Author Topic: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation  (Read 27599 times)

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Offline Pete-zza

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New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« on: May 29, 2007, 02:46:42 PM »
As a change of pace, I recently decided to take another stab at making a cracker-style pizza. Admittedly, this has been my weakest pizza category by far. A good part of the problem is that I don’t have a good frame of reference against which to compare my efforts, particularly since I have never had a cracker style pizza from a pizzeria before. My best frame of reference has been the photos of cracker style crusts that I have seen on this forum, and based on that reference, the cracker style crusts I have made to date do not appear to have been sufficiently crackery or crispy.

For my latest cracker style pizza, I decided to use a dough formulation that was recently posted by Tom Lehmann at the forum at Pizza Today, at http://www.pizzatoday.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000919, and which is set forth as follows:

100% flour, 1.5% salt, 0.5% IDY, 5% oil, 0.5% baking soda, 50% water. Mix the dough for 12 to 15 minutes at low speed, then allow to ferment at room temperature for overnight. On the following day, cut a piece of dough from the dough mass and sheet out to desired size (you will need to experiment to determine just how big a piece of dough you will need to remove from the dough mass to make a specific size pizza. Put the sheeter dough on a peel or on a screen, dock the dough and dress as usual, bake at 450F until crispy.

For my initial effort using this dough formulation, I prepared the dough following the general instructions given by Tom Lehmann but making slight adjustments since I was using a home KitchenAid stand mixer. Although Tom did not specifically indicate what kind of flour to use in the recipe, he usually recommends a “strong pizza” flour for the cracker style, which I have interpreted to mean either bread flour or high-gluten flour. For my initial effort, I elected to use the King Arthur bread flour. Since Tom also did not indicate a particular dough ball weight and corresponding pizza size, I elected to use a thickness factor of 0.07 (an educated guess) and a pizza size of 14”.

To prepare the dough, the salt was first dissolved in the water (which was cold right of the refrigerator), and the IDY, baking soda and flour were combined and gradually added to the salt/water solution. The oil was added after the dough had come together. Because of the low hydration (50%), which resulted in a stiff and scrappy dough, I found it necessary on a few occasions to stop the machine and hand knead the dough to bring it more closely together into a ball shape, before continuing with the kneading process. The final kneading took about 8-9 minutes, at speed 2, culminating in a finished dough temperature of around 79° F.

Once the dough was finished, I set it on my kitchen counter for about 24 hours. The dough was then rolled out, using a rolling pin, sauced, cheesed, topped and baked. I had intended to dock the dough before dressing, as is common with cracker style crusts, but simply forgot to do so. I also did not roll the dough out to roughly full size, fold the dough into quarters, and then re-roll, which is a technique commonly used by pizza operators who have commercial sheeters at their disposal. The pizza was baked directly on a pizza stone that I had placed at the middle oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at around 500-550° F. Once the pizza went into the oven, I lowered the oven temperature to 450 F, and baked the pizza at that temperature for about 8-9 minutes.

While the finished pizza (a basic pepperoni pizza) tasted fine, I did not think that it was crackery or crispy enough. And a slice drooped when held out straight. Also, I detected a somewhat unpleasant aftertaste in the crust, which I attributed to the baking soda. In addition, I found that I had more dough than I really needed for a 14” pizza. So, I decided to modify the Lehmann dough formulation in a few respects. These changes will be described in the next post.

Peter
« Last Edit: May 29, 2007, 02:57:15 PM by Pete-zza »


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2007, 03:06:22 PM »
The changes alluded to in my last post included 1) using King Arthur Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour in lieu of bread flour, 2) baking soda at a reduced level of 0.35%, and 3) a thickness factor of 0.06 (with bowl residue compensation of 1.5%). Using the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html, I ended up with the following dough formulation:

Flour (100%):
Water (50%):
IDY (0.50%):
Salt (1.50%):
Olive Oil (5%):
Baking Soda (0.35%):
Total (157.35%):
168.91 g  |  5.96 oz | 0.37 lbs
84.45 g  |  2.98 oz | 0.19 lbs
0.84 g | 0.03 oz | 0 lbs | 0.28 tsp | 0.09 tbsp
2.53 g | 0.09 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.45 tsp | 0.15 tbsp
8.45 g | 0.3 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.88 tsp | 0.63 tbsp
0.59 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.15 tsp | 0.05 tbsp
265.78 g | 9.37 oz | 0.59 lbs | TF = 0.0609

The dough was prepared the same way as the previous one. However, the dough was even stiffer and scrappier that the one using bread flour. And I had to again stop the machine and do a fair amount of hand kneading to bring everything together before recommencing the kneading process. Clearly, my basic KitchenAid stand mixer with a C-hook is not intended for kneading especially stiff doughs. Once I was done, I divided the dough into two individual dough balls (for reasons to become more apparent below), and placed the two dough balls, each weighing 4.63 ounces, into separate covered containers which were then left to ferment at room temperature for about 24 hours. The first photo below shows one of the two dough balls after about 24 hours of room temperature fermentation. As is evident from the photo, the dough ball was still quite scrappy, although it was actually quite soft to the touch.

