Recently, at the "Dough Enhancers" thread, I offered to assist fellow member Lars by developing a formulation for a NY style pizza dough, based on Tom Lehmann's recipe, to allow Lars to make a 9-inch "mini" NY style pizza in his toaster oven, pending resolution of problems that he has been having with his conventional oven. Lars had concluded that the maximum size pizza that he felt could be made in his toaster oven was 9 inches, and that the maximum temperature he can coax out of his toaster oven is around 450 degrees F. Lars had also informed us that he had the following specific ingredients available to him: bread flour, vital wheat gluten (VWG), and instant dry yeast (IDY). Based on these inputs, I calculated that Lars would need a dough ball weight of about 6.35 oz. (3.14 x 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.10 = 6.35 oz.) For the formulation, I decided to use a hydration percentage of about 63%, with the objective of achieving a chewy yet open and airy crust. The resulting formulation for Lars' toaster oven "mini" NY style pizza came out as follows:
Bread flour (100%), 3.85 oz. (about 7/8 c.)--I used the KA brand
Water (63%), 2.45 oz. (a bit over 1/3 c.)
Salt (1.75%), 0.07 oz. (about 1/3 t.)
Oil (1%), 0.04 oz. (about 1/4 t.)--I used light olive oil
IDY (0.25%, 0.10 oz. (a bit less than 1/8 t.)
VWG (about 1 t.)--I used the Arrowhead brand but Red's should work about the same
(Note: for those who choose to use high-gluten flour, such as KASL, the VWG should be omitted)
Since I had decided to make two mini pizzas, one on the 9 1/4" x 10 1/4" x 1/2" pizza stone that came with my toaster oven (DeLonghi Alfredo plus model), and one on a 9-in pizza screen, I doubled the above recipe amounts. Because of the small amounts of dough involved, I decided to use only hand kneading. I combined the bread flour, IDY, salt and VWG in a bowl, gradually added the water, and started to mix, initially with a wooden spoon and then by hand. As I have done with essentially all of the Lehmann NY style doughs I have made, I temperature adjusted the water to achieve a finished dough temperature of around 80 degrees F. In this case, the water temperature I calculated was around 100 degrees F. Absent an instant read thermometer, all that one needs to know is that 100-degree F water is warm to the touch. (It can be achieved by heating the roughly 1/3 c. of water in the microwave oven in a 1-cup size Pyrex glass measuring cup for about 12 seconds). After the dough came together in the bowl, I divided the dough ball in half and kneaded each dough ball separately until it was smooth and elastic, yet still a bit tacky, about 6-7 minutes. The finished dough temperature for both dough balls was 80 degrees F.
I then oiled the dough balls lightly with light olive oil, put them into plastic bags, and then into the refrigerator compartment of my refrigerator where they stayed for the next 24 hours. When I took them out of the refrigerator to make the pizzas, I let them set at room temperature for a little over an hour. As the dough was warming up, I preheated the pizza stone for my toaster oven at 450 degrees F (I relied on the knob temperature setting) for about 1 hour. Since I don't have a "mini" peel, I dressed the first pizza on a floured plastic vegetable prep sheet, which served as my "peel" to get the dressed pizza onto the pizza stone. I baked the pizza (pepperoni with 6-in-1 tomatoes, a 50/50 blend of shredded mozzarella/provolone cheeses, and a bit of fresh basil) for about 11 minutes, or until the rim of the crust turned golden brown and the cheeses were melted, but not burning.
The second pizza was dressed directly on the 9-inch pizza screen, using the same toppings and amounts as the first pizza. That pizza was baked at the 450 degree F toaster oven setting for about 11 minutes also, or until the crust had browned and the cheeses were melted.
The photo below is for the first pizza baked on the pizza stone, and the following photos on succeeding postings are for a slice of the pizza baked on the stone, followed by a photo of the second pizza baked on the screen and a slice of that pizza.
As between the two pizzas, I felt that the pizza baked on the small pizza stone was the better pizza. The stone appeared to do a better job of distributing the toaster oven heat to the pizza. The screen was closer to the heating element and required closer monitoring to be sure that the bottom didn't darken excessively before the toppings were done. As a result, I would recommend to Lars, as well as anyone else attempting a NY style pizza in a toaster oven, to use a pizza stone if possible, or, alternatively, look into getting a couple of unglazed quarry stones and fashioning a baking surface equivalent to a pizza stone (some cutting of the stones may well be necessary). Otherwise, a 9-inch pizza screen can be used.
Readers will note that the pepperoni used on the pizzas exhibits the "cup and char" characteristic which is favored by some pizza makers. For the two pizzas, I used a pepperoni that is made by Ceriello Fine Foods. I had picked up a stick at the specialty foods section of Grand Central Station while I was in NYC over the Thanksgiving holiday. The amount of fat rendered by the pepperoni was actually greater than shown in the photos. I removed some of it before taking the photos. But, for those who like the idea of fat running down their elbows while eating the pizza, then the best course is to leave the fat alone and go at it. Both pizzas were very good, with a nice, flavorful, chewy, open and airy crust. I wouldn't have suspected that the mini pizzas were any different than their 16-in brethren but for the smaller pizza slices and a restrained "droop".
So, Lars, this one's for you