So, I've tried 3 different recipes now, the CPK recipe, Randy's American recipe, and a Lehmann NY street dough recipe that pete-zza posted to someone else for a 12-inch pizza.
The weird thing is, to me, they all taste VERY similar, more similar than they do different. They all smell the same coming out of my oven, and they all have a similar taste, one I don't especially like. I mean, it's okay and I'm at least producing edible pizzas now that I'm leaving the dough a lot wetter, but they don't taste like any restaurant pizza I've ever had (that is, good). I'm wondering, is it because of the limitations of my oven and the pizza stone that I'm using that's holding it back? I see people post with nice brown crusts and stuff but mine always stay very white-ish on top even as they begin to burn on the bottom. I know for the style of dough varasano makes it's supposed to be charred on the bottom, and while I like that sometimes, it's not necessarily what I'm after if I try to make like the NY street style pizza or the American style pizza which was supposed to be somewhat similar to Papa John's.
As an experiment, I put some olive oil on part of the dough, and noted that the crust around those parts seemed tastier. Should I start putting oil on my dough before it goes in the oven? I normally have just been using tomato sauce and cheese to keep it simple for now, though I'll try other things later.
I'm using a crappy store-bought tomato sauce while I wait for my 6 in 1 tomatos to get here, but I don't think that's why the pizzas are tasting the same to me. Could it be because I'm using the same flour, yeast, etc, even though in different amounts? I'm using pillsbury bread flour and Dr. Oetker's brand instant yeast. Also this last time I forgot to use filtered water, I don't know how much of a difference that makes.
It doesn't make any sense to me why they should all smell/taste the same unless the yeast has a much bigger effect than I thought.
I wish I could describe they way it smells/tastes coming out of the oven, but I could say it almost tastes sort of bitter. I dunno if that's the right word, but like restaurant pizza always tastes more moist and sweeter, even though I think they probably use less sugar. Could this be because I'm putting too much flour on the bottom of the pizza? I'm having to flour the bottom very thoroughly to make sure it doesn't get dried out and stick to the peel, perhaps I have too much on there?