Both dough balls were rolled out to about 14-15”, using as little bench flour as possible since I did not want raw flour to bake up in the oven and impart a bitter taste to the finished crust. I then superimposed the two rolled out skins on each other, with a thin layer of flour between the two skins. I speculated that the flour would keep the two skins from sticking to each other and would possibly create air pockets between the two skins and, as a result, contribute to increased voids and, hence, crispiness in the finished crust.

As it turned out, when I actually went to stack the two skins one atop the other, I saw that the skins had shrunk by an inch or so, to below 14”, and a few “wrinkles” had formed in the skins when I tried to handle them. (Professionals often use a dough relaxer, such as PZ-44, to prevent springback of high gluten doughs.) I stacked the two skins nonetheless, wrinkles and all, and I rerolled the “lamination” out to about 14.5”. I then formed a small rim by pinching together the outer edges of the skin. The lamination was then docked using a dough docker such as shown in the second photo below (a fork can also be used). The docked lamination was then put on my lightly dusted peel, sauced, cheesed and topped. I might add that at no time did I have any difficulty in rolling out the dough. The two skins were like very thin membranes of rubber or plastic and did not exhibit any tendency to develop thin spots or tears.

I am happy to report that the method I used appears to have succeeded. Using the same bake protocol as with the first pizza, I ended up with a pizza—shown in the last two photos--with a very crackery and crispy crust. The crispiness extended from the center of the pizza to the edges, and could even be felt and heard as I moved the pizza cutter through the pizza. And there was no droopiness in the slices. Plus the crust color and flavors were quite good, without as prounounced a baking soda taste.

What was significant to me is that I did not have to pre-bake the dough to get the crispiness, and I could bake it directly on my stone, which I understand is the most common approach (used by professionals) for the cracker style. The results also seem to suggest that you don’t need extremely low hydration levels (e.g., in the 30% range) and an extremely dry and crumbly dough to get crispiness in the crust. However, high levels of fat may be a requirement, along with adequate hydration, both of which are present with the Lehmann dough formulation I used. I still don’t know if I have achieved a standard cracker style pizza, but I believe I am headed in the right direction.

Peter

Offline Flagpull

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2007, 03:25:32 PM »
Fantastic. I think i'll make this for my mother for her upcoming birthday, she likes this sort of pizza.

Pete- do you think a low moisture cheese would lend itself to this style of pizza moreso than my typical whole milk?

I'm almost tempted to suggest that this replace the cracker crust pizza recipe on the main page. The one on the main page i've always felt was too "bready" on the bottom, the bottom layer of crust in your pictures more accurately depicts what I would consider to be a "shakeys style" bottom layer, and this doesn't require the multi step par baking.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2007, 03:29:10 PM by Flagpull »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2007, 03:53:14 PM »
Pete- do you think a low moisture cheese would lend itself to this style of pizza moreso than my typical whole milk?

Phillip,

I used the Precious brand of low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese. The pizza was baked on the stone at the middle oven rack position. As you can see, the cheese held up quite well, and there was no need to raise the pizza to a higher rack position to get more top heat. I don't see any reason why you can't use a good quality whole-milk mozzarella cheese if you choose to go with that option.

If you give the dough formulation a try using a stand mixer, don't be discouraged if the dough is stiff. Now that you have been doing some hand kneading, just stop the machine and do whatever hand kneading is necessary to have the dough in a roughly round shape. I had to do this to incorporate the final amount of the flour that I added to the bowl and also after adding and machine-kneading in the oil. Don't worry if the dough isn't smooth and perfectly round. It will be craggy looking but it should be OK after about 24 hours of room temperature fermentation. I think the relatively high hydration (for a cracker type dough) and high level of oil allowed me to roll out the dough without any difficulty. Rolling out two dough balls takes a bit more time, but if the objective is to get crispiness in the crust, I think it is a worthwhile effort.

I believe that it should also be possible to use a food processor in lieu of a stand mixer, as several members on the forum have done when making a cracker style dough.

Peter

Offline Musky

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2007, 05:17:38 PM »
Wow, Pete, that looks terrific.  I had my best success, only two out of five tries, however, when I added a bit more water to the DKM/Steve recipe, and they were still very difficult to roll out.

