Author Topic: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza  (Read 481578 times)

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Offline abc

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #460 on: July 31, 2006, 11:10:59 AM »
abc,

If I understood your question correctly, I take it that you are referring to the resting of the dough on the bench in preparation for dressing and baking the pizza.

It's hard to generalize on the matter of bubbling in the crust since there can be many causes beyond whether the dough was or was not subjected to a period of rest before using. As I noted recently on another thread, the main causes for bubbling are the following: 1) Underfermentation or overfermentation of the dough (with underfermentation being the more common); 2) Using dough that is too cold at the time of shaping; 3) Using too little or too much yeast (with too much being more common): 4) Using incorrect or insufficient docking; and 5) Using an oven temperature that is too high, or some other oven-related problem. Of course, any combination of these will also produce the tendency to bubbling.

Peter

oh no pete... i started referring to the autolyse as a 'rest' a few posts back, and i meant the autolyse during the dough prep, not during the dough maturation process.


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #461 on: July 31, 2006, 11:20:03 AM »
abc,

Thanks for clarifying what you meant. When you didn't use the term "autolyse", I thought you shifted gears and wanted to get more bubbles in the crust and were joining other members of the forum, such as bolabola and Randy, who invite big bubbles. Now that I re-read your post, I can see that it is consistent with your earlier posts. Since Evelyne was more perceptive than I and answered your questions, especially with respect to high hydration and underkneading, I don't know that I can add anything further. At the least, you got a mini-tutorial on bubbles ;D. Sometime, just for fun, I might try to make a Lehmann dough that is intentionally full of big bubbles.

Peter

Offline abc

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #462 on: July 31, 2006, 11:22:24 AM »
ABC

Do you mean air pockets as in open hole cell structure of the crumb or bubbles that occur in the crust that occur during baking? It seems that Peter was talking about bubbling.

If you are talking about the cell structure of the crumb, the open hole structure is achieved with a higher hydration--at least 60%. Some formulas achieve that same structure with a bit less moisture (58%) but they generally contain a preferment of some kind. If you are looking to utilize high hydration, it will be important to use a flour that has high extensibility and gassing properties. You will also have to use high baking temperatures to get the oven spring necessary for those results.



Hi Evelyn... I meant the former... that is, not the bubbles that occur on the crust during baking but the inner network of holes (which some people dont like but i like.) i think Pete was saying his experience with autolyse yields a pizza dough w/ the fine, small, uniform look of say whitebread instead of a rustic ciabatta...

as pete said:  "I personally am not as big an advocate or fan as others of using autolyse with the basic Lehmann dough although I have liked it when using a natural preferment. To me, the crumb is too soft and bread-like. But I seem to be in the minority on this matter."

in my recent batch just 3 days ago, i didn't find a whitebread like uniform hole structure...  and to me, it made some logical sense in that if the autolyse allows you to mix less, and mixing too much takes you away from rustic, and into uniform...  why wouldn't a autolysed dough have more varied holes when baked.


You mentioned requiring high oven temps to get the necessary oven spring... are you talking high temps as in 550degrees, (perhaps the 'key' temp for this forum), vs. supposedly how a good many street pizza shops have their ovens at below that temp, perhaps 450degrees, (yet are able to get airy crusts with a lot of spring?)

Offline abc

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #463 on: July 31, 2006, 11:33:24 AM »
ABC

The autolyse method, as I have adapted to pizza making is really about achieving proper hydration of the flour and creating a dough that will mix out quicker and with much less agitation. These techniques I learned from bread baking, but when applied to pizza, different results are desired. When I teach this method to proffesional pizza makers, I use Tom's definition for the process: Biochemical Gluten Development or BGD as it applies to pizza. The initial BGD rest occurs at the start of the mixing process and since it tends to keep the dough temperature down. I highly recommend trying to keep the dough temperatures as cool as possible for doughs that are to go under long slow fermentation. Minimizing the mixing also helps to promote the open hole cell structure as well. If you are using miniscule amounts of yeast, I would skip the bench rest, unless you plan on using the dough within 24-36 hours--or sooner.


i have a question... you brought a bread baking technique into pizza dough making... and you teach this method to professional pizza makers... does this mean, and in your observation of NY pizza places... there wasn't a history of employing this technique with pizza dough?  Granted, as Pete suggested a few days ago, when making a large commerical batch, a unintentional rest period might kick in naturally as part of the batch process.

