Based on my past experience and preference, I do not believe that pizza needs to go in the oven within 24 hours after it is prepared. In fact, I find that the best tasting crust is produced when the dough is left in the refrigerator for 24 - 72 hours, and I've found this to be true with smaller pizzeria establishments as well.
By following some techniques, you'll find that the balance of salt, yeast and refrigeration really is key to the amount of sugar that is left for the palette, rather than merely creating a feeding frenzy for yeast.
- When dough is placed in the refrigerator within 15 minutes after it is kneaded, the delay in the fermentation process is very noticable. I have witnessed this step among professionals when invited into their back kitchens as well.
- 2 cups of flour (9 ounces of flour) is plenty for a 14" pizza tossed, which is thin, yet not cracker thin (the slice below held by a friend is a typical size).
- I respect the idea that you should not rely on added sugar to create a great tasting pizza, unless you expect to get a great wine by adding sugar to grape juice as Peter R would suggest. I have been able to get great tasting dough in a 14" pizza with much less than 1 TBL of sugar.
- NY recipes with a 1/2 tsp of yeast should be plenty.
- Less than a 1 tsp of salt should do the trick as well. Since yeast does not like salt though, I don't like the idea of adding both of them into a process at the same time.
- The full sugar is not available after it is kneaded. Enzymes need to spend hours to release the sugars buried in the flour's starches. Enzymes are willing to work for you, so give them time to do good work for you.
- I love San Francisco sour dough. Although I don't necessarily try to create a sour dough starter, the acids that form during the fermentation period help create a great tasting dough. As one person who creates outstanding natural and professional tasting food said to me, if you could let the dough get really really ugly, the better off you'd be with its taste.
Well, I have to admit, when I took out a dough from the refrigerator today that was a good week old, it was real ugly. But it wasn't a first for me. A friend asked me what the different colors were all about (so much for letting the customer in the kitchen). As you can see in the 2nd picture, it had no problem browning around the edges, with plenty of rise at 530 F.
Unfortunately, I did not
have my usual Grande cheese around, so I had to use a pre-shredded cheese which is always garbage and sure to burn and dry out at 530 F... which it did. But the dough tasted great and formed nicely, and the herb-based olive oil and fresh basil came through, and the pepperoni reminded me why it's a top seller in the US.