I'm definitely going to give this a try.  Hopefully I can get a decent result with KA bread flour.  I've yet to order a huge bag of Sir Lancelot.

Kevin

I'm not angry, I'm hungry.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2007, 05:21:26 PM by Musky »

Offline chiguy

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2007, 01:40:32 PM »
 Hi Pete, in order to get a soft plyable dough that is not scrappy and easy to roll out try cutting the oil into the dry ingrediants slowly with your paddle attachment. Then add the water and if it is slightly wamer, atleast room temp this also helps. This has worked for me and has been a great improvment.
 I also have a few copies/formulations of very famous grocerey store cracker crust pizzas and cutting oil into the dry ingrediants is the process they use in the factory. They also added some shortening on the back end of mixing.
 I think the formulation you are using is fine and almost exactly what i use except i am using a .65=TF. 
                                       a few suggestions,   Chiguy

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2007, 03:17:27 PM »
chiguy,

Thank you for your suggestions, which are always welcome, especially from one who can tell a good cracker crust from a bad one. I assume knowing the difference is a rite of passage for someone who grew up in or lives in the Chicago area, as you do. Somehow I managed to escape the experience even though I lived in a Chicago suburb for a short time some years ago.

For my first couple tries, I attempted to prepare the dough as I imagined Tom Lehmann would do it, especially in the absence of any instructions with the recipe itself. Now that I have seen what the results are, I plan to try to improve the process. I may even try the newer dough making approach using sifted flour and the whisk, flat beater and C-hook combination. I might add that I didn't have problems with the physical rolling out of the dough itself. It was the shrinkage of the dough after rolling it out and setting it aside. Even then, when I layered the skins, I did not have a problem rolling out the lamination to the desired size.

I assume in your post that you meant TF = 0.065 rather than 0.65 ;D.

I had some of the leftover pizza slices today that I preheated in my toaster oven, and they were really tasty.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 21, 2010, 03:01:41 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2007, 11:40:57 AM »
Yesterday, I made another cracker type crust pizza. I used the same Lehmann dough formulation as posted before, but this time I prebaked the crust before dressing and completing the bake. Also, instead of using the layered approach I previously described, which required two dough balls, I used only one dough ball this time and rolled it out to the desired size before docking and prebaking. The prebake was done on a preheated pizza stone that I had placed at the middle oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at around 500-550° F.

To make the dough itself, this time I used the alternative KitchenAid dough making method described in http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.0.html. I started by sifting the flour (KASL high-gluten) and combining the flour, baking soda and IDY in a bowl which was then set aside as I dissolved the salt in the water, which was cold right out of the refrigerator (around 43° F). I then gradually added the flour mix to the salt/water mix and combined these ingredients using the whisk (whip) attachment at speed 1. While the dough was still in a batter-like state, I added the oil and, when the oil was incorporated into the dough, I switched to the flat beater attachment. I continued to add the flour mixture to the bowl, at speed 2, until the dough had taken up the bulk of the flour mixture. I found it necessary to stop the mixer toward the end of the flat beater’s work to help incorporate the remaining flour mixture by hand. Because of the increased absorption of the water into the dough using this method, I also found it necessary to add about a half-teaspoon of water, which raised the effective hydration from 50% to about 51.3%. The dough was then kneaded at speed 2, using the C-hook this time, for about an additional 8 minutes. When done, I lightly oiled the dough ball and placed it into a covered container, which remained on my countertop at room temperature (around 79-80° F) for 23 hours. The finished dough temperature coming out of the mixer bowl was 78.7° F.

When time came to make the pizza, I had absolutely no problem in rolling out the dough to prepare it for docking. The dough spread out easily in all directions under the influence of the rolling pin, and exhibited no shrinkage or springback whatsoever. I would say that this skin was quite possibly the easiest skin I have ever made. When the skin reached 15”, I folded over the outer edge to form a small rim. I then placed the skin on my lightly floured wood peel and docked the skin. I docked the skin fairly aggressively because I did not want it to balloon up in the oven during the prebake such that I would have to pop bubbles and, in so doing, allow a lot of heat to escape from the oven. After lowering the oven temperature to 450° F, the docked skin was deposited onto the pizza stone and prebaked for about 3 minutes, or just until the crust had taken on a light brown color. The skin did not balloon up or form large bubbles in the oven.

