Having recently experimented with stand mixer and food processor versions of Tom L.'s NY style pizza dough recipe, I thought it might be useful to try to develop a workable version of Tom's recipe for automatic bread making machines--for those who may have a bread maker but not a stand mixer or food processor. As regular readers of this forum may recall, I had previously attempted a bread machine version of a NY style dough (using Tom L.'s recipe) and reported on the results, along with a photo, at the Quality NY toppings thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,524.msg4871.html#msg4871
(Reply 57). My complaints at the time were that the dough rose too much, both in the machine and later in the refrigerator (because of excessive heat buildup in the dough), and that the finished crust was more breadlike than I liked. This time around, I tried to take steps to address some of these concerns.
Before discussing the most recent bread machine experiment and the results, I think it might be useful to make some basic observations about the use of bread making machines to make pizza dough.
First and foremost, the principal purpose of a bread making machine is to make bread dough, not pizza dough. What this means is that the pizza dough made in a bread machine will have more of the characteristics of a bread dough than a pizza dough and these characteristics will be reflected in the finished product. Tom L. frequently says that making bread dough is different from making pizza dough and I believe he is correct, and even more so when the pizza dough is made in a bread machine.
Second, to be effective at making a pizza dough, the bread machine requires a minimum size dough ball. Otherwise, the dough can become impaled on one or the other of the two dough blades and just rotate without kneading, or bounce between the two dough blades, again without being kneaded or sufficiently kneaded. So, dough ball size is important to be sure that the dough ball you produce gets sufficient kneading.
Third, it is difficult, without altering the dough making processes of the bread machine or using the programming cycle, to control the temperature of the finished dough. I have a Zojirushi machine, and if it is like other bread machines, it has a fixed-duration preheat cycle, during which it tries to stabilize the dough ingredients at a specified temperature (around 82 degrees F for my machine), and a fixed-duration knead cycle that follows the preheat cycle. Trying to control the finished dough temperature under those constraints, using the standard method of controlling the water temperature, becomes a hit or miss proposition at best (although I do have some suggestions for dealing with this concern, as will be noted below).
Fourth, the knead cycle of bread machines can be quite long, more than what one would normally use for making a pizza dough. In my machine, it is about 13-14 minutes and can create a significant buildup of heat in the dough. In fact, when I calculated the temperature of water I would need to achieve a finished dough temperature of around 80-85 degrees F (the range called for in Tom L.'s recipe), I estimated that the amount of heat that my bread machine would produce due to friction would be about 15 degrees F--somewhere between a stand mixer and a food processor. As I later discovered after the dough was finished kneading, it was more like 40 degrees F. Where I miscalculated was underestimating the amount of heat that a 13-14 minute knead (continuous) can produce.
In making the dough for the most recent experiment, I decided to use enough flour and other ingredients to produce a dough ball size of about 22 ounces which, for my bread machine, seems to be about the minimum that it can handle and produce a decent dough ball. For the experiment, I also decided to use a thickness factor of 0.105, which places the dough thickness between thin and medium. I selected a hydration percentage of 60% and used instant dry yeast (IDY) at 0.25%. Following the calculation techniques reported in earlier postings in this thread, I came up with the following formulation:
Flour, high-gluten (Giusto), 13.55 oz. (about 3 3/8 c.)
Water (60% hydration), 8.15 oz. (about 1 c.)
Salt, 1.21 t. (slightly less than 1 1/4 t.)
Oil (olive, light), 0.82 t. (slightly more than 3/4 t.)
IDY yeast (at 0.25%), 0.32 t. (approx. 1/3 t.)
To process the dough, using the basic dough cycle of my Zo machine, I put the ingredients into the bread pan in the manner specified by the instruction booklet, that is, water (at 63 degrees F, based on my initial calculation), flour, salt, oil, and yeast. During the approximately 20-minute preheat cycle, the ingredients were warmed, achieving a temperature, including the water, of about 80 degrees F. At the end of the preheat cycle, the knead cycle commenced, and continued for the next 13-14 minutes. The knead cycle produced a dough ball that was flawless. The dough ball was smooth and shiny without any tears on the outer surface, and there wasn't a speck of flour left in the baking pan. My only disappointment--a technical one only--was that the finished dough temperature was 88 degrees F. Working backward from this figure, I estimated that the proper frictional temperature factor I should have used for the experiment was around 40 degrees F, not the 15 degrees F figure I initially used. Using the 40 degrees F friction factor would have called for a water temperature of about 39 degrees F.
Once the dough ball had been completely kneaded, I oiled it lightly, placed it in a loosely covered metal tin, and placed it in the refrigerator. After an hour, I covered the tin tightly with the lid and returned the tin to the refrigerator. Exactly 24 hours after the dough had gone into the refrigerator, I brought the dough to room temperature where it stayed for 1 hour, at which time I shaped the dough into a 16-inch round on a 16-inch pizza screen. The dough was extensible and not overly elastic and handled very well. After dressing the pizza (with a basic marinara sauce, sliced mozzarella and provolone cheeses, and sliced sausage), the pizza was baked on the screen for about 5 minutes and for a final 2 minutes on a pizza stone that had been preheated at 500-550 degrees F for 1 hour. The finished product is shown in the photo below, and in a slice form in the next posting.
As I expected, the crust of the finished pizza had a breadlike character--reflecting the long knead cycle, which tends to produce a more dense crumb and a less airy texture. The crust was properly browned and had a leathery character typical of NY style crusts, although the bottom crust was a bit thicker than usual (because of the higher thickness factor selected). I had no problem with the taste of the pizza, although I believe that using a stand mixer or food processor does an overall better job than a bread machine, especially in being able to more carefully monitor and control the processing and the characteristics of the finished product.
Nonetheless, I believe that the pizza dough made with a bread machine can be improved further by taking the following possible steps. First, I would use ice cold water. Although all of the water could be put in the bread pan all at once, I might be inclined to put a part of the water in the bread pan at the beginning (to minimize the heating effects of the preheating cycle) and the rest of it as soon as the knead cycle begins. Second, I would shorten the length of the dough kneading cycle, by watching the dough as it is being kneaded and then removing it as soon as it is smooth and shiny. The combination of both of these steps should reduce the buildup of heat in the finished dough. As another possible step, I would consider using a higher hydration percentage, to achieve a more open and airy crumb, being careful to monitor the dough kneading process to be sure that the bread machine can handle the higher hydration without producing a gummy mess. At some point, I plan to test out these possible changes to see if the anticipated improvements are actually achievable.