneaded in the bowl, I see that the dough looks and feels dry or stiff, I trickle in a bit more water and knead that in. I keep doing this until the dough is smooth and feels a bit tacky and it has absorbed most (or all) of the water. The hydration of the flour is not instantaneous, and a dough that looks like it has absorbed a lot of the water can often take more, especially if you do a bit of hand kneading to speed up the absorption of the water by the flour. But I don't try to force the dough to take more water just because I weighed it out in accordance with the recipe. Flours vary from one lot to another and from one bag to another, and will change with time and storage conditions. When the dough is properly made, it should definitely clear the sides of the bowl and it should come off the hook in pretty much one piece. Stand mixers are not especially efficient machines so I will usually do a bit of hand kneading before putting the dough into its container.

Peter

Offline Dartanian

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #30 on: January 07, 2006, 10:18:50 PM »
Pete and chiguy --

Thanks once again!  This is great counsel and I look forward to incorporating your advice into my next batch of dough, which will be tomorrow.

Offline Dartanian

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2006, 09:04:32 PM »
Pete and chiguy --

I made the pizza tonight.  And as chiguy suggested, it turned out to be, all in all (the dough had the correct amount of oil), a pretty good crust .  Shaping it was a little difficult.  I let it sit on the counter for 2 hours after taking it out of the fridge. Whatever I did to it initially -- not enough flour I guess -- made it very sticky to handle when it came time to shape it.  Which leads me to ask this question: when  you take it out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter at room temperature, do you typically take it out of the container (or in my case plastic bag) that it was in in the fridge or leave it in the same container?  I cut off the top of the bag and left it sitting on the bottom part, dusted it with flour, then draped some plastic wrap over it.  If you do completely take it out of the original container, do  you dust the countertop or whatever it's sitting on with flour so it doesn't stick to the counter when its time to shape?

Also, fyi, I noticed after I was done making the dough yesterday that I had not removed a rubber clip from the platform of the scale I'd just bought earlier in the day. So my measurements were probably all messed up, which probably led to the problem. To practice, I made another batch for a 12 incher this afternoon and it went well.   

Thanks again for the counsel!! 

Dartanian

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2006, 09:35:15 PM »
Dartanian,

I'm glad that things turned out reasonably after all. I didn't calculate the actual hydration of your dough, but there are NY style doughs that have hydration percents above 70%. It takes a lot of practice and real skill to handle doughs with such a high hydration, which is why I don't recommend it for beginners. Even 63%, the hydration ratio I posted in the formulation you used, is a bit on the high side. However, my experience is that most people seem to be able to handle that degree of hydration reasonably well.

The way I handle the dough once it comes out of the refrigerator is to remove the dough from the container, whether it is a bowl, metal tin, plastic storage bag, empty bread bag, or whatever, and put it on my countertop to come up to room temperature. I first dust the countertop with bench flour before putting the dough down and I dust the top of the dough also with bench flour. If the dough is a bit misshapen from my attempts to extract it from its container (sometimes the dough will stick to its container and resist removal), I simply gently reshape the dough into a round shape and gently flatten it into a disk. I don't re-knead the dough since doing this will only mess up the gluten structure and make the dough very elastic. Given enough time, the dough will recover from the re-kneading but there is no point in tempting fate. Once the dough is ready to warm up, I put a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough to keep the dough from developing a crust on its outer surface. Since the dough has been dusted with flour, the plastic wrap won't stick to the dough. If you choose not to dust the top of the dough ball with flour, you can spray the underside of the plastic wrap with a light oil spray. That will keep the plastic wrap from sticking to the dough. My personal preference is to dust the top of the dough with bench flour.

The approach you used should work OK but using the approach I mention saves you the storage bag so that you can reuse it another time. Otherwise you will go through bags like crazy if you make a lot of pizzas.

Peter

Offline chiguy

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2006, 09:45:34 PM »
 Hi Dartarian,
 I am glad the pizza turned out ok, i can't stand wasting a dough that can probably be salvaged. I am sure the next pizza will be even better now that you addressed the scale problem.The reason for the shaping problem may have to do with the extra flour you added that brought the hydration down to 52%, a higher hydration is usually easier to stretch. This is if you are referring to a lack of stretch/elasticity?? As far as resting dough outside of the fridge, i use bowls that have been oiled then covered until ready to bake. The dough comes right out of the container with a spray of canola oil before placing the dough in the bowl. always keep a rested dough ball oiled,dusted(flour), or covered to prevent a skin from forming. I Hope the next one turns out alot better. I can tell you are hooked on this whole pizza making thing, pizza 2 nights in a row is usually a good sign.  Goodluck, Chiguy
« Last Edit: January 08, 2006, 09:53:33 PM by chiguy »


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2006, 09:56:55 PM »
chiguy,

Your comment reminded me of another reason I take the dough out of its container. Usually the container as it comes out of the refrigerator is cold also, and the laws of thermodynamics being what they are, the dough should warm up faster outside of the cold bowl than inside of it. Of course, if you want to prolong the counter warm-up time to accommodate scheduling considerations, leaving the dough within the cold bowl will do that very nicely.

