I am always looking for new NY style dough recipes to try out. Recently, as I was searching for information on the forum, I came across the NY style dough recipe that was posted some time ago in this thread, at Reply #24, by (inactive) member Pierre. I had reviewed the recipe once before, as noted in the last post, but had not actually attempted the recipe myself. So, recently, I decided to give the recipe a try.
I made a few changes to Pierre’s basic recipe. First, I scaled the recipe up to make a 16-inch pizza rather than the 12-inch size that Pierre’s recipe is intended to produce. Second, I used a lower hydration ratio. As previously noted, by my estimation, Pierre’s recipe calls for about 72% hydration. Third, I let the dough cold ferment for 3 days rather than one. Fourth, since Pierre’s recipe didn’t specify an oven temperature for preheating the stone, I used around 500-550 degrees F. The pizza was baked using my more or less standard screen/stone combination rather than using the stone only. Apart from the hydration level I used, I stayed within the baker’s percents I arrived at for Pierre’s recipe.
The only difficulty I had making the dough was in being able to get around 72% hydration. The best I could do using the protocol specified by Pierre’s recipe was around 63%. The addition of the olive oil and the sesame oil, at around 7.5% total, also meant a wetter dough than usual. During the three-day period the dough was in the refrigerator, it rose very little during the first two days but started to expand over the last day, by about a total of 50 percent. This is also quite common for a cold-fermented dough using very small amounts of yeast (0.30% IDY in this case), and particularly for one using water on the cool side. I allowed the dough to warm up to about 62 degrees F before using it to make a pizza. I did not re-ball the dough as Pierre’s instructions called for because I was fearful that doing so would cause the dough to become too elastic to shape and stretch. As it turned out, the dough was very extensible (stretchy) but with care I was able to stretch it out to 16-inches and dress it on my 16-inch pizza screen. The pizza was a combination of pepperoni and mushroom.
The photos below show the finished product. As I expected, the finished crust was very soft with a tender crumb, which I attributed to the large amount of oil (around 7.5%) and sugar (around 4.8%). From my experience, this is quite characteristic of the NY styles that use large amounts of oil and sugar (although some might argue that it is closer to an American style). The pizza also baked faster than I expected, which had the added effect of producing a softer crust because the shorter bake time didn’t allow for the moisture in the dough to escape fast enough to produce a drier crust. The oil in the dough also works against this effect by trying to "seal" the water within the dough. The total bake time in my case was around 6 minutes, and because the bottom of the crust had quickly darkened because of the sugar in the dough, I couldn’t prolong the bake time any further. As a result, the top crust was also a little bit lighter than usual. In retrospect, I think the better approach would have been to use a lower bake temperature and a longer bake time. I was pleased, however, with the taste of the crust and pizza. I could detect a slight sweetness in the crust, which I usually prefer to avoid, but it was not bothersome. I could not specifically detect the flavor of the sesame oil although I could smell it as I was making and shaping the dough. But none of these factors detracted from the overall enjoyment of the pizza.