The last thing is why don't you tell me more about yourself and send me your picture. Next time we see each other you may want to be more professional.
Yeesh, Tony, you're so sensitive!
People 'like me' are driving you away? Are you really such a delicate flower that a snarky online comment is going to send you running for the hills? How many awards have you won? A million? A trillion? A gazillion?
An "11 Time World Pizza Champion" should be able to squash little ol me like a bug. Within your paradigm, I should be meaningless. A spec. A mere mortal. I shouldn't even be a blip on your radar.
Serious, though, if you want to know why I have issues with you, I'll be more than happy to tell you why.
Pizza has not been, nor ever will be, a ShamWow infomercial. It's not a Tony Robbins seminar. It is humble, working class, mom & pop family food. Pizza guys are not circus ringmasters. They're not Nascar drivers. They're simple, hard working, salt of the earth people. Substance over style. They make a good a living, but it's more than just making a good living, it's a craft. They're unassuming and unpretentious laborers that would generally laugh at the idea of putting badges or logos on themselves. The commercialization and corporate cronyism that you and the expo represent has been and is killing pizza. For the most part, it's flash, it's greed, and it's commodifying and gentrifying a centuries old art.
Scott its not your fault you don't understand why salt % can change depending on climate, water, staging, elevation, length of maturation, humidity, etc.
Even for the layperson, discerning the difference between a typical 1.5%-2% level and a 2.5% level of salt is not difficult. Over the course of 35 years, I've eaten at over 800 NY area pizzerias, and, while I haven't been in every kitchen when they've mixed the dough, I could taste the crust, and none of them ever exceeded 2%. If you're trying to tell me that NY style can't be recreated properly outside the NY area without a bump in salt (climate, water, etc.), then I'm telling you that you're incorrect. Countless pizzamaking members in all parts of the world have made/are making beautiful NY style pizzas with authentic NY salt levels.
It's not your fault you don't understand why hydration fluctuates do to flour absorption, personal preference, type of water, starter, protein, even touch and feel
You can certainly, by pushing the gluten development, make a 68% hydration dough that isn't all that slack, but gluten development will only get you so far. At the salt levels historically found in the NY area, 68% hydration, even with plenty of kneading, will give you something that's far slacker than you'd ever find in a NY pizzeria. NY pizzerias don't always toss their dough, but they almost always stick to doughs with consistencies that can be tossed, and, 68% hydration, with a typical quantity of salt, can't be tossed- at least, not by someone who lacks your skills, which, on the acrobatic side, is just about everyone (I'll give you that).
Now, you did touch on elevation earlier, and elevation does require a bump in hydration, but that's common knowledge. That's on the back of every cake mix ever made. If you want to make a distinction for elevation by providing an elevation specific recipe, that's fine, but this dartboard range of hydrations topping out at 68 does no one a service. Nationally, All Trumps doesn't vary all that much. Also, using the same amount of yeast for wildly varying hydrations doesn't serve your students either.
Evoo, like salt, has an incredibly distinctive flavor. And, like salt, out of the 800+ places I've been, I've never tasted evoo in a crust. If you want to drizzle evoo on the pie, either pre or post bake, some places have been known to do that, but evoo in the dough is unheard of.
Could there be NY area pizzerias, past or present, that use 2.5% salt, 68% and evoo? Of course. When you're dealing with thousands of pizzerias, you're going to find plenty of outliers straying from the norm. But to make the implication that any of these traits are typical for the style misses the mark entirely. NY pizza can vary, but these variations are well known to any NYer that knows their pizza. It isn't as rigidly definable as Neapolitan, but it's still definable none the less. No one can come along and say, "well, NY pizza is traditionally done this way, but, from here on out, I'm defining it THIS way," regardless of how many awards they might have won
If you want to say 'I like evoo in pizza dough,' hey evoo it up. Take a bath in the stuff. But you're putting yourself forward as a NY style expert and, as such, making the implication that evoo somehow belongs in NY style pizza (or that NY dough should contain 2.5% salt)- that's just dead wrong.
And the water thing? Come on. Nobody buys into that any more. Sure, if someone lives in an area where the water is exceedingly soft or hard or the chlorine levels resemble a swimming pool, they should take steps to correct it. But, the concept that NY pizza is good because of the water is a myth. Anyone anywhere, with just about any water, can make pizza on par with NY.
Tony, you can ShamWow it up in Vegas, win tens of awards from your friends, and pat yourself on the back all you want, and, if that makes you feel good, all power to you, but none of that is going to help you understand NY culture, my culture. It's not your fault that you're not from NY
As long as you disrespect my area's history by spreading misinformation, I'm going to respond in a highly critical manner.
I don't know everything there is to know about NY style pizza nor do I represent it, but I am one of about 20 million NYers, past and present, that, collectively, own the rights to it. California doesn't have the right to redefine this area's cultural treasure. I don't tell you how to surf, farm, make movies, or anything else that California is famous for. Don't tell us what is and isn't in our pizza.