Peter

Offline chiguy

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #35 on: January 08, 2006, 10:13:54 PM »
 Hi Peter,
 I am sure you are correct, it will probably warm it up faster. I am usually pretty patient so
I do prep work and turn on oven during the 2 hour waiting for the dough to warm up. I do have a trick for warming the dough up in about a third of the time. I fill the sink(4 inches) with hot water but not too hot. I then place the covered dish/ bowl in the warm water and if it is not too heavy it will float in the water. The dough is ready to be shaped in about 30 minutes. Be careful not to add too much water,you do not want the water to over flow back into the bowl.        Chiguy

Offline Dartanian

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2006, 10:28:57 PM »
Pete/chiguy --

Thanks again.  I am hooked on learning how to make a good pizza.  Your contributions toward that goal are much appreciated.  chiguy, the difficulty I had with the dough was, in addition to it being really sticky, that it was super stretchy -- not a problem of elasticity.  Combined with the stickiness, I think it might not have had enough flour and/or I let it get to warm before shaping it.

Dartanian

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2006, 10:53:11 PM »
Another useful tip for warming up a dough, especially in a cold kitchen, is to use an inexpensive, easy-to-assemble "proofing" box, such as described, for example, at Reply #6 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,403.0.html. The proofing box can also be used to rise doughs to be used the same day. I have already used my proofing box several times this season since the cold weather arrived. It is one of my favorite tools.

Another simple technique to assist a dough in warming up is to place a large (e.g., 4-cup) Pyrex glass measuring cup filled with water in a microwave unit, heat the water to boiling, and then place the dough that is to be warmed up, in its container (covered), within the microwave unit. The container of water is left in the microwave unit. Until the water cools down, it will provide a warm environment for the dough. Using either this approach or a proofing box is far preferable to having to heat the entire kitchen to achieve the same results.

Peter


Offline chiguy

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #38 on: January 08, 2006, 11:17:18 PM »
 Hi Peter,
 The oven is not part of the proofing, it is just procedure to let the oven warm up(1hr) while i am cutting veggies and waiting for the dough to warm up. I only use the warm water in the sink to speed up the warming process. I am sorry if my post sounded a little confusing. I have seen the homemade proof boxes here before, very ingenious.  Chiguy

 Dartanian,
 That's right, i reread the post. You had a problem with too much hydration. This is always a problem for shaping. i am sure with the scale problem fixed you should not have a problem with this again.  chiguy                                                                                              
« Last Edit: January 08, 2006, 11:21:55 PM by chiguy »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2006, 11:33:31 PM »
chiguy,

Your post was not confusing. I understood it as you intended.

Peter

Offline Dartanian

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #40 on: January 09, 2006, 09:53:53 PM »
Hi Pete and chiguy --

I made the second pizza today.  It was pretty good,  but had a bit of a floury aftertaste.   Perhaps I put too much flour on the peel before putting it on the stone -- just a little paranoid that it will stick to the peel I guess.  Somebody needs to invent a peel that flour doesn't stick to. 

I am looking forward to trying the Lehmann pizza with KASL, which I have ordered and should get later this week. 

Dartanian

Offline chiguy

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2006, 11:14:14 PM »
 Hi Dartanian,
 I would suggest to use corn meal as you're relasing agent on the peel instead of flour. It releases the pizza easier in my opinion. It adds a nice crunch to the bottom of the pizza and it will tolerate heat well. When done baking just leave oven door open and the cornmeal should not burn on the stone. Dust off after the stone has cooled. When applying the corn meal, just a good sprinkle over the peels surface. Once dusted and the shaped skin is on the peel, give it a shake to make sure it is not stuck to the peel. I also give it one more shake, after the toppings are added to make sure the heavy toppings did not cause the pizza to stick. I strongly suggest to give corn meal a try. I am glad to see you are progressing, quickly i might add.    Chiguy


Offline Dartanian

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #42 on: January 10, 2006, 06:57:06 AM »
Thanks, chiguy.  Corn meal it is next time.   Do  you ever use semolina to dust the peel?

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2006, 12:56:14 PM »
Dartanian,

There are many possible choices to use as a release agent on a peel. Here is a list of possible release agents that I have read about: white flour, semolina, corn flour, cornmeal, corn grits, cream meal (which has a granulation between corn flour and cornmeal), polenta, cornstarch, wheat bran, rye flour, rice flour, and fine bread crumbs. Also, Papa John's uses a product called Dustinator, which is made from semolina, flour and soy oil. It is used when shaping pizza skins.

