Author Topic: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?  (Read 68580 times)

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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


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2006, 08:44:38 PM »
Bud,

I usually make enough dough for one pizza at a time. For example, for a 16-inch Lehmann dough, the total weight is just a bit over 20 ounces. For the dough formulation I posted earlier in this thread for a 12-inch pizza, the dough weighs just under 12 ounces. With those amounts of dough, I have never had a problem at any speed. And my machine is geriatric.

Peter

Offline sebdesn

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #51 on: January 16, 2006, 10:12:09 PM »
Peter, yea, for  small amounts, whatever feels right is undoubtedly ok.
 About the smallest thing I do is a Kilo total.....When I have had a load in the mixer and stopped at 1 the thing was in obvious distress.....I was just passing on what the directions said...(who me follow directions??? LOL!)
Bud

Offline RockyMarciano

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #52 on: January 18, 2006, 10:22:32 PM »
pizzzzagirl,

Today I made a dough using a different NY style dough recipe. The dough weight was greater than the weight of dough you will make using the recipe posted above, however several of the procedures are quite similar to what I use when making the Lehmann NY style dough. I thought you might find the photos below useful as a guide to your efforts when you next attempt the Lehmann NY style dough.

The first photo shows what the dough will typically look like when flour is gradually added to the mixer bowl to be mixed with the water. As you can see, the dough has the consistency of a thick batter. As more flour is added, the dough starts to thicken and take on a denser, shaggy appearance. The photo below also shows the thin, long-handled plastic spatula I use to divert flour from the sides of the bowl into the path of the dough hook.

Peter
Care to share the recipe? (in proportions for 1 16" pie) and was it any good?

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #53 on: January 19, 2006, 09:22:58 AM »
Rocky,

The recipe I used was Canadave’s basic recipe for his NY style dough. It appears at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2175.0.html. The formulation I used (a conversion of Canadave's recipe to baker's percents) was set forth at Reply #8 at the above thread.  My results using that formulation were reported at Replies #33 and #34, at page 2 of the same thread, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2175.20.html .The photos shown earlier in this thread were of the same pizza, at earlier stages of the production of the dough and pizza.

As you will see from my report on the pizza, it was great.

Peter

Offline Dartanian

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #54 on: February 21, 2006, 09:19:13 PM »
Hi Peter, All --

First of all, let me extend a deep thank you to you and everyone else who gave me fantastic tutelage as I was getting up and running, and addicted. Since my last post, I've made a number of tasty Lehmann NY style pizzas (and yesterday my first Neapolitan with Caputo 00 pizza flour), and while I have some work to do to get to where I want to be as a pizza maker, I have been thrilled and encouraged with the outcome.  The information on this site is outdone only by the spirit with which it is offered by its members to all people out there who come here looking to learn how to make great pizza.  So, thanks again.

I have a question regarding the right amount of sugar for a multi-day rise in the fridge.  I am going to make dough for a Lehmann NY style 16 inch, 63% hydration pizza on Thursday evening, around 9:00,  for use on Sunday evening, around 6:00  How much sugar should I put in the dough to make sure the yeast doesn't run out of food before I am ready to use it?

Steve

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #55 on: February 21, 2006, 09:34:57 PM »
Steve,

I'm happy to hear that you are making good process with your pizza making.

As far as sugar is concerned, I think you would be on the cusp and may not need any added sugar if your dough is kept on the cool side. However, as insurance, you could use 1% by weight of flour. For a single 16-inch Lehmann pizza, that would be about 3/4 t.

Peter

Offline Dartanian

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #56 on: February 21, 2006, 10:13:42 PM »
Thanks, Peter.

Steve

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #57 on: February 24, 2006, 07:04:11 PM »
As I was responding to another post today, I came upon an earlier post I had written on the matter of the need on occasion to interject oneself into the machine dough kneading process. Since that subject is one that comes up quite often, and although it was covered in part earlier in this thread, I thought it might be useful to beginning pizza makers to read nonetheless, especially those with standard home stand mixers (not DLXs or Santos units). The post is at Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1159.0.html. It might also be helpful to read the other posts in the thread (it is a short thread) to put the matter into better perspective.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 24, 2006, 07:11:00 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline cooper

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #58 on: November 21, 2006, 01:09:07 AM »
I'm new to making pizzas properly.  Before finding this forum and Jeff Varasano's site a couple weeks ago most of the pizzas I attempted were done on a rare spur of the moment "I'm hungry for pizza now" whim, made by throwing some flour in a bowl, adding some yeast, salt, sugar and oil, all unmeasured, then enough water to make a dough.  Knead a little and turn on the oven.  Bake as soon as the oven came up to temp.  I didn't let it rise/ferment long enough.   I didn't have a clue what I was doing.  As you can imagine, the results weren't very good.

I recently used Pete's ingredient list in reply #8 of this thread (Pizzzzagirl's recipe) with KA bread flour.  I weighed out the flour and water and used measuring spoons along with a little estimation for the rest.  I don't have a mixer, so I did this by hand. 

Since my flour was cold from being stored in the freezer, I heated my water in the microwave until fairly warm.  I stirred about half the flour into the water, covered the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest 15 minutes. 