I think in another post, you mentioned years ago you learned the dough craft from lombardi and totonnos, the dying craft...  did they not use a autolyse method?  Though their pizzas are not typical gas oven temp pizzas (at least Lombardis)... perhaps whether they did or not is not as significant to me since i'm making gas oven (home) pizzas... but i'm curious from a curiosity standpoint.

Offline SLICEofSLOMON

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #464 on: July 31, 2006, 04:16:27 PM »
Hi ABC,

When I learned how to make dough from Lombardi and Pero, and later from Pete Castelloti at Johns, and from what I have observed from pizza makers at the time--no one was observing A: giving the dough a rest before it was to be finished kneading, and B: no one was using any kind of starter or preferment. Jerry Pero prepared his dough early in the morning and left it out all day to rise. If you went there on a Saturday or Sunday when they served pizza all day, the pizzas prepared later in the day were the best.  Lombardi (the grandson) on the otherhand had adapted the formula to include refrigeration, and room temperature bulk first rise. The other thing that differentiated Pero's dough was that he employed a lower gluten flour 12-12.50 and everybody else was using high gluten 13+.

The thing about the original Lombardi formula as followed by Jerry Pero is that is came from a period that predated refrigeration--lots of pizza makers still follow the same technique, just as they have always done. However, even for the sake of authenticity, in a commercial situation, the technique is flawed because the pizzas produced earlier in the day are not consistent with the results of longer fermentation and they are not as light. But, 30 years ago, I would never quarrel with the master, all I knew was that I wanted to harness the peak perfection that the evening pizzas attained.


Lombardi was using the method his Grandfather, the original Gennaro had adapted to a mixer and to refrigeration in the 50's, however, this adaptation also featured a very high gluten flour, which became the favorite of pizza makers in NYC. Pero continued to use the lower protein flour of the original formula. So I combined the best of both methods: I used the lower protein flour, gave it a long first bulk raise at room temp, refrigerated it in bulk another 12 hours then scaled and formed, and the dough was ready to use 8-12 hours later. (24-36 hours in all before using) This gave me the best qualities of the original formula but now with consistent commercial results. The flour played an huge role in the success of the recipe. The average pizza maker in NYC favors the ultra high protein flour because it has great oven spring, and that's what they've traditionally used. But high protein flour produces a crust that is really, chewy and not tender. As it cools, it becomes hard. Pero's pizza was thin, crisp, pleasantly chewy and light becuase of the slightly lower protein content of the flour. (PS ask any one at Totonnos about this and they will NEVER give away any details about their formula--they even repackage their flour into plain brown bags so the brand won't be given away!!) Fortunately for me, when I got to Jerry, he wasn't famous and once I penetrated that gruff exterior, he was more than willing to share his knowledge.

So, that was my adaptation of the Original Lombardi formula, which was to basically stick to the ingredients but to apply the long, slow fermentation to get the same results on a consistent commercial level. Basically, I had to bridge the old with the new. Now, let's talk about the process I adapted--no one else was doing it--not the old timers and certainly not the average pizza guy. The flavor, texture, color and consistency I achieved was through the direct mix method and long fermentation. The few old timers that were left, made their dough in the morning and used it 6-8 hours later. What developed out of that, was that pizza makers turned to dough enhancers and conditioners to hasten their fresh dough process to 3-4 hours because they did not want to wait. The few old timers that utilized a combination of bench or bulk rise and refrigerated rise rarely held the dough for more 12 hours. They knew the dough could last longer in the coole but not too long because they were pushing too much yeast in their formula to have it last much longer than 24 hours.

In the late 70's, over night fermentation was really not widely practised. In the mid-eithties, when I first started teaching and giving seminars for Pizza Expo and writing for Pizza Today, when I would talk about the principles and benefits of long slow fermentation, I was widely thought of as an eccentric oddity. Pizza makers could not wrap themselves around the idea of waiting--they wanted to make dough "fresh" every day. I told them they were making fresh dough every day, it just wouldn't be used until 36 hours later. They mostly thought it was way too much trouble and not worth the effort.