As you will see if you go to this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=3db949f02ac311e04df2bb990844e61a&topic=1578.msg14446, the use of cornmeal is often the subject of much debate. I used corrmeal for years but found it required frequent cleaning of the oven and stone to prevent the accumulation of residue. Now I just use plain white flour as a release agent. It is the simplest and the cheapest release agent I know of, and it does not introduce another flavor element to the pizza (although I know that many prefer the flavor contribution). If the dough is clearly not inclined to stick to the peel, I use the smallest amount of flour possible. If you use too much, you can get a bitter taste in the crust. Also, too much white flour on the bottom of the dough can cause the crust to bake differently because the flour can reflect rather than absorb heat from the lower heating element.

This is another one of those areas where you will learn from experience. And if you ever find yourself in a situation where your pizza is stuck to the peel, you can run a length of string or dental floss under the pizza to help free it up. My recollection is that one of the elite NY pizza places does this as a matter of course for all its pizzas, especially if they have been setting on the make board for too long.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 08:44:27 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline sebdesn

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #44 on: January 10, 2006, 03:56:05 PM »
The most important thing is what Chiguy said about the little quick shake to get it "floating",
Bud

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #45 on: January 16, 2006, 11:38:07 AM »
I reread all the posts in this thread today to see if something of potential value to newbies might have been left out. About the only thing that I felt might be added is the way I usually bake most of my pizzas, including the Lehmann pizzas, in my home oven.

Home ovens are no match for commercial pizza ovens. Commercial deck ovens, which most closely correlate to the typical home oven, are specifically designed to bake pizzas. Hence, they are usually quite shallow. This is to allow more top heat to achieve the proper balance between the baking of the top and bottom of a pizza.  By contrast, home ovens are intentionally designed to be deep (tall), so that all kinds of foods can be baked in them, including a giant turkey on Thanksgiving Day and traditional side dishes that can take up a good part of the oven space. So, in using a home oven to bake pizzas, one has to be creative and inventive. In effect, what you are trying to do is foreshorten the home oven to more closely simulate a commercial deck oven.

In my case, I typically use various combinations of pizza screen, pizza stone, oven rack position, and possibly the broiler element. If I wanted to make a pizza up to 14 inches in diameter, I would only need the stone. That is because 14 inches is the largest pizza size my particular pizza stone can handle (the stone is 14'' x 16"). The largest pizza that my oven can handle is 18 inches. So, if I want to make a pizza bigger than 14 inches, say, between 14 inches and 18 inches, that is where the pizza screen comes in. In fact, it's absolutely necessary in my oven.

When I use the screen/stone combination, my practice is to place the screen--with the dressed pizza on it, of course--on the top oven rack of my oven, which has been preheated for about an hour at around 500-550 degrees F. Once the crust starts to turn brown and the cheeses start to bubble (fortunately, my oven door has a window for me to see this), I shift the pizza off of the screen and onto the pizza stone (which, as noted below, is typically on the lowest oven rack position). At this stage, the pizza crust has set and is firm enough to permit shifting the pizza off of the screen and onto the stone (I then remove the screen from the oven). It doesn't matter at this point that the pizza overlaps the sides of the stone because it is rigid.

When using the stone alone, to work best, the stone, which I place on the lowest oven rack position, has to be very hot. It is for this reason that I preheat the oven at its highest oven temperature for one hour. As the pizza is baking on the stone, I watch it to see if the top is baking too slowly or too quickly, based on the colors of the crust and cheese. In my oven, it is usually the top of the pizza that needs more baking. So, somewhere along the way, usually after the bottom of the crust has turned brown, I move the pizza to the top oven rack position for further top crust browning. Sometimes, I will turn the broiler on after the pizza has been placed on the stone and then shift the pizza to the top oven rack position under the broiler for a final minute or so of baking. This method works best with doughs made with low protein flours (like unmalted 00 flours) that do not brown as much as doughs made using higher protein flours. With experience, it becomes second nature to know when to move the pizza around the oven and when to use the broiler.

There are many possible variations to the above approach. Some members turn on the broiler element at the same time as a pizza is deposited on the stone (there would be no use of a screen in this case). Some will also place the stone at the middle oven rack position of the oven. Others might place the stone at a higher oven position. A good example of this approach is shown in the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6585.msg56478.html#msg56478. For a similar recommendation (plus a few other, more preferred, options), see Reply 3 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=9835.msg86426;topicseen#msg86426. It is also possible to put the screen with the dressed pizza on it directly on the stone and remove the screen once the dough sets and is firm. Others will construct an "oven within an oven", using two stones on separate oven racks or tiles on different racks and at the sides, all in an effort to more closely simulate a commercial deck oven. In my oven, I prefer not to use two stones because I have a hard time seeing the pizza through the window in my oven door because the top stone shields the pizza from a clear view. Also, with two stones, it usually takes longer for the two stones to preheat to the desired temperature as compared with one stone. In all of the above cases, one has to learn how to control bake times and temperatures since they are likely to vary quite a bit from one arrangement to another. It is also important to keep in mind that not all broilers work the same. Some can be kept on at all times, whereas others, like mine, kick off at a certain temperature.