Then I added the yeast and salt and stirred for a few minutes.  I kept mixing, gradually adding in most of the remaining flour over about 5 more minutes.  When the dough thickened enough to become too difficult to stir with a fork, I worked in the remaining flour in with my hands and put the ball on the counter.  It seemed a bit wet, especially at first, but I used very little bench flour while kneading.  First I worked in the oil.  I didn't record my total knead time.  Maybe 4-5 minutes, then 5 minutes or so rest, then another 2-3 kneading.  Something like that.  I'm guessing.  It wasn't long.  My finished dough temperature was 82 degrees. 

I put the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl, wiped a little extra oil on the exposed part of the dough, and sealed with plastic wrap.  I put it in the fridge for 48 hours.

On baking day I set the dough bowl out on the counter, along with the sauce I had made, about 2 hours before cooking time to warm up.  An hour before showtime I put the pizza stone on the bottom rack and cranked my older gas oven up a little past 550 on the dial (just short of broil).  I prepared the toppings: pepperoni, mushrooms, bell pepper and onion.  I pre-cooked the sliced mushrooms in the microwave for about 90 seconds, then strained and put them on a paper towel to further draw out moisture.  I grated about 7 ounces of whole milk low moisture cheese (Precious brand -- not horrible, but I'll have to try others).

Using very little flour, I lightly pressed out the dough with my fingers, then stretched it over the back of my knuckles.  I'm not good at this, but I got it mostly round and about 12" in diameter.

With everything lined up and ready for action, I lightly floured the bottom of the dough and lightly floured the peel.  Out of fear from a peel-sticking tragedy years ago I worked extremely quickly after placing the skin on the peel.  I slapped on the sauce, threw on the cheese and toppings and hurriedly got the thing on the stone.  I'll bet it took less than a minute.  I don't know if such speed is required, but I was nervous.

I let the pizza bake about 5 1/2 minutes on the stone, then moved it up to the top rack atop my newly acquired 14" pizza screen for about another 90 seconds.

I removed pizza and screen, setting the screen on top of an oven burner to serve as a cooling rack.  After 3-4 minutes, I put the pizza on a perforated pizza pan lined with paper towels and sliced.  I served the slices on uncoated, cheap paper plates.

This was by far the best pizza I've made.  The crust was tasty -- better than chain store pizza.  I prefer the top slightly more done than this came out, but it wasn't bad for an early try.   More time on the top rack should fix it.  Or, use some tiles placed on the rack above the stone.  Now that I'm on the right track I'll experiment.

I welcome any suggestions for improvement.  I went a bit heavy on the toppings.  I'll eventually develop a better feel for how much of what is needed.  The crust was excellent when fresh out of the oven, but when reheated the next day seemed too chewy/tough.  Is that just the nature of the beast, or can adjustments be made to minimize this?

The crust wasn't quite as springy as I'd like (assuming "spring" means it pops back when you press on it instead of staying squished).  What factors affect this?

Would the bottom turn out similarly if I were to cook the pizza on a screen set directly on the stone?




« Last Edit: November 21, 2006, 05:11:27 AM by cooper »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's dough tips for the amatuer pizza maker at home ?
« Reply #59 on: November 21, 2006, 10:29:55 AM »
cooper,

Overall, I would say that you did a very nice job. Congratulations. With experience, your results should only get better.

The Lehmann dough formulation calls for a very small amount of yeast, and the dough spends most of its time in the refrigerator. Hence, you won't usually see much rise and "spring" in the dough. If your room temperature is on the low side, as will happen in most parts of the country as fall/winter are upon us, you may not even see much rise in the Lehmann dough on the bench just prior to shaping, dressing, etc. I suggest that you try increasing the amount of yeast a bit and see if you like the final results better. Try, if you can, however, to keep the finished dough temperature in the desired range. You might also let the flour warm up to room temperature once it comes out of your freezer. I think you will find that it doesn't take long for this to happen.

I noticed from your write-up that you used the screen to hold the pizza once you removed it from the stone to a higher oven position. There is nothing per se wrong with that, but you don't really need the screen at that point since the pizza is firm enough to stand on its own when you move it up higher in the oven. My practice is to use the stone for as long as possible and to move the pizza to a higher oven position if I see that the bottom of the pizza is browning too quickly and, at the same time, the top looks like it needs further baking. Remember, also, that you have the broiler element available to you to assist baking the top of the pizza faster. It usually takes a few pizzas to figure out how to balance using the stone, oven rack positions, oven temperature, and the broiler. Against this set of factors, you will also have to balance the amounts and types of cheeses and toppings you use.

You can bake the pizza on the screen directly on the stone. This will slow down the bake of the bottom of the pizza because the screen acts as a barrier between the unbaked pizza and the stone, and has to heat up before the pizza starts to bake in a more meaningful way. Using the screen/stone combo would also be a good idea if you use a lot of sugar in your dough (say, above 2-3% by weight of flour). This is a technique commonly used by some pizza operators to prevent the bottom crust from prematurely browning or burning because of the increased sugar content.

It is common for some of the higher protein flours to yield a crust that is a bit chewy once the crust cools. You could add a bit of all-purpose flour, or even cake or pastry flour, to the KA bread flour to soften the KA bread flour a bit, or you could use more oil, along with a bit of sugar, in the dough. The overall result should be a less chewy, more tender crust and crumb. Along these lines, you might also try other NY style dough recipes beyond the Lehmann version. A good example would be Canadave's NY style dough recipe, which can be found in the NY pizzas style section of the forum at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2175.msg19124.html#msg19124.

Peter