The last dough ball I made as part of the tests discussed in Reply 78 was a Lehmann NY style dough ball made using King Arthur bread flour. Even though it was past its prime, that is, overfermented, I decided to try to make a pizza out of it anyway. To do this successfully, the dough can’t be on its absolute last legs. It has to still be alive. It may also turn out that the dough is so extensible that it may be very difficult, and even impossible in some cases, to shape and stretch the dough out by hand and use a peel to load the pizza into the oven. But if you can manage to get the dressed pizza into the oven you can often end up with an exceptional pizza, with superb flavors of fermentation in the finished crust. The crust may have a lighter crust color than normal, because of the depletion of the sugars, but the crumb can be very good and of nice texture.
The dough itself was based on the following Lehmann dough formulation, which I derived from the recently updated Lehmann dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/dough_calculator.html
|266.26 g | 9.39 oz | 0.59 lbs|
173.07 g | 6.1 oz | 0.38 lbs
0.67 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.22 tsp | 0.07 tbsp
4.66 g | 0.16 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.83 tsp | 0.28 tbsp
2.66 g | 0.09 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.59 tsp | 0.2 tbsp
447.32 g | 15.78 oz | 0.99 lbs | TF = 0.1025
The dough was prepared using the basic techniques described in this thread (sifted flour, whisk, flat paddle and C-hook), a water temperature of 48.6 degrees F, and a 2.5% increase in the ingredients to compensate for minor dough losses during preparation. The finished dough weight was 15.75 ounces, and the finished dough temperature was 69.7 degrees F. The thickness factor entered into the tool was 0.10.
The dough ball was 7 days old when I decided to use it. I knew it was on the decline on day 6, when large bubbles started to form at the upper surface of the dough. That was a signal that the dough had to be promptly used. I stretched the use of the dough out one more day in order to complete the test for which I had made the dough in the first place. In preparation for shaping the dough ball, I preheated my pizza stone for about an hour at 500-550 degrees F. However, when time came to shape and stretch the dough, I found it so extensible that I concluded that I wouldn’t be able to use a peel to dress and load the pizza into the oven. So I decided to use a cutter pan in combination with the pizza stone. My cutter pan is a 14” solid, dark, anodized pizzatools.com cutter pan such as shown at http://www.pizzatools.com/productdisplay.aspx?catid=52&c=Cutter_Pans
. I lightly oiled the bottom of the cutter pan with olive oil, to enhance the browning of the bottom of the crust, and after stretching out the dough to about 10”, I draped the dough over the pan and pulled the edges out the rest of the way to the rim of the pan.
After dressing the pizza (in a basic pepperoni style), I baked it on the stone for about 6 minutes. I then removed the pizza from the pan (which I removed from the oven) and placed the pizza directly on the pizza stone, where it baked for an additional two minutes. To prevent overbrowning of the bottom crust, I finished the pizza with an additional two minutes on the next-to-the-top oven rack position.
The photos below show the finished pizza. As suspected, the top crust was lighter in color than normal, but the oven spring and crumb were very good. The crust itself had nice flavors of fermentation, and had a chewy texture with good “tooth”. Although not entirely visible in the photos, the rim of the crust had a profusion of small blisters characteristic of overfermentation of the dough. The crust wasn’t as crispy as a normal Lehmann crust baked completely on a stone, but it still had a nice texture with a bit of crunch. Overall I found the crust to be quite enjoyable. I was also very pleased with the performance of the cutter pan. It appears to be a good choice when a dough is too soft and extensible to handle in any other manner. The cutter pan is also an improvement over a pizza screen because there is no need to worry about the dough becoming fused to the cutter pan as can easily happen with a screen.
Where the pizza could have been improved was in the use of a better mozzarella cheese. I was using the Wal-Mart Great Value processed mozzarella cheese as part of a series of tests using that brand of cheese. What I have discovered is that it tends to release an orange-colored oil during baking (as shown in the photos) and the melted cheese loses its stretchiness and behaves more like Cheez Wiz.