For those with gas ovens, it is also possible to place a stone, such as a soapstone stone, on the oven floor, place pans or sheets of aluminum foil on a middle rack position to seal off the top part of the oven, and preheat the stone for about an hour.

It is also possible to use just a screen by itself, as many of our members do. However, unless steps are taken to modify the dough formulation in some fashion, as by adding sugar or honey or other color-enhancing ingredients, the bottom crust may be lighter in color and it may be less crispy (because there is no searing effect as with a hot stone). A principal advantage of using only the screen, of course, is that it isn't necessary to preheat the oven for a prolonged period, as would be required if a stone were to be used. It is only necessary to heat the ambient air in the oven to the required temperature, which usually only takes around 10 to 15 minutes in most home ovens. This can be a real plus in the summertime since it dramatically reduces the time to bake the pizza. In using only the screen, it is also possible to move the pizza around in the oven to get more or less top or bottom crust coloration and a more complete bake. For example, one can start low in the oven or high in the oven and move the pizza as needed to achieve the desired final results. If needed, the broiler can also be used. When I use just a screen, I tend to put the pizza at the lowermost oven rack position until I achieve the desired finished crust coloration and then move the pizza to the topmost oven rack position if more top crust coloration is needed or a more complete bake (slight browning or melting of the cheese and cooking the toppings more completely). This is essentially the approach that I used to make Papa John's clone pizzas as described at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6758.0.html. The dough for those pizzas included a lot of oil and sugar and are American style rather than NY style but using just a screen worked well for that style even though one will not get an overly crispy bottom crust because of all of the sugar and oil.

Peter

Note: Edited from time to time to add new methods or variations.

Offline Dartanian

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #46 on: January 16, 2006, 04:11:02 PM »
Peter --

I found this post to be like all your others -- extremely helpful.  Thanks for it.  I made my first Lehmann dough with KASL yesterday.  I used your the recipe with the 65% hydration and 1 1/2 t of ADY.  I made two 12 inch pies.  They were good -- chewy, leathery (I would have liked it a bit more leathery), with a pretty good rim (I think the 12 inch size, as you commented on when you compared it to the 16 inch version, may explain why it wasn't airier).   As you also described with your expereince with this recipe, I found the dough to be very extensible.  I don't think I under kneaded it.  I monitored the dough closely and it was smooth and elastic when I took it out with a final dough temperature of 82.8 (I was shooting for 82). 

One questions I have, which may be stupid but I will ask anyway, is whether most members, when they discuss kneading on "low" speed on their mixers, mean the "stir" speed or the speed right after that.  On my kitchen aid, I have six speeds: stir, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.  I have been mixing on stir, as that is the lowest, but, as I say, am curious to what other, more experienced home pizza makeres typically do. 

As for the pizza, I do  have a picture of it which I intend to post when I figure out how to do that.

Dartanian

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2006, 05:02:34 PM »
Dartanian,

I have the same settings on my KitchenAid stand mixer. You may not have noticed but there are actually speeds between the numbers. If you move the speed lever slowly, you can hear the changes. They don't immediately jump out at you but they are there. That said, I use stir for "stir" purposes and I use the "1" (unnumbered) or "2" (numbered) speeds as my "low". I typically use the "3" (unnumbered) speed as my medium. Occasionally I will use the "4" speed to try to jog a dough that is overly enamored of the dough hook or to make up for an insufficient knead at a lower speed. I have found that you almost have to use the speed lever like a joystick of a video game. Just as home ovens are no match for commercial ovens, most home stand mixers are no match for commercial mixers. If you can lick the oven problem and the mixer problem, you are almost as good as the professionals since we can now get most of the same and best ingredients that the professionals use to make their pizzas.

Peter

Offline sebdesn

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #48 on: January 16, 2006, 06:30:25 PM »
maybe KA vern will pipe in ,,,
But the big unmistakable sticker on my spiral hook on my KA commericial said "use number 2 only, for dough...I have used higher numbers for short bursts (10 sec or so) to get stuff moving along. And as I recall the instruction book specifically said not to use the mix (1) speed to knead dough with...There is also a discussion forum on the KA web site where someone from KA will come on and answer your questions,,,
Bud 

Offline Dartanian

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #49 on: January 16, 2006, 08:21:47 PM »
Thanks Pete and Bud --

As you can see, mechanical inclination is not my strong suit...Thanks goodness for the forum!

Dartanian