In the eighties, when the "gourmet" pizza revolution was taking place, everyone was into topping centric pizza, the crust was superfluous. To the average pizza guy, flour was what they purchased from their distributor under a private lable at the cheapest price. The problem with that is that distributors slap their lables on whatever bulk flour they purchase, so the pizza makers formulas were always out of whack, to "fix" their problems, the pizza makers turned to conditioners and additives to make it work. It was (and still is) is vicious circle. That is when I started to apply bread baking techniques to pizza. Back then, the term artisan bread had not yet caught on nationally but I was spending a lot of time in Berkeley with friends since the mid 70's and was influenced by what Steve Sullivan at Acme Bread was doing. I was also a fan of Raymond Calvel's teachings (by the way Peter, he did pass away last summer some time). I recognized the similarities of the characteristics of rustic breads and to the Lombardi formula--which had been influenced by the baking methodology of that period. I began to handle the dough differently, I started giving it a rest in a similar fashion  as the autolyse method and I started to mix my dough on low speed only and for a very short time. This is what I put together from what I knew about artisan bread baking. Was I scientific about it, did I compare vital statistics--formula percentages--no. At that point, no one was using baker's percent for pizza, it was all based on volumetric--touch and feel. Sure, the chains had formulas, but the average pizza maker mostly made dough by the seat of their pants. The old masters didn't weigh out anything, they took whatever volume container: can or banged up pitcher, poured the water in by the number, dumped a sack of flour into the mixer, a scoop of salt and a piece of baker's yeast. (sugar and oil, if used, were also administered hapazardly). Because of this lack of structure, the dough would vary widely. The masters, who knew their dough could cope, because their years of experience guided them when to add a little more or less of something. The new guys didn't have that kind of experience,nor were they willing to put the time or effort into learning about their doughs. I used to tell people in seminars, you must spend at least a full year of making the dough everyday, through all of the seasons, to really master it. Again, people thought I was nuts.

When I went to Italy to judge the World Pizza Championships in the early 90's, I had the opportunity to go to Italian pizza school in Carole near Venice. I also spent several weeks travelling around to visit with many pizza makers. While 99% of the guys I worked with, made the dough in the morning and used it just a few hours later, their techniques were intrigingly different. That is where I actually saw pizza makers using a riposo technique (which I had come to on my own through my bread making experience). They also used spiral mixers which gently agited the dough. I had never seen these mixers in a pizzeria back in the states. I had been practising the same kind of thing on my own--in a kind of pizza making vacuum.

When I hooked up with Tom and gave him my formula for traditional New York pizza, it was not what I was personally producing. I knew that my approach was certainly too complicated for the average American pizza maker, so I gave him the formula that would produce  the best deck oven type pizza--like a DeMarco type, only I called for an overnight refrigerated fermentation, so it was basically a 24 hour dough. I know that DeMarco uses a same day dough, but the formula I gave Tom would produce similar results but more consistently. What I came away with from AIB was the scientific knowledge behind the techniques--after that, there was no stopping me!

When I was hanging out with Ron Wirtz at AIB, we would spend hours talking about applying artisan bread techniques to pizza and that is when I became interested in preferments. I did a lot of experimenting on my own with these techniques and taught chefs and some interested pizza makers how to make pizza utilizing these methods. Unfortunately, there just wasn't a whole lot of interest in this kind of pizza making.  Historically, there has been a real prejudice against pizza as a culinary art form, but fortunately, that is rapidly changing--finally! I Pizza Today was not interested in letting me write about these techniques because they thought that only chefs would be interested and that it was way above the average pizza maker's head. What it boiled down to was that it didn't represent a big enough "market". So I kept at it, experimenting, refining and talking with anyone who would call, write or e[mail me about it. People would seek me out if they really wanted to know about the old methods--the traditional methods--long before "artisan" pizza came on the scene.