After the prebake, the crust was then removed from the oven, sauced, cheesed, and topped (standard pepperoni) and returned to the stone in the oven, where it baked for about an additional 8-9 minutes, at 450° F, or until the crust color was a nice brown and the cheese (low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella) also started to turn light brown. I then turned off the oven and removed the pizza. After a few minutes, I returned the pizza back to the oven to continue to bake on the stone for about an additional 2 minutes in order to get even further crispness in the crust. This general technique was not a new one, having been mentioned before by member quidoPizza at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1359.msg12978.html#msg12978 (Reply 11), but I had completely forgotten about it until reminded by forum member November in a PM exchange in which we discussed cracker-type crusts. In my case, I did not wait 15 minutes before returning the pizza to the oven, and I did not leave the oven on the whole time as suggested by quidoPizza. I only wanted to dry the crust a bit more to enhance the crispiness. What surprised me was how much heat the crust could take without overbaking or burning.

The finished pizza turned out well, with good crust color and cracker-like texture. However, I felt that the last cracker crust pizza I made using the layering (laminated) approach was better. I think that what I liked so much about the last pizza was the flakiness of the crust in addition to the crackery texture. So, while using a prebaked crust was easier to accomplish (although longer to bake), I felt that it did not provide the exact crust characteristics that I achieved and liked so much from my last effort. Whether the flakiness is a characteristic of commercial cracker crust pizzas I have no idea. But I am personally willing to use the more tedious layering approach to get the favorable results from that approach.

The next time I make the Lehmann cracker crust, I plan to omit the baking soda, to see whether that makes a difference in any noticeable way. I will most likely use the layered approach.

The photos below show the latest pizza.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 05, 2007, 11:44:39 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline November

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2007, 01:11:43 PM »
Peter,

I know we had talked about a special application of fat (e.g. clarified butter, oil) and water between the layers, but if you ever return to trying a parbaked crust again, you might consider applying a very thin layer of clarified butter or oil to the top of the skin before parbaking.  Besides enhancing crispiness during baking, it also helps provide a partial barrier to moisture from the sauce and toppings.  You could also apply it as it has been discussed when baking a pizza without barpaking the crust, but part of the beauty behind using this approach with parbaking is that the fat will polymerize under high heat providing even more effectiveness.  I will be making this a part of my standard procedure for my thin and crispy style pizza.

In any case, I eagerly await your opinion on a thin crust without baking soda.

- red.november

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2007, 03:11:18 PM »
November,

Thank you for the suggestion.

I haven't given up on the notion of prebaking, and I would actually prefer that option if I can get the crust characteristics I am seeking. Prebaking is simply easier to do than the layering process, although the last dough handled so beautifully that maybe I can replicate the layering process again with greater ease. I also like the idea of sticking things between the two layers. And being able to use a pizza stone, which most members have, and a dough that can withstand 24 hours at room temperature at a time of year when room temperatures are rising, strike me as compelling features of the Lehmann cracker style dough formulation.

At some point I may even try using disks as an alternative to a pizza stone--as a way of being able to have cracker style pizzas in the summer when the brutal summer heat descends on Texas and dispels any notion of preheating a pizza stone for an hour or more.

Peter


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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2007, 03:24:09 PM »
At some point I may even try using disks as an alternative to a pizza stone--as a way of being able to have cracker style pizzas in the summer when the brutal summer heat descends on Texas and dispels any notion of preheating a pizza stone for an hour or more.

At some point this summer I was going to build a solar oven just for the purpose of partially preheating my pizza stone.  I often hear people complain about having to preheat a stone, especially during the summer (and I'm one of the complainants), so I thought why not just take advantage of the sun's energy during the summer season?  I was going to use a combination of mirrors for collecting and possibly a cheap Fresnel lens for magnification.  Just leave the stone in the solar oven all day and bake the pizza once the sun starts going down.

- red.november

EDIT: This isn't necessarily how I was going to build mine, but this is a good example of harnessing solar energy for preheating a pizza stone, or just plain cooking:

http://www.armory.com/~images/?s=solsticeCook2001
« Last Edit: June 05, 2007, 03:34:25 PM by November »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2007, 09:02:58 PM »
Today, I made another cracker style pizza based on the Lehmann cracker crust dough formulation. However, I made a few modifications to the basic formulation, and I used a perforated disk to bake the pizza. Originally, I had intended to bake the pizza on a preheated pizza stone but changed my mind at the last minute when I saw that it was around 95° F outside, which discouraged me from cranking up the oven. The disk I used is the new dark, anodized hearth bake disk that was designed by Lloyd Industries/pizzatools in collaboration with Tom Lehmann. The purpose of the new disk, which is now available at the Lloyd Industries website at http://www.lloydpans.com/productdisplay.aspx?catid=369, is to simulate a deck or hearth bake in a conveyor oven. I bought the disk primarily to experiment with in my standard home oven, especially at times like today where I did not wish to use a long oven/stone preheat. (In due course, I will experiment with the new disk to make the basic Lehmann NY style pizza to see if the disk will replicate the crust characteristics of the stone-baked Lehmann pizzas I have been making over the past few years.)

