I look forward to your results.
Well, I made the pie last night.
I will apologize up-front about not being more scientific in my approach and in my methods.. ..For one, I only make one pie a week for Sunday night "Pizza Night" for the family.. . .since this is the family meal for the night, I tend to be mostly concerned with just getting it on the table and not screwing it up. So I don't often take time to snap photos or things like that
Also - I don't feel like I have the acumen at this point to know a whole lot about what I'm doing
But anyway - I pulled the dough out about 2 hours ahead of time to a room temp of probably 76-79 degrees. In that time it rose perhaps 10%. I dusted the counter with semolina and turned out the dough. I dusted it with semolina and hand-stretched it to about 9 inches or so. The dough was pretty extensible (I think that's the right word). ... stretched very easily. It was so floppy that I was loathe to attempt tossing it, so I just stretched it with the backs of my fists, which worked well.
As mentioned previously, I sort of realized this is really too much dough for a 14'', so I stretched it bigger than my 14'' screen and then rolled the rim to make it fit.
I should also pause here to confess that my focus has really been entirely on the dough. I love MM's toppings too, but we tend to have set toppings that we use here at home, plus we try to eat vegan.
So after I got the skin ready, we dressed it and baked it at 500 (high as mine goes) on the second-lowest rack position for 8 minutes.
Not being a very good judge of done-ness, I decided to pull it out at this point, fearing an overbaked crust more than an underbaked one.
The rim was quite large due to the artificial pre-bake rim. The color of the crumb was much closer to MM - it was a mild golden color, not brown like my previous attempts, caused by too much molasses I think.
I fear the pie was underbaked. The crust was pretty bready and very soft. It was also surprisingly sweet. . .sweeter than I expected given the lower molasses content than previous attempts. My palate also seemed to be yearning for a bit more saltiness. .. my wife agreed. Not sure if this is legitimate or if it was due to the underbake.
However, to me the flavor was the closest I've come to MM yet. This is all subjective of course, but I was encouraged by it.
I think the under-bakedness definitely detracted from the overall appeal (as well as a new sauce we tried and some other topping issues).
Lessons Learned: I think I will lower the hydration a good bit and possibly increase the wheat germ. The Germ flavor - if my palate is correct - seemed to be more of an "ah-ha!" factor than the molasses. In my opinion it was the biggest factor contributing to the MM likeness.
I will definitely lower the ball weight and not form an artificial rim.
I wonder if more salt would be in order as well, but my inexperience has me worried about adversely impacting the fermentation in doing so.
I also wonder what a longer cold fermentation would do to the flavors as well.
Well, that's about all I can report for now. . sorry again for the lack of technicality. Cheers!