When I worked for Grande Cheese, I got to travel all over the USA and visited thousands of pizza shops. That is where I got first hand experience of what the average independent pizza maker was doing on a national level. Grande employed me to help their endusers to improve their product through ingredients and technique. I did that for 15 years and the experience was priceless. I've always been objective about what makes great pizza. The type of rareified pizza that I did personally and what a small circle of old timers and passionate pizzaiolos thought of as the "art" of pizza was not what the average Joe was doing in their shop. Does that mean, they can't make great pizza? Hey is that like comparing the Mona Lisa to Warhol's Cambell's soup cans--they are both great art, but on different levels and they appeal to different tastes. The same with great pizza. My goal has been to has been to make the average pizza maker more aware of the quality of their ingredients and to learn the techniques that will help them to make pure pizza without chemical crutches. Now that the number of pizza "eccentrics" seems to be on the rise, I will be more public about championing the artisan cause and with PMQ behind me, I will have the platform to get out there.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #465 on: August 01, 2006, 08:09:45 PM »
Today, at Reply 7 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2462.msg28923.html#msg28923, I described my efforts to make an 11-in Lehmann pizza using a Deni 2300 counter pizza oven. What I was hoping for was a simple way of making a pizza during the summer without heating up my oven, especially when using a pizza stone requiring a long preheat. While the initial results look promising, it may take a while to determine whether it will be possible to make a Lehmann pie worthy of posting on this thread.

Peter

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #466 on: August 02, 2006, 01:59:51 PM »
Can someone in control of the "recipe" section update the Lehman NY style recipe?

The description mentions adding sugar, yet there is no listing of percentages in the ingredients section. Also, there are tons of great variations that people have done firsthand in this thread. It would be really nice to have an "adaptation" section of the recipe for ways to make the dough More/less "airy", dense, "hefty", etc. Or variations by kneading technique. It was a pain having to extract the firsthand data from other members in a 24 page thread.

I just want to see that the hard work of many members is preserved appropriately for the newbies who come to this site. Thanks for the great recipe!

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #467 on: August 02, 2006, 02:51:19 PM »
DNA Dan,

Since Tom Lehmann originally posted his NY style dough recipe at the PMQ Recipe Bank, several people have pointed out to him (at the PMQ Think Tank) that sugar is mentioned but not included in the dough formulation. Usually, Tom would clarify the matter by explaining when sugar might be used, but the formulation itself was not corrected. The simple explanation on sugar in a Lehmann dough is to use it when a dough is to be held for more than a few days, or when a pizza screen might be used in lieu of baking directly on a hearth-like stone surface. Tom otherwise discourages the use of sugar (or eggs or milk-based products) when a dough is to be baked directly on a stone surface because of the likelihood of excessive or premature browning of the bottom of the crust. In a typical home oven setting, using 1-2% sugar by weight of flour should be a safe amount to start with, and increase or decrease it with actual experience.

As a new member, you may not be aware of the fact that I created a "roadmap" to all of the Lehmann dough variations that I have been personally involved with. I did this to help people to quickly locate a particular Lehmann dough formulation or dough protocol that might work best for them without having to scan the entire thread. I still post regularly in the Lehmann thread, despite its length, because I would rather keep everything together as much as I can rather than being scattered all over the forum. This is my standard operating procedure on other matters on which I post. In the case of the Lehmann thread, I use the roadmap to hold things together from an organizational and search perspective. FYI, the Lehmann Roadmap is at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1453.msg13193.html#msg13193.

What I have found to be especially helpful to locate posts and threads on the forum is the Advanced search feature. If you haven't seen or tried it, you can click on the Search button on the top of any page, and then click on the Advanced search link. In a forum such as ours where posts are created by its members, it's inevitable that as the number of posts grow it becomes more challenging to find things. That's why I like the Advanced search feature. For a discussion on how to make the most effective use of the Advanced search feature, you may want to take a look at this thread/post: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3101.msg26282.html#msg26282.

Peter

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #468 on: August 03, 2006, 04:02:53 PM »
Thanks for not flaming me for my newbie comments.  >:D

You're the man! There is organization in the pizza madness afterall! Thanks! :chef:

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #469 on: August 03, 2006, 04:44:55 PM »
DNA Dan,

Life is too short to spend it flaming people :).

I still have some more Lehmann experiments in me, believe it or not. So I hope I don't have to create a roadmap to the "Roadmap" ;D.

Peter



Offline abc

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #470 on: August 06, 2006, 10:43:47 AM »
Pete, do you have a formulation for a 12" lehmann pizza?

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #471 on: August 06, 2006, 11:02:46 AM »
abc,

Yes, I do. If you go to this thread, http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1453.msg13193.html#msg13193, you will find several dough formulations for the 12-inch size. All you have to do is click on the Reply/Page number or the link after an entry to go to the actual page and post. If you can't find a 12-inch formulation you like, tell me what you want and I should be able to develop one for you.