The first photo below shows the new disk. As noted, there are 31 holes in the disk (32 if one counts the smaller hole in the direct middle of the disk). The disk shown is 14” in diameter. The obvious benefit of using the disk for my purposes is that I only need to preheat the ambient air in my oven, which takes about 12 minutes to reach about 500° F. 

As for the dough formulation itself, this time I omitted the baking soda, mainly to see whether I could detect its presence in the finished crust, in terms of flavor, texture and color. Otherwise, the dough was prepared in the identical way as described in the opening post in this thread. The dough formulation I used, sans baking soda, is this one:

Flour (100%):
Water (50%):
IDY (0.50%):
Salt (1.5%):
Oil (5%):
Total (157%):
169.28 g  |  5.97 oz | 0.37 lbs
84.64 g  |  2.99 oz | 0.19 lbs
0.85 g | 0.03 oz | 0 lbs | 0.28 tsp | 0.09 tbsp
2.54 g | 0.09 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.45 tsp | 0.15 tbsp
8.46 g | 0.3 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.88 tsp | 0.63 tbsp
265.78 g | 9.37 oz | 0.59 lbs | TF = 0.0609

As noted above, the dough was prepared in the same manner as described in the opening post in this thread, but omitting the baking soda. The flour used was the King Arthur Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour, and the water temperature used was 51° F. As before, I found it necessary to stop the mixer a couple of times to help bring the dough ingredients together into a generally round ball by using hand kneading. Once that shape was achieved, the dough was kneaded at speed 2 for about 8 minutes. The dough, which had a finished dough temperature of 79° F, was then divided into two dough balls, lightly oiled, placed in covered containers, and allowed to ferment on my kitchen countertop at room temperature (a bit over 80° F) over the next 23 hours. 

In preparing the pizza today, I rolled the two dough balls out individually and layered them to form the “lamination” assembly I previously described in Reply 1. I placed that lamination on the disk, formed a small rim by pinching the dough together around the perimeter, and docked it. I then brushed the top surface of the lamination with oil, along the lines previously suggested by forum member November. In this instance, I used the Art Bell Pizza Punch, which is a new oil concoction that had arrived at my home about a day or two before the Lloyd hearth bake disks (14” and 16”) arrived. The Art Bell Pizza Punch is the subject of early discussion at this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5194.msg44052.html#msg44052. I plan to post on my early observations and experience with the Pizza Punch over the next day or so.

After dressing the dough lamination (in a basic pepperoni style), I baked the pizza (while on the new disk) on the middle oven rack position, at about 475° F, for about 8 minutes. I then slid the pizza off of the disk (which I removed from the oven) onto the middle oven rack, where it baked for about 4 more minutes.

The remaining photos show the finished pizza. Overall, I thought the pizza turned out quite well. The crust was crispy and crackery, but not quite as flaky as the one previously described in Reply 1. Whether the difference was as a result of omitting the baking soda or the use of the new Lloyd/pizzatools disk, or both, is hard to say. A more definitive answer will have to await a future effort in which I use the pizza stone method again. I did detect a difference in the crust flavor, texture and color, however. The crust had a flavor and texture that was more like a regular pizza crust, albeit crunchier, whereas a crust with baking soda has more of the taste of a soda cracker with a denser texture. The top crust color also appeared to be a bit lighter than a crust with baking soda. However, the overall differences were not so dramatic as to suggest using one formulation over the other. Most likely, personal preferences will dictate the final choice. But, either way, the new disk from Lloyd/pizzatools seems to be a useful way to make a cracker style crust pizza.

Peter

Offline November

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2007, 12:43:44 AM »
Peter,

That pizza looks pretty good.  I have a feeling you have several more iterations to go with all the different ways you could try making a thin and crispy crust.  As you know, I have a vested interest in ceramic coated metal alloys for replicating stone baking without the preheating, so I am very interested in knowing your opinion on the disk performance in a side-by-side comparison with a stone.  I have a friend that just retired a few weeks ago that I'm going teach how to make different kinds of dough, and I will probably focus on showing him how to make pizzas more than anything else.  This will be in great contrast to all the years he relied on restaurants and frozen food.

His level of health consciousness is far more esoteric than even mine.  One of the things he won't cook with is aluminum, no matter what.  It would be nice if the Hearth Bake Disk was available in steel.  It appears he's just about up a creek with his commercial options since he wants a high-quality, non-stick, non-Teflon, professional pizza disk.  Are you aware of a steel pan/disk coated with PSTK and with similar construction (perforation) to this Hearth Bake Disk existing anywhere?  I'm afraid I might end having to construct a pan for him, but as a one-off production, it would be expensive.

