You can get a pretty good idea as to how HRI makes its frozen pizzas from the article that I previously referenced at http://digital.bnpmedia.com/publication/?i=37488&p=14
. In that article, it says that the oil is added to the flour, and then the yeast and salt. The article is silent as to when the water is added. However, Tom Lehmann, who once did some consulting work for HRI for its frozen pizza operation (I remember seeing his name in one of the early articles on HRI's frozen pizza operation), says that the conventional method is to add the oil right after the water has been added to the mixer bowl so that you don't end up with clumps of oiled flour. It sounds like high-speed mixers are used to make the HRI kind of dough so in a home setting it might make sense to use a food processor or maybe a stand mixer with the whisk attachment used intially to blend the oil and flour together more uniformly.
The duration of fermentation of the dough can also affect the texture of the finished crust. I have read that HRI has used 12-18 hours of cold fermentation (see the article at Reply 188 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6112.msg190395.html#msg190395
) and up to 2 to 3 days (see the YouTube video at
). Getting a good rise in the dough isn't as important as with other doughs since the HRI dough balls are formed into skins using hot presses that impart tremendous force on the dough balls and skins that forces out a lot of the gases while partially heating the skin. Also, the large amount of oil in the dough, even with a lot of yeast, will keep the dough from going wild and rising excessively during the period of cold fermentation. In a home setting, it should be OK to use a rolling pin to form the skins, although it should also be possible to form the skins by hand.
The other thing that is important is to get a rim that is upstanding. To a degree, that is a function of the combination of the amounts of oil and water in the dough. They have to be just right to permit the rim to stand upright for pretty much the full time--during forming, dressing and baking. A good view of such a rim can be seen in Reply 195 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6112.msg235707.html#msg235707
. That photo is for a store-made HRI pizza, using a perforated dark anodized disk, which is something that is also a good option for a home oven. You won't get a rim like shown in Reply 195 in a frozen HRI pizza. The rim of a frozen HRI pizza will be rounded, and made without human intervention. Once a proper upstanding rim is made, there is a better likelihood that the texture of the finished crust will be what you want in an HRI type of crust. If HRI's Nutrition Facts are correct, I think there is less oil that what the members have been using in this thread, so that can make it a bit easier to form a rim that properly stands upright. Getting the hydration right is a challenge because there is water loss during baking, and it is very difficult to apportion the total loss among the dough, the sauce and the cheese (and sausage, if used, and pepperoni to a much smaller degree if it is used).
I will be interested in getting any feedback from CDNpielover should he decide to try out some of the HRI frozen pizzas. One of the things he is likely to note is that the 12" frozen HRI pizzas are closer to 11 1/2" than 12". I also believe that the HRI frozen cheese pizzas and the pepperoni cheeses have the same amount of cheese but that the frozen HRI sausage pizza has less cheese than the other pizzas because the weight of the sausage is considerably more than the weight of pepperoni slices. So, to offset the added weight of the sausage, I believe they cut back on the amount of cheese for the sausage pizza. It is also possible that the weights of the HRI frozen pizzas are more than the boxes indicate. It is common practice in the frozen pizza business to make the frozen pizzas weigh more than stated on the packaging materials. The last thing they want is to have consumers protesting that they got pizzas that weighed less than was stated.
I can understand that people would like to be able to make a credible HRI clone at home. As one can see in a typical HRI menu, http://www.homeruninnpizza.com/website/documents/menus/HRI%20TakeOutMenu_2012_lowres.pdf
, a 12" cheese pizza costs $14.80, and goes to $16.50 if a topping, like pepperoni or sausage, for example, is added. I don't know if a store-bought HRI pizza weighs more that one of their frozen counterparts, but I estimated that the costs (at my level) for a basic HRI clone cheese pizza is around $4. HRI uses a "natural" pepperoni that will be hard to find at retail so finding such a pepperoni is likely to increase the at-home cost of an HRI clone pepperoni pizza.