Peter

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #472 on: August 07, 2006, 09:49:13 AM »
Yesterday, I made my second Lehmann NY style pizza using my new Deni 2300 countertop pizza oven. As I discovered the last time, perhaps the most significant limitation of the Deni unit is that it does not produce the same measure of oven spring as a conventional home oven. The reason for this is that an uncooked pizza on a cold metal plate doesn't get that burst of heat that allows the crust to swell up, especially at the rim, as the yeast gives up its life (once the crust temperature gets above about 140 degrees F). Pretty much the same thing will happen in a conventional home oven when a solid pan with an unbaked pizza in it is placed cold in a hot oven. Before the pizza can start to bake in a meaningful way, the pan has to get really hot. And by the time that happens, it is usually too late to get an optimum oven spring, even if you did everything else exactly right to try to get a good oven spring. That's one of the reasons why preheated pizza stones/tiles are so great.

For the latest Deni pizza, I tried to apply as many principles of pizza making that I could think of to try to get a more pronounced oven spring, along with a better crumb with a more airy character. I used more yeast (IDY), I was careful as not to overknead the dough during mixing (I used only the pulse feature of my food processor), and I even decided to use an autolyse. Once the dough was shaped into a skin (11 inches), I docked it, lightly oiled it, and placed it (on the metal pizza plate) in the Deni unit (in its "off" position) to proof for 40 minutes. After proofing, the skin was pre-baked top and bottom until it was a light brown, and then dressed and finished baking. The results are discussed and shown at Reply 8 at the Deni 2300 thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2462.msg29123.html#msg29123.

The results were a great deal better than my maiden effort at a Deni pizza. What was most significant to me as a learning experience is that the same pizza making principles that apply to a standard home oven will also work, in pretty much the same way, with a countertop oven such as the Deni pizza oven. One of the reasons I bought the Deni unit in the first place, apart from wanting to make pizzas without using my regular oven during the oppressive summer heat, was because I wanted to see if that was in fact true. In some respects, the Deni oven is easier to control than a home oven because of the capability to turn one or both of the heating coils on or off at will.

I suspect we don't have many Deni 2300 owners on the forum but I'd be happy to post the dough formulation for the Lehmann 11-inch dough for those who may be interested. In the meantime, I plan to try a few more things on my next Lehmann dough using the Deni unit to see if I can improve the results even further.

Peter

Offline Y-TOWN

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #473 on: August 07, 2006, 07:03:58 PM »
 I've got a Deni 2300 still in the box - I've haven't used it yet - it is going to be for winter use

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #474 on: August 10, 2006, 04:21:29 PM »
SLICEofSLOMON

Thank you for sharing your background. It hits home in so many respects. I think we forget sometimes how human some of the legends really were... a lesson that I've learned from the study of BBQ. In the end, consistency has a 2 edge sword, especially in a commercial environment where one's income is based on the result. When you have a commercial winner, innovation is often devoted to consistency; otherwise, deviation can be a bad formula. Just like the cosmos though, it's often the purest or hobbyist that points out something new.

Your comments regarding fresh dough reminded me of a situation I observed the other day when I saw a woman checking for the freshest dates of Il Fornaio's dough for her pizza here in the SF bay area. I asked her a simple question to bring my study of artisan dough to light "do you look for the freshest red wine, or the freshest Parmesan cheese?"

Few, and I mean very few people would ever put dough fermentation at the same level of appreciation of wine making. But the truth is, sour dough is no accident. And like wine or cheese, it can only be attained with time and depending on the sourness to be attained, temperature. Nothing can be more blah sometimes than a fresh low salt cow's milk mozzarella when compared to an aged cheese. And dough is no different.

German bakers, for example, are known to use exact temperatures to incorporate an exact amount of lactic vs. acedic acid into the dough. Representatives from Il Fornaio, Artisan Bakers, and other members of the US baking team may mix day-old cold dough into a new batch of dough to ensure some acidity in their non-sourdough breads. These same bakers, including one of my favorities that you mention, ACME, often work with 75% - 80% hydration levels and 11.5% - 12.7% protein levels of flour to attain their old-world style breads.

