OK, so I've never had Giordano's or any other stuffed pizza, which means I don't know how it's supposed to taste. All I know is what it looks like. But y'know, sometimes looks can tell you a lot. And I feel like I've pretty well interpreted the look of Giordano's and translated it into a near-clone.
I started my quest to clone Giordano's by reading everything I could find about Giordano's on these boards, as well as elsewhere on the internet. It was difficult to make any sense of it, though, because the most active contributors didn't use bakers' percents and because the posts with the best pictures didn't include any kind of formula or recipe. After reading almost everything I could find, I got the impression that a couple members seemed pretty confident in their recipes, so I did my best to translate their volumetric measurements to weight measurements. After entering some of these weight estimates into my spreadsheet that converts weight-based recipes to formulas, it told me these guys are probably doing something like:
Once I established this formula, the first thing I did was say to myself, "4.5% sugar? No way. We'll change that to 2% (which is probably still pretty ridiculously high)." And then I said to myself, "18% oil? No way." Someone's apparently confusing this stuff with Malnati's style deep dish.
Even though I've never had Giordano's, I know their dough is nothing like Malnati's dough. I can tell just by looking at the Giordano's dough in this video
that their dough is more like Pizza Hut thin than Malnati's. And I'm pretty sure Pizza Hut thin has little or no fat. So right away I cut the 18% oil figure in half. Even after cutting the oil percentage in half, I knew 50% hydration was probably too high. So I decreased the hydration to 45%.
Here's the dough formula I used for my very first attempt at cloning Giordano's:
100% Gold Medal all-purpose flour
I used this formula to make some dough last Tuesday morning, knowing I'd turn it into a pizza that afternoon or evening. I was very pleased with my results. However, 2% sugar was obviously too much. I don't know if the crust tasted anything like Giordano's crust because I've never had Giordano's. I know it looked a lot like Giordano's, though, aside from the excessive browning.
In one post I read, someone (probably Peter) speculated that the fat percentage in Giordano's dough may be as low as 6%. Based on the look of their dough, I thought that was a very reasonable estimate. So with my next batch, I wanted to be closer to 6%, but I didn't want to make a huge change because my first batch of dough was pretty good and because my next batch would be used to feed guests.
Also, I read on Slice that Giordano's dough is a 3 or 4-day dough, which told me I need to decrease the yeast. So I decreased the ADY from 1% to 0.6%, for a dough I'd be using about 2-1/2 days later.
But the most important (and biggest) change I made was with the sugar. I was originally so blinded by everyone's sugar-heavy recipes that I totally overlooked a post in which Peter transcribed Giordano's official dough ingredient list. (I don't know the proper terminology to use here.) Anyway, Peter's list did not include sugar. So you know what I did? Yup, I eliminated sugar from my formula.
Here's the formula of my second dough batch:
100% Pillsbury AP flour
Again, I don't know if this dough or crust was anything like Giordano's because I've never had Giordano's. But just look at it
. And then look at pictures of actual Giordano's pizzas
. It looks just like Giordano's to me.
And that's my entire experience in this department so far. My next batch of dough will be:
100% Pillsbury or Gold Medal AP flour
0.8% ADY (but I may switch to IDY for this batch)
In case you're wondering, there's no real reason why I used different flours for the two batches. I simply used what I had. My go-to AP flour is Pillsbury bleached, but I've been trying Gold Medal lately, and it seems to work pretty well, too. I don't like KAAP.