- red.november

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2007, 10:16:56 AM »
November,

It's funny that you should mention that I may have several other iterations up my sleeve. The other day I actually made a list of some of those possible iterations. It's the way I usually organize my pizza projects, and is a major part of my learning process. When it cools down in these parts (it's supposed to be around 100 degrees today), I will add your side-by-side test to my list.

As far as perforated disks are concerned, the two major producers appear to be Lloyd Industries and American Metalcraft. Those are the two companies that Tom Lehmann always seems to mention when asked about perforated disks. The disks can come in plain (uncoated) or coated (PSTK or equivalent), but in both cases the underlying metal is aluminum. I have not seen steel used as the base metal for perforated disks.

The "hearth bake" anodized perforated disk is unique to Lloyd Industries. I have been following its development ever since Tom Lehmann said that he was working with Lloyd Industries on the new disk. If you compare the new Lloyd hearth bake disk, say, the 14" disk, with the other 14" perforated disks available on the market, you will note that the holes are much larger, there are fewer of them, and the pattern is not symmetrical. The overall design appears to be crucial to the hearth bake results claimed by Lloyd Industries.

I might mention that Lloyd Industries is very receptive to inquiries from the trade, including requests for modifications to existing designs of pizza related hardware. It seems that whenever Tom Lehmann gets those kinds of requests he always refers them to John Crow at Lloyd and includes John's email address, which is johncrow@lloydpans.com. Apparently people in the trade regularly call John with their particular pizza hardware issues. You might consider getting in touch with John to see if he can provide any assistance in your case. He may already have addressed the version of perforated pan you are considering.

Getting back to my cracker crust pizzas, specifically the pepperoni versions I have been making and describing in this thread, one of the things I noticed is that if the bake times are long, say, above 8-10 minutes, it is possible for the pepperoni to lose its bright red color and turn somewhat pinkish. It's purely a visual thing, without apparent loss of flavor, but the esthetics of the pizza is also an important aspect of pizza making in my opinion. On the other hand, the cheeses I have been using (the Precious and Best Choice low-moisture part-skim mozzarella) have held up very well, particularly at the oven temperatures I have been using (under 500° F). That was also somewhat unexpected. I mention these points since it suggests that using shorter bake times is preferable to longer bake times, possibly even with other toppings, so long as the degree of desired crust crispiness is achieved. In my case, I was using the Hormel brand of pepperoni, which is the brand most commonly available to me where I live. The Hormel slices tend to be very thin, so I may have to look into stick pepperoni and cut thicker slices that might hold up better to a longer bake time.

Peter

Offline November

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2007, 10:43:39 AM »
Peter,

I will probably ask John whether there is a version constructed of steel in the pipeline.  If not, they may already realize that there isn't enough demand to support its development.  I already warned my friend that professional disks/pans of this type are usually made of aluminum for its higher value of thermal conductivity.  I realized last night after I posted that my metal supplier offers perforated A36 steel in several different perforation configurations, and it's relatively inexpensive (approximately $11 per square foot).  I had considered making the perforations myself.  I can then sinter on a thin layer of ceramic for better surface properties.  The ceramic sintering is what will double the cost.  It's a shame Teflon has a negative reputation, because I could have coated it with Teflon as a less expensive alternative.

Have you considered using two pepperoni slices stuck together instead of thicker pepperoni?  I also currently use Hormel pepperoni, and I often find lots of irregularly cut slices that are either twice as thick or half as thick as the norm.  I just end up pressing two thin slices together so that they bake more evenly with the normal slices.

- red.november

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2007, 10:57:07 AM »
Have you considered using two pepperoni slices stuck together instead of thicker pepperoni?  I also currently use Hormel pepperoni, and I often find lots of irregularly cut slices that are either twice as thick or half as thick as the norm.  I just end up pressing two thin slices together so that they bake more evenly with the normal slices.

November,

Yes, I did think of that as a possible solution. I just wasn't sure whether the slices would separate and slide all over the place. I have noticed that your pepperoni slices don't seem to exhibit much slide. In my case, I tend to use fewer slices of pepperoni on my pies than others, which may allow the slices to slide more and end up in a nonsymmetrical pattern (even though they went on symmetrically), but do you have a particular method to keep your pepperoni slices anchored?

Peter

Offline November

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2007, 11:38:03 AM »
do you have a particular method to keep your pepperoni slices anchored?

