Suggestion for modifying Expanded Dough Calculator - Yes, this is realted to the Mellow Mushroom clone
As I am filling in the gaps in my reading of the MM clone thread, I came across a few posts related to the thickness factor of MM 10" vs. 14" vs. 16" pizzas. The discussion was related to a different thickness factor for the 10" pizza relative to the other sizes. As I explored the Expanded Dough Calculator, I noticed that the calculator simply performs a calculation on the weight of the dough relative to the overall area of the pizza, and it has no factor in it for the thickness of the rim of the pizza relative to the center. One apparent intent of the thickness factor is to allow one to scale the recipe up or down to achieve the same thickness of the pizza, but this thickness factor only applies to pizzas of uniform thickness from perimeter to the center. Considering pizzas like those at Mellow Mushroom, which have a thick rim, it seems to me that the recipe should be scaled up based on two changing dimensions: (1) the rim ring inside and outside diameters with its desired thickness and (2) the interior diameter of the pizza with its desired thickness. To make a small vs a large Mellow Mushroom pizza, the amount of dough would be a function of the change in these two separate dimensions. The area (and volume) of the rim plus the area (and volume) of the center. These two volumes are not in a contstant ratio as one goes from small to large pizzas, so the amount of dough for a 16" pizza with a thick, 1" rim is not a simple ratio to the area of a 10" pizza with the same thick, 1" rim.
It seems we need to add another factor in the calculator to adjust the recipes based on the relative thickness of the rim vs the center of the pizza and the varying dimensions of these. This would result in recipe scaling that would come much closer to having a constant thickness of pizza in the center and in the rim than does the current version of the calculator.
What do you think?
That is a valid observation--one that has been made before on a couple of occasions. Not long ago, another member made the same observation with respect of the forum's deep-dish dough calculating tool where he felt that that tool should have the capability of using a first thickness factor for the part of the skin that goes up the sides of the deep-dish pan and a second thickness factor for the rest of the pizza. Unfortunately, we no longer have the capability of modifying any of the forum's four dough calculating tools (http://www.pizzamaking.com/dough_tools.html
). They were programmed by member Boy Hits Car (aka Mike) using the computers and facilities of his former employer, and when he left to start his own business we lost the capability to make any changes to the tools.
The above notwithstanding, I'd still like to address your comments.
When I first heard about the thickness factor concept, it is my recollection that it was in respect of a pizza with a rim. I simply assumed that someone somewhere did some experiments and came up with some typical thickness factor values for pizzas with different crust thicknesses (e.g., thin, medium and thick) and sizes. It didn't take long before I saw that there were several types of pizzas that had no rims, such as cracker style pizzas (where the dough is run through sheeters or rollers or their equivalents in a home setting), Chicago thin-crust pizzas, and some Sicilian/Grandma, Greek and other pan style pizzas (both round and rectangular/square) where there is either no rim or not a distinct one. Over time, by watching what amounts of dough were typically used to make the different types of pizzas, both by professionals and our own members, and using the dough weights and corresponding pizza sizes, I came up with a list of typical thickness factors. The last such list I produced is at Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12243.msg115759/topicseen.html#msg115759
More recently, the subject of thickness factors and what they mean came up again, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,17813.msg172515.html#msg172515
. If you look at my post in that thread at Reply 7 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,17813.msg172560.html#msg172560
, you will get a better understanding of the various aspects of thickness factors.
Another point to keep in mind is that rims of pizzas are not inherently related to thickness factors. Rims can form even when you try to stop them from forming, as by rolling the skin out to the edge or by jumping up and down on the perimeter of the skin so that no rim could ever survive. Some members have even conducted tests to see if they could prevent rims from happening. I believe that Bill/SFNM was the last member to report on an experiment where he made two skins, one with a distinct rim and the other with a suppressed one. Both pizzas baked up with distinct rims. A good part of the explanation is that oven spring, which perhaps implicates pizza rims more than any other part of the pizza, can come from many sources. In fact, a while back I tried to list all of the factors that I could think of that can have a bearing on oven spring. I presented my list in Reply 515 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9908.msg104559.html#msg104559
. Several of those factors apply to the MM doughs (real and clone) although I can't say to what degree and which factors are most responsible. I have been puzzled more than once how an MM clone dough with fairly low hydration intended to form a rather stiff crust and crumb, and with limited fermentation, and baked at normal home oven temperatures (or comparable deck oven temperatures in Norma's case) can yield some surprisingly large rims, even if no real attempt is made to form an initially large rim.
In the case of the MM pizzas, maybe the MM doughs deserve their own thickness factors. Bit I am not sure that that is the answer. Since the three MM pizza sizes (10", 14" and 16") have different thickness factors, I have recommended that members who want to make other sizes of MM clone pizzas use a thickness factor that is the average of the three thickness factors used by MM. However, it seems to me that MM generally makes a concerted effort to form a large rim on its pizzas. This can be seen, for example, in the MM video at
. Even then, the rim that is initially formed shrinks but ends up larger again in the baked pizza. In my MM clone efforts, I have tried to form a distinct rim initially and try to keep it at all times. However, from the many photos of MM pizzas I have seen, I can't say that all the MM workers use the same shaping and stretching methods. Even with identical training sessions, different workers are likely to produce different end pizzas, some with large rims and others with smaller rims. And this is not unique to the MM pizzas. When Norma and I worked on the Mack's clone pizzas, we observed many different looks for their pizzas. That was also a case where I tried not to form a large rim. I had to work hard to achieve that result.