Since higher protein flours can definitely result in stiffer doughs, and I don't always want quite the lightness of a low protein flour, I leverage a bit of fat to lubricate a 12.7% protein flour. When oils make their way around protein, water is unable to seek in, and the end result is fewer gluten strands... resulting in a softer dough. Since sugar absorbs water, the same end effect can occur; but with other impact. Like I said, none of this is an accident. And this chemisty represents what I refer to as "the rules"; and once learned, you can adapt any dough to your exact liking of crust.

I like your comparison of Campbell's soup to a great artist. There are certainly huge differences in the pizza world when it comes to taste buds. Even today, this can be influenced by the regions where people grow up. Fortunately, people move around more today than ever before. But you still see people complaining when they can't find their Nathan's dog in Chicago, regional chinese food in the bay area, or find shrimp on their CA pizza. My philosophy is simple... When in Rome, eat like the Roman's do... And learn.











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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #475 on: August 11, 2006, 09:56:49 AM »
giotto,

It's always a pleasure to have you back at the forum.

When I read your comments and those of Evelyne as well, it strikes me that the Lehmann NY style dough formulation is in harmony with the dough formulations and techniques used by the old "masters". As with the masters' dough formulations, I think the Lehmann dough formulation is simplicity itself. It uses only flour, water, yeast, salt and oil. The yeast is almost negligible, at 0.25% for IDY, and the oil is also used in very modest amounts as well, at 1%. Sugar is optional with the Lehmann dough formulation, but for those instances where it might be used, the amount is typically only 1-2%. I think this combination of ingredients, and especially the small amount of yeast, makes the dough formulation a good candidate for a long, cold fermentation. And, as a result, the dough fits nicely with a commercial environment. If the Lehmann dough strayed from the original dough formulations of the masters, it didn't stray much or that far. And, no doubt, Evelyne's influence on Tom Lehmann was a good part of the reason.

I recently received a copy of Evelyn's book The Pizza Book (which I bought used at amazon.com) and from reading the section of the book on NY style doughs, I can see that Evelyne has stayed true to the ways of the masters, even after all these years since the book was originally published in 1984.  Not only that, if you look at the pizza section of the menu at her restaurant's website at http://www.nizzalabella.com/dinnermenu.html, she pays great homage to those masters, even though they have long since left the pizza scene. No doubt, she is frequently asked: Who are these Lombardi and Pero guys?

BTW, giotto, I read somewhere that Evelyne once worked for Andy Warhol. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at that time 8).

Peter

Offline giotto

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #476 on: August 12, 2006, 03:38:39 AM »
Pete-zza:

In past years, we worked non-stop in experimentation with a list of relentless testers because we didn't need to stop after hitting a winner. Your desire to experiment with guys like me and so many others have involved personal interviews and experiences with places like Bianco's, A16, and Da Michele, followed by re-engineering of Patsy's, A16, and so many others. Heck, some of the points that Tony G provided to me regarding world pizza competition were even reiterated. Needless to say, I'm not at all surprised that the comments herein mirror a recipe that is already under the Lehman index.

Despite the use of only a few ingredients in pizza dough, we've learned that results can vary greatly based on flour manufacturer and protein levels, wild yeast vs. commercial yeast, delayed and bacterial fermentation techniques, water temperatures and kneading techniques, handling of dough, use of thin screens vs. stones vs. tiles, oven techniques and temperatures, etc. If reviewers were to read back to our earlier NY technique threads, they would see a progression of so many uncovered secrets. The NY Techniques session alone (now over a year old) covered an immense amount of territory and a key set of discoveries.

I can recall when you called Bianco's and were surprised at the degree of insight that was exposed, including their use of Giusto flour in a mix. Man, did I jump on that one. I was surprised to find out that lower protein flours were used by a few top pizzerias, while many others employed higher protein flours. But as with Caputo flour, I learned that flour can't guarantee an exceptional pizza any more than an NBA basketball can guarantee one to play like a pro.

Remember those white pizza doughs that came out of our ovens when working with Caputo flour? Other alternatives to sugar were sought out (malted barley, milk sugar/lactose, etc.) to create the browning. Out of this, we learned that the amount of sugar that enzymes can extract from starches can differ from one flour to another... We started to look for additional specs in flour (ash ratings, etc.). But those types of specs are hard to find... To this day, I vary things like fermentation and oven techniques and no-sugar vs. some sugar according to the flour that I'm using.

