You are correct that the compilation of NY style dough formulations includes several that are based on using natural leavening systems. As I have noted before, based on my own experiences using natural starters, I have viewed such starters as just alternative leavening systems, albeit ones that confer certain desirable flavor and textural aspects to the finished crust. With the desecration of the classic NY style pizza that has taken place over the past many years, with just about every food establishment in NYC offering some version of NY style pizza, that no one on this forum would want to eat, I would think that one would welcome the introduction of methods and techniques that improve and enhance the stature of the NY style pizza. Using a natural leavening system would be one such method. I can understand that Scott would like to preserve the classic and traditional ways of making the NY style, but the damage that so many pizza and restaurant operators have done to the style seems unstoppable.
Very well said, thank you. My concern is that issues get so buried in "official definitions" and we get too black and white, that efforts to improve things are impeded. Latin is a dead language. Great NY Style Pizza does not have to be locked in based on something that was prevalent a long time ago, but like Latin, we can study the classics but not change anything. It could be that, but it does not have to be.
As for the forum's index classification system, this is something that is questioned from time to time. Steve's preference has always been not to have a classification for every style of pizza. There are just too many of them, from New Haven style, Detroit style, St. Louis style, and so on. Often there aren't enough threads on those styles to justify separate pizza boards. A few years ago, I had to arm wrestle Steve to add a new board for specialty-grain pizza recipes (which could also include gluten-free). So, it is unrealistic in my opinion to think about adding several more pizza boards.
Given that, then it seems to me that if someone wants to discuss the addition of SD to what may otherwise be "officially" NY Style then this would be the best forum in which to have that discussion and it would not be a good thing to banish the discussion to Other (which is designated to be dedicated to, among other things, breadsticks).
You doubt if there was SD, huh? If you grew up eating NY style pizza, you know darn well that there wasn't any SD in it. Just because you don't care about the culture that you grew up in doesn't mean that I can't.
You don't know what I know. But, I do not recall any pizza in NY that, fast forwarding to my SD knowledge today, I would remember as having SD. Back then, I knew absolutely nothing about commercial yeast vs. SD and I doubt if I ever had an SD bread (but I don't know that). So, I said "doubt." But, yes, I have little doubt you are correct even if it was not 100%, it was up there in the 99+%.
NY style pizza is a tangible, perceptible, and, to an extent, quantifiable thing. It's not what Norma, Jeff Varasano, you, Craig or even I want it to be. It just is.
All I'm asking is that Norma (and anyone else adding sourdough to NY style recipes) call it something other than NY style. If you're not making NY style pizza, call it something else. You, she, anyone, can experiment with any ingredient imaginable, without disrespecting a city's culture and history.
Sounds like a Supreme Court discussion of that p**n. I do not think it just "is." It is more that it "was". I think you can say "I know it when I see it" or in this case "eat it". But, unless it (pizza being made today that is purported to be NY Style) conforms to something that used to be around a lot, then you want to call it something else?
This goes back to my comment before. You can have a forum dedicated to the unchangeable, old time, good NY style pizza and make sure everyone knows that it is etched in stone and innovation is not permitted or permitted only by someone in charge (you?). And, then we can have a forum where people can innovate.
Not really practical. Really, 2 forums for NY Style Pizza? The old stuff vs. the innovation and elbow room to improve or change stuff?
I used to be a college level math teacher. 60% was passing. The student with 59% would show up looking for a break. If I gave him/her the break, then next in line would be 58%. Are we doing that here? If NY Style Pizza is "supposed to be" 1.75% salt, is 1.76% OK? What about 1.77%? Of course it is OK. What about 5%? Of course, that is not OK. Where is the line? Requires judgment.
I learned a long time ago in business that being excessively rigid about everything, for the sake of staking out the rules, can help the business in some ways but hurt it in others. Very often valuable is to ask "what does good look like?" and know you are going to get subjective answers that do not always have numbers or specificity. And, if something is more accurate, precise or both, one of us often asked "so what?" Because, what is actually important to meet your objective is not necessary derived from firm rules based rigid parameters.
So, wait, Norma is supposed to call it something other than NY Style to avoid disrespecting culture and history? I thought it was to avoid confusing Newbies. C'mon, this is not a courtroom where you say whatever you have to say (and can get away with) to win. The politicians can try to appeal to whatever motivates the voter. This is not a political race or a courtroom drama.
The ancient ways should be honored because they produced good results. We should allow room for innovation and lots of it. We would not be extreme and destructive by banishing SD starter added to NY Style to the home of breadsticks. How about leaving NY Style alone and calling the style you like "The Original NY Style that was ubiquitous during a period of time (the good old days) but that is not really the same thing as the Original Rays and is not the crap served today by most"? Or, less sarcastically and more constructively: You can call the pizza you are trying to describe as "Traditional NY Style" and let everyone else call what they are doing in this forum "NY Style." In other words, you can be the one that is wiling to change for the greater good and still make the point you are trying to make.