Peter,

I can't say that my method is meant to specifically address anchoring/sliding, but I suppose that once a certain coverage is used, the toppings become more stable.  The two "ring" patterns I use for a 14" pizza are the following:

Pepperoni Only: 16, 12, 6, 1
Pepperoni w/ Other Toppings: 12, 6, 1

I use the subdivision technique taught at Little Caesars and probably most restaurants, where one starts at 12 o'clock, then 6, 9, 3, 11, 10, 8, 7, 5, 4, 2, 1 for the outer ring, and a similar approach to the inner rings.

The doubled up slices sometimes separate a little, but not by enough to make much of a difference.  Since they still stay stuck together during baking for the most part, the doubling of mass helps keep the pepperoni from drying out as quickly.

- red.november

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2007, 09:32:03 AM »
One of the pizza styles that I have been longing to try for some time using a natural starter/preferment has been the cracker style. When forum member mischeal posted on the same subject at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5594.msg47364.html#msg47364, I decided that when the weather cooled off a bit here in Texas I would attempt a cracker style pizza based on using a natural starter/preferment. That time arrived a couple of days ago.

For the dough formulation, I started with the basic Lehmann cracker-dough recipe recited earlier in this thread. What I was primarily after was a dough that would not be so stiff or dry that it would be difficult to roll out using an ordinary rolling pin. Toward that end, I modified the Lehmann recipe in several respects. First, I omitted the baking soda, as I had done before in versions of that recipe. Second, I lowered the hydration from 50% to 47%, in the hopes that that would yield a more crackery crust. Third, I replaced the IDY with a natural preferment. In this case, the preferment was based on the Camaldoli starter. The preferment was about 58% water and I used it at a rate of 25% of the weight of the formula flour. The 25% figure was selected because of the low hydration of the recipe (which suggested a low fermentation rate) and the fact that my Camaldoli starter had been in the refrigerator for some time and was not as active as I might have liked it. Were it more active, I would have used less.

To ready the starter when it came out of the refrigerator, I discarded about half of it and fed the rest with flour and water and allowed it to sit at room temperature (around 82 degrees F) for about 6 hours. I then measured out the required amount (in this case it was a bit less than 1/4 cup) and used it in the recipe. Finally, I used 1% sugar in the dough. The sugar was used as insurance since I wasn’t sure how long I would allow the dough to ferment at room temperature. As it turned out, I used a 24-hour room temperature fermentation. For that fermentation time, I could have omitted the sugar. The sugar itself was raw cane sugar, which I selected because of its higher mineral content, which is good for the yeast. 

To calculate the ingredient quantities, I used the preferment dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/preferment_calculator.html. The final dough formulation was as follows:

Total Formula:
Flour (100%):
Water (47%):
Salt (1.5%):
Oil (5%):
Sugar (1%):
Total (154.5%):

Preferment:
Flour:
Water:
Total:

Final Dough:
Flour:
Water:
Salt:
Preferment:
Oil:
Sugar:
Total:

186.36 g  |  6.57 oz | 0.41 lbs
87.59 g  |  3.09 oz | 0.19 lbs
2.8 g | 0.1 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.5 tsp | 0.17 tbsp
9.32 g | 0.33 oz | 0.02 lbs | 2.07 tsp | 0.69 tbsp
1.86 g | 0.07 oz | 0 lbs | 0.47 tsp | 0.16 tbsp
287.92 g | 10.16 oz | 0.63 lbs | TF = 0.065975
 
 
19.57 g | 0.69 oz | 0.04 lbs
27.02 g | 0.95 oz | 0.06 lbs
46.59 g | 1.64 oz | 0.1 lbs

 
166.79 g | 5.88 oz | 0.37 lbs
60.57 g | 2.14 oz | 0.13 lbs
2.8 g | 0.1 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.5 tsp | 0.17 tbsp
46.59 g | 1.64 oz | 0.1 lbs
9.32 g | 0.33 oz | 0.02 lbs | 2.07 tsp | 0.69 tbsp
1.86 g | 0.07 oz | 0 lbs | 0.47 tsp | 0.16 tbsp
287.92 g | 10.16 oz | 0.63 lbs  | TF = 0.065975
Note: The flour used was King Arthur Sir Lancelot (KASL) flour (sifted); the water temperature was 66 degrees F; the thickness factor used was 0.065; the preferment amount was 25% of the weight of flour, with a water content of 58%; the bowl residue compensation factor was 1.5%; the finished dough weight was 10 ounces, and the finished dough temperature was 82 degrees F.

