Today, I made a New York style pizza based on a recipe posted by Canadave under the canola oil thread. The main reason I wanted to try out Canadave's recipe, apart from Canadave's favorable review of the finished product, was because his recipe differs quite a bit from the recipe for New York style dough I usually follow. Canadave's recipe calls for a fair amount of yeast and a fair amount of sugar, whereas the recipe I normally use is almost on the other end of the spectrum and calls for only 1/8 teaspoon of yeast (instant dry) and no added sugar at all.
For purposes of today's pizza, I cut Canadave's recipe in half, so that I would have a dough ball of around 22 ounces, enough for a 16-inch pizza if I understood Canadave's recipe correctly.
I tried to be as faithful to Canadave's recipe as possible. The only change I made was to substitute a mixture of canola oil and regular olive oil for the canola-soybean Crisco oil (which I did not have) called for in Canadave's recipe. Everything went pretty much as the recipe specified. I placed the dough after it had been fully kneaded and lightly oiled into a metal container with a tight fitting cover, and then into the refrigerator, where it sat for almost two days. What surprised me was how much the dough rose while in the refrigerator. When I checked the dough from time to time, I saw that it was rising, but by the end of the second day, the dough had completely filled the container (I estimate that it more than doubled in volume) and had pressed against the tight fitting cover enough to actually push it off. In the recipe I use, the dough hardly rises as all when it is in the refrigerator. It just sits there like a lifeless lump, giving you cause to wonder whether the dough will actually be usable.
According to Canadave's recipe instructions, I brought the dough to room temperature but I didn't let is sit there for long. As my pizza stone was being preheated, I worked the dough into a roughly 16-17 inch round, by pulling, stretching and tossing the dough. The dough was quite extensible but more elastic than the New York style dough I usually make, necessitating a couple of 5-minute rest periods to get the gluten to relax. The dough was also very soft and poofy--as mama mia likes to say--and clearly much greater in volume than the volume of dough I usually use to make one of my New York style pizzas (I use 22 ounces for 2 thin-crust pizzas). I dressed the pizza dough on a 16-inch pizza screen and baked it for several minutes at 475 degrees F (as called for in Canadave's recipe) rather than the 500-550 degrees F I usually use. I slipped the pizza onto the stone for a few minutes to improve browning of the bottom of the crust and finished baking it under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
The finished pizza tasted great, although it was quite a bit different from the New York style pizza I make. It was much softer and breadlike, especially in the rim (which was huge), rather than crispy and crackly. A slice of the pizza had the limpness and chewiness characteristic of New York style pizzas. I concluded that part of the difference between the two versions of the pizzas was attributable to the fact that the amount of dough I used to make Canadave's pizza today was about double what I normally use to make mine. Another difference that surprised me was that I could actually taste the sugar in the crust. It was not cloyingly annoying but I tend not to like sweetness in bread products. That is something that can be easily changed in the next iteration of the recipe. Next time, I will also use half the amount of dough that I used today so that I can make a more direct comparison with the results I usually achieve following my recipe. I suspect that some of the differences I noted will be lessened.
The photo below shows the finished pizza. I used some 6-in-1 tomatoes, a little Penzeys pizza seasonings with added dried oregano and basil, crushed red peppers, fresh mozzarella cheese, some deli (County Line) sliced mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, Italian sausage, pepperoni, a swig of good olive oil, freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fresh basil. Maybe Canadave can tell me whether my pizza looks like the ones he makes.