Thanks for the kind words, and thanks to all for the advice on many fronts - I'm enjoying eating the the results of putting your advice into action. We had guests last night who devoured these, including the bones, always a reassuring sign!
Formula for this batch was:
Flour: 676.56 g | 23.86 oz | 1.49 lbs
Water: 430.57 g | 15.19 oz | 0.95 lbs
Salt: 16.91 g | 0.6 oz | 0.04 lbs
Starter: 15.96 g | 0.56 oz | 0.04 lbs (starter is about 100% hydration)
Total: 1140 g | 40.21 oz | 2.51 lbs
This was a 42 hour dough, all mixed by hand. Workflows:
Starter: I keep my starter in the fridge all week until about 10 hours before I'm going to make dough. I take it out of the fridge, feed it, and leave it at room temp (60f-70f) during the day. After 10 hours it is very active, I take what I need to make dough, and put the rest back in the fridge for another week.
Dough: Combine everything in a bowl, mix until a shaggy mass. Leave to rest for 15 minutes. Knead for about 5 minutes. Rest for about 15 minutes, and the stretch & fold. Repeat 15 minute rest and stretch & fold 4 times (I think). Then leave the dough in a covered bowl for 24 hours. After 24 hours, divide and ball, I has 6 dough balls with this one, at about 180-190g each. I'm putting the balls into rectangular boxes, 3 to a box. [EDIT: then leave the balls for another 24 hours - or in this case about 20 hours - before the bake happens]. They flatten out and touch the edges and each other, but that's all part of the fun.
Bake workflow: I get the stone to about 780f (but it varies) for launch. At launch crank the flame up a lot (makes a good noise and temps rise a fair bit, but I haven't measured all this - and I certainly haven't figured the optimal pre/during temps). During the bake I've taken to shuffling the pie to the back/center of the stone every 1/4 rotation, so the cornicione is always coming through the hot zone. It takes constant attention, but seems to help a lot with the 10" pies. I bring the flame back down to "idling" in between bakes.
The flour: is nothing special. It's a common supermarket variety called "Elfin Home Life" flour - 11% protein. It's actually marketed as a cake flour. I think the grain is mostly NZ grown, but I gather some of the local mills also import grain... so who knows. With this particular flour I've had to take the hydration up to 65%-66%. If I try 60% it's far too firm to work with for pizza. I'm certain there would be better options for flour, even amongst the "supermarket grade".
I would love to try Caputo or Polselli one day, but there is no supplier for either in New Zealand.