I prepared the dough using the same method as described earlier in this thread, using the whisk/paddle/C-hook combination, but with the following changes: the sugar was dissolved in the water along with the salt, and the preferment was added to the water mixture after the sugar and salt had been completely dissolved. As before, I had to use some hand kneading to get the dough to come together into a unitary dough ball. It was a bit ragged, but it held together reasonably well. The finished dough was placed in a lightweight, thin-walled, transparent snap-fit takeout container (see the first photo below) and put on my kitchen counter. The dough was left there for 24 hours, at a night/day room temperature that averaged around 78 degrees F. For a good part of the 24-hour period, the dough rose little. It just slumped into a disk shape. But gradually, the dough filled the container at the sides and then started to rise. I estimate that the dough rose by a total of about 30 percent.

After the 24-hour period had expired, I rolled the dough out on a lightly floured work surface using a standard rolling pin. The dough handled extremely easily and offered no resistance to the rolling process. The skin itself was like a thin sheet of rubber, and could be lifted and stretched by hand with no difficulty. I rolled and stretched the dough out to 15” initially and then folded the outer edge inwardly and firmly crimped it using my fingers to form a rim, resulting in a final skin size of 14”. (I'm sure I could have rolled and stretched the dough out even further but my stone wouldn't be able to handle the larger size.) I then docked the skin using a dough docker (to see what a dough docker looks like, go to the second photo in Reply 1 in this thread), and transferred the docked skin onto a very lightly floured wooden peel.

Since I decided that I would pre-bake the skin, I brushed some light olive oil over the docked skin, as was suggested earlier in this thread by November. Doing this would serve to increase the crispiness of the finished crust and provide a partial barrier to the pizza sauce and mitigate its migration into the dough. The docked skin was baked on a pizza stone that had been placed on the lowest oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at about 500-550 degrees F. Once the skin was deposited on the pizza stone, I turned the oven temperature down to 450 degrees F. Bubbles formed in the skin and, after about 4-5 minutes, or when the skin had turned a light brown, I removed the skin from the oven and dressed it in preparation for finishing the baking of the pizza. For sauce, I used only 6-in-1 tomatoes (about 7 ounces) right out of the can and some dried Sicilian oregano and some dried Italian oregano from my garden. For cheese, I used shredded Grande whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces). I used that cheese because it holds up well to long oven bake times without breaking down and releasing fats onto the pizza. Hormel pepperoni slices finished the dressing of the pizza.

Once the pizza was dressed, it was redeposited onto the pizza stone and allowed to bake (at 450 degrees F) until the cheeses had started to melt and to turn light brown and the crust was darkening. That took about 7-8 minutes. I then moved the pizza from the stone to the top oven rack position, where it remained for another 2 minutes or so to get increased top crust browning.

The pizza itself was delicious. The crust was crispy from edge to center, with a crunchy rim, and the slices remained straight and rigid when held by the rim. Where the bubbles in the skin formed, they charred and contributed to a nice flavor of char on the bottom of the crust (see the third photo below). I had all I could do to keep myself from devouring the entire pizza at one sitting.

The second and third photos below show the finished pizza. It’s a really easy pizza to make. The dough coming out of the mixer bowl can simply be left at room temperature for around 24 hours (and, I suspect, even longer), and the dough, even at 47% hydration, is so easy to work with and shape and stretch out to the desired size. Quite possibly, the preferment alters the dough structure to help make this possible. And the use of the natural preferment enhances the finished crust flavor. I suspect that if one uses less preferment than I used (maybe around 10% of the weight of flour) and allows for a longer room temperature fermentation (maybe close to 40 hours), the crust flavors should be even better. That may be my next experiment with this style.

Peter
« Last Edit: October 14, 2007, 09:02:59 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline November

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2007, 10:09:49 AM »
Peter,

That's a pretty good looking pizza.  Of course wolfing it down in one sitting could be justified by the fact that it's a thin crust pizza, right?

- red.november

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2007, 11:43:35 AM »
November,

Thanks.

I read somewhere that a dough in the bowl loses about 2% of its weight, due to losses of gas and moisture in the dough and normal bowl losses. In my case, I used a bowl residue factor of 1.5%, which got me a final dough weight of 10 ounces, which is the number I wanted. I also read that a typical loaf of bread loses about 11% of its weight during proofing and baking. Using that latter number (even though it may be different for a pizza skin that is slowly baked) and adding together the weights of the sauce, cheese, oil for coating the dough, and the pepperoni slices, and allowing for some loss of liquid in the sauce, cheese and pepperoni slices, I estimated that the total weight of the pizza was around 20 ounces. Next time, I should actually weight the entire pizza. Fortunately, I only eat until I am satisfied, even though I was tempted this time. Beyond the point where I am sated, I find that the pizza slices just don't seem to taste as good to me. I'd rather save the leftover pizza for another time when I will like it as well as the original slices. 

Peter