I still recall when you suggested that it was almost impossible to calculate amounts of dry yeast that pros use on a per pizza basis. We discovered that certain pro doughs just didn't expand in the refrigerator. And when we considered the negative impact that yeast can have on dough, we played with techniques to retard or reduce yeast activity at the early stages (cold water, refrigeration, low amounts of yeast, etc)... All of which I use today.

As far as oil, it sort of became a bad thing in light of Neapolitan type pizzas... But when higher flour protein levels are employed, some like myself still find a need to tame the stuff (make it less stiff). And like Reinhart once said, we're not policed, so it's okay to stray.

The Lehman recipes have helped epitomize so much of what's been written, and it's popularity and the need for a centralized set of recipes shows that you've done an exceptional job in providing people with what they've asked for... a single place for top recipes.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2006, 04:02:29 AM by giotto »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #477 on: August 12, 2006, 12:52:10 PM »
giotto,

When Steve originally asked for a volunteer to try to adapt the commercial Lehmann NY dough formulation to a home setting, I raised my hand because I had already played around with the formulation and I figured that, with only four or five ingredients, what would be the big deal? I would make the dough and pizza, write it up, and move on. What I failed to take into account were many of the variables you mentioned. For example, I discovered that many members did not have stand mixers. They had food processors, bread machines, or just their hands. Or they didn't have access to high-gluten flours. Or their pizza stones were too small to make a 16-inch pizza. Or they had no stones at all and were using pizza screens or pans instead. Or they didn't have scales to weigh the flour and water, or if they were using scales, they preferred metric over U.S standard.

I took each of these "impediments" as a personal challenge and, one by one, crossed them off of the list as I found what appeared to be acceptable solutions. And when autolyse and preferments became hot items, and when people became interested in short-term (2-3 hours) doughs and even take-and-bake pizzas, it was natural to incorporate these ideas into the Lehmann formulation. Matters got to the point where I had to design an Excel spreadsheet, which I had never done before, to be able to handle all the numbers. I am sure that Excel experts would tell me that my spreadsheet is a real kluge--but it works.

At the end of the day, the objective was to take away any excuse or reason for not trying out the Lehmann formulation. In this vein, I remember one amusing case in which a member had only a toaster oven to use because his regular oven was out of order. After getting the inside dimensions for that toaster oven, I came up with a formulation for that application. Thanks to Tom Lehmann's writings, along the way I learned how to use baker's percents to design and scale pizzas to any desired size. The education I got from making so many different versions of the Lehmann dough was enormous and irreplaceable, just as was my experience in making all those Caputo-based pizzas that you and I and others made at the A16 thread.

I suppose that all of this is for the good. I know from posters on the forum and from personal messages I receive that the Lehmann dough formulation is being used all around the world, including a commercial operation in China. As users pass on the formulation to their children and grandchildren, maybe the Lehmann formulation will be viewed someday just as those of the masters that Evelyne talked about. With the pervasiveness of the Internet in our lives and the way it multiplies everything exponentially, there is perhaps no reason why that can't happen.

Peter

« Last Edit: August 12, 2006, 12:55:38 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline giotto

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #478 on: August 12, 2006, 01:46:12 PM »
Pete-zza:

Cal Tech proved that a butterfly in San Francisco impacts the weather half way around the world.  And a secret that is dropped to only a dozen or so people at odd spots around the US has been proven to get the word out over time.

And as George Bailey in "It's a wonderful life" illustrated, a single person's interactions with others will have a huge impact universally. Therefore, I have no question that all the GOLD in all the Pizza Making sessions is making its way around the globe.

Offline abc

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #479 on: August 15, 2006, 06:59:17 PM »
giotto,


I suppose that all of this is for the good. I know from posters on the forum and from personal messages I receive that the Lehmann dough formulation is being used all around the world, including a commercial operation in China. As users pass on the formulation to their children and grandchildren, maybe the Lehmann formulation will be viewed someday just as those of the masters that Evelyne talked about. With the pervasiveness of the Internet in our lives and the way it multiplies everything exponentially, there is perhaps no reason why that can't happen.

Peter

a commerical operation?  like a chain store?