Last night, I cooked some pizza that had been cold fermenting for 5 days. The formulation was a 100% Caputo 00 flour, 58% water, 2% salt, 2% malted milk powder, 1% oil, 0.5% yeast. Two dough balls roughly 330 grams each. I re-balled one 43 hours in advance of making the pizza, and the other 19 hours in advance. I did this, because I do believe that re-balling pizza dough can enhance the results of the final product, and in a home environment is actually pretty easy to do. I wanted to test to see, if I could notice any difference between the crust that was re-balled 24 hours earlier then the other crust. I staggered the removal of the dough balls from the fridge by a hour, so that I could get the temper time the same on each pizza. However, after that I deviated from what I had intended to be a relatively scientific approach to comparing these dough balls...
The first pizza I cooked was the dough that had been re-balled 43 hours before using it, i had let it temper for a little more then 2 hours. The dough was very easy to work with , not to strong not too weak. I topped it with Ham, Pepperoni, mushrooms and onions, very typical for me. I spread the toppings out very close to the edge , which is more or less what I prefer, because I'm not overly fond of a huge cornicione and I find that pushing the topping out very close the edge helps to keep that small. Pizza was cooked at 620F for 7 minutes, came out very good.
The second pizzza, was made with the dough that had been re-balled 19 hours in advance of using. But , well I guess it's not really fair to call this one a pizza, because of the way I deviated from my scientific procedures. I didn't really want another pizza, but I did want to see how the crust would turn out. Rather then putting real toppings on it, I decided to try out my new simulated pizza toppings instead. Pure science will have to wait another day , while I test out my new idea for cooking pizza without toppings... but anyway, the second dough I think was a tiny bit easier to work with, but that may have been because I had shortened the temper time by about 15 minutes , for a total of about 2 hours of tempering. Later I deviated again from my original plan, this time not so much intentionally, or from a conscious decision, but more by poor planning. I had lowered the temperature in my pellet grill after I cooked the previous pizza, because I didn't want to run the darn thing for a hour at 620F while I waited for my other dough to temper ( remember I staggered removal from the fridge by one hour )... I was pressed for time, because I had lawn to move... So anyway , I formed the crust, put my simulated pizza toppings on it, then went outside to bake it... only to realize my grill was no longer at 620F, but only about 500F. Well, I decided to crank up the grill and try and get the baking steel back up to 620F, but that meant waiting what I estimated to be around 30 minutes... So I left the simulated pizza sit there, in the relatively cool air while I let the grill warm back up.... So my scientific procedures were like all out the window at this point... and I'm sure glad I didn't actually put $3 or more worth of toppings on this pizza.
Anyway, the results of the second pizza, was actually quite interesting, not exactly sure if it helps me understand the dough formulation , or compare it to the first pizza at all, but... the crust was actually quite good, my wife, who actually wants me to make her pizza with absolutely nothing on it, was very happy with the outcome of this pizza crust. I came away from this fake pizza cook, with more new questions then answers, but all in all I'm actually glad this happened , because I do have some new things to think about....
The first 4 pictures are from the actual pizza I made, the one that used the dough that had been re-balled 43 hours prior to making the pizza. The crust was very good, not great, not as good as I'd hoped for that's for sure. The cornicione did not puff up as much as I would have liked and the portions under the toppings was puffier then I would have liked. I have a suspicion that this had more to do with my opening technique ( or lack there of ), then the length of ferment or length since the re-ball... But I guess to know that for sure, is some sort of testing for another day, or at least for further observation on future pizza crusts that I make.
The last 3 photos are of my 'naked pizza'... baked at 620F for 7 minutes. Ok, I hope I don't get banned for showing these photos of a naked pizza... but I actually found this to be very interesting. In need of further exploration, a exploration that is clearly going to need some refining to actually prove to be helpful in evaluating pizza dough using this method... and who knows, maybe the method will never be a perfect replacement for actually making a pizza with toppings on it. None the less... my simulated toppings, naked pizza... 12" pizza crust, 11" diameter silicone mat ( about 1/8" thick ) to simulate pizza toppings.
Final thoughts on my naked pizza... Mmmm, I loved the crust, loved the texture, loved the taste... I wish the silicone mat was thicker/heavier, to hold down the bubbles at the center of the crust a bit better. I will either seek out thicker silicone , double it up, or find other stuff to put on top of the silicone mat but I will be using this basic idea in the future, yet it clearly needs refining if it's actually going to come closer to simulating the weight of pizza toppings. For all the problems I had on this , I actually think I'm going in a interesting direction here.