In an earlier post in this thread, I indicated to Giovanni that I had some dough in process using no added sugar and very little yeast (instant dry yeast). The recipe I followed was Tom Lehmann's New York style dough recipe but modified to include a minuscule amount of IDY, about 1/16 teaspoon. I wanted to test the lower limit of yeast in Tom L.'s recipe to see if I could produce an edible pizza using such a small amount of yeast and whether the pizza would have a crust exhibiting any appreciable degree of puffiness. I also wanted to test the thesis that yeast and, secondarily, sugar, are the primary drivers of the degree of dough expansion.
The recipe I ended up with included a half pound of high-gluten flour (about 3 5/8 c., KA Sir Lancelot), 0.32 lbs. water (about 3/4 c., with 64% hydration), about 1/16 t. IDY, 3/4 t. salt and 1/2 t. olive oil (light)--and no added sugar. The processing of the dough was identical to that explained in a post earlier today under the thread http://www.pizzamaking.com/yabbse/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=389;start=120
, except that the dough required only 5-6 minutes of final kneading before putting it into the refrigerator. Its weight was 13.20 ounces, which I calculated would allow me to make a roughly 14-inch pizza, the largest size pizza my peel and pizza stone can accommodate.
The dough stayed in the refrigerator for exactly 24 hours, following which I brought it out to room temperature for 2 hours before working it into a dough round. There had been hardly any expansion of the dough the whole time it was in the refrigerator, and it didn't expand a great deal more in the two-hour period before shaping. In shaping the dough, I found it to be extremely extensible and with little remaining elasticity, making it difficult to toss with any degree of confidence. While part of this condition may have been attributable to the high hydration percent (64%), I believe that it was also because of an improper balance between the amounts of yeast and sugar (natural) which, I have observed in the past, can lead to an overly extensible, inelastic and somewhat slack dough. Quite often, the result is a light colored crust because of sugar depletion, that is, there isn't enough sugar left in the dough to caramelize and promote browning beyond that provided by the Maillard reactions (between protein and reducing sugars).
The photo below (and in the following post) confirms my suspicions. The crust was not puffy but it exhibited the classical NY style characteristics of chewiness and leatheriness. The reader will also note that the pizza crust lacks a deep brown color (a sign of sugar depletion). The pizza tasted perfectly fine (it was dressed identically to the earlier pizza), but did not rise to the level of the other pizza with its considerably greater amount of yeast (1 1/2 t. IDY). Since the temperatures of both pizza doughs were controlled to be just about the same throughout the entire process, and since neither dough included any added sugar, I think it is reasonably safe to say that the differentiating factor was the amount of yeast. What I think I proved is that you can make a pizza using very little yeast. It just won't be the best one, at least for a NY style.