Sooo, I'm getting really close to that extra crunch thing I like. Seems like each thing has resulted in a 2% improvement. It adds up.
More importantly, I can manage my dough batches with more consistency by controlling the mix amounts, IDY and water temps with reasonable confidence. That's including doing two versions of pre-ferments, depending on what I'm after. I've done a pie a day on average for about 5-6 weeks now. That's a great deal of practice. I can't stress enough how nice it is to be able to make a batch of dough and know that it will be stretchable and not too tough to chew. Thank you folks so very much for all the tips and pointers. They've helped more than you can imagine. It's very tough to put everything together sometimes, no matter how much you read.
I'm down to the final crunch on the crust thing. Today's batch used sugar for the first time and oil for the second time. I thought I had better heat saturation than I did, which resulted in a very slow bake. I didn't want to over-cook my top, so left the blast of heat off of it and did the best combination of temperature and time I could. It came out very nice, and is my second or third best crunch yet. I'll post pics below.
I do have some questions. Some of these may seem odd, but remember that I've been doing an experimental bake a day. Most were with the goal of getting crunch, but some were just to see what happens and learn. As such, these may seem scattered.
Oh, and my formulations are mostly 100% FS, 65% water, varying IDY (.19% to .50%, depending on goals) and salt at 1.75%. Last two batches also had 2% oil and last batch had 2% sugar. I'm favoring a TF in the low .080's.
(fwiw, .075 just seems a tiny bit thin for me. I do like a good bit of sauce, and I think thicker helps support it. (.100 and above seems too thick at times.)
#1: What, if any, affect does Vital Wheat Gluten(VWG) have on the strength of a finished, baked skin and it's ability to support toppings?
#2: When folks on here say that they add sugar for assistance with browning, do they mean just coloration, or do they mean coloration and additional crunchy texture?
#3: Does an increased yeast amount for a 1-2 day old bake have an effect on moisture for the bake. (yes, I freely admit that this is seemingly a strange question.)
#4: Although I strive for consistency, I find that my pre-ferments vary in pungency. (more being better, I think) This I feel does have an effect on flavor. If you just knew you did everything the same as last time, what would you look at first? (let's say a 33% pre-ferment, "pinch" of yeast and equal parts water and flour for 16 hours)
#5: What do you use for bench flour? (Not peel flour - I use semolina for that, very nice. the only time I have launch issues is right after bragging that I don't have launch issues. Great. tomorrow's bake is jinxed. )
#6: Let's say that I had a friend who had a friend that knew someone who used the drop the dough ball into the bowl of flour thing, but was too afraid to damage the dough ball and doesn't quite get enough of the flour off before bake. This friend has too much flour on the bottom of his pies. What would be your best guess be if guessing as to why my friend was so inept at getting flour off a dough ball?
#7: If you were running a 65% hydration on FS and curiosity compelled you to try mixing some of that Caputo "00" in at 50/50 and 75(FS)/25, how much would you lower water so that you didn't make the ugliest dough ball in pizza dough ball making history? (That was another question for my friend's friend. That pancake actually rose well on the counter 3 days later and baked up OK at 675F....from what my friend said.)
#8: What's the current preferred starter for NY style? I've seen Ischa (sp?) mentioned about a zillion times.
Today's bake. Mis-managed heat on a cold day resulted in 10 minutes on the BS. Temps got below 500F left side of stone and 540F top center stone. Very nice pie, though.