I would try the following dough formulation for a 12” HRI clone (or any other desired size):
100%, All-purpose flour
19%, Corn oil
Nominal thickness factor = 0.132529
Bowl residue compensation = 1.5% (for doughs prepared in a food processor or stand mixer; for hand kneading, use 3%)
The above formulation is intentionally generic in nature so as to allow one to make any desired size of pizza and in any desired number. Additional details for the dough and cheese and toppings, including possible brands and sources, can be found at Reply 562 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6112.msg245142.html#msg245142
Whether one decides to use a food processor or stand mixer to make the dough, I would use the same sequencing of ingredients, as follows: Flour, water (pulsed or kneaded until the water is absorbed), corn oil (pulsed or kneaded until absorbed), IDY, and salt (followed by kneading until a smooth, slightly tacky dough ball is formed). If a food processor is used, one should use water that is cooler than would be used with a stand mixer because the food processor has a considerably higher friction factor than a stand mixer. For a room temperature of about 65-70 degrees F, I suggest a water temperature of about 58-60 degrees F. For a home stand mixer, I suggest a water temperature of about 65 degrees F. Ideally, we want to end up with a finished dough temperature of around 75-80 degrees F. However, being off by a few degrees on either side should not be fatal.
When the dough has been made, it desirably should be cohesive, smooth, and a bit tacky, but not wet. If it more than tacky, a bit more flour can be added to mitigate the wetness. If the ingredients are properly measured out, it is unlikely that the dough will need more water or oil because the dough appears to be too dry.
For a 12” pizza, the final dough ball weight should be 15 ounces, or about 425 grams. It is not entirely clear whether HRI delivers dough in bulk to its pizzerias or as individual dough balls, but if multiple pizzas are to be made, I suggest dividing the bulk dough into individual pieces, scaling them to 15 ounces, and rounding them. They should then be coated with a thin film of corn oil, and placed in individual storage containers. Preferably, the storage containers are round transparent or translucent plastic containers, or of glass, and at least 3-4" in height and about 6" in diameter, and with lids. The containers should promptly go into the refrigerator without any proofing of the dough at room temperature. I suggest noting the finished dough temperature, the temperature of the refrigerator compartment where the dough balls are to be stored, and the time when the dough balls are placed into the refrigerator. This information might be needed or useful at a later time if adjustments have to be made.
Because of the high yeast content, one can expect the dough to rise even in the refrigerator as it is being cooled. But the dough balls won’t be blowing off the lids or becoming like balloons. The dough will be well behaved and well mannered. In terms of the expansion that might be expected, the dough balls might increase in volume modestly within several hours (I use poppy seeds to monitor this activity) and then stabilize. After about a day of cold fermentation, the dough ball might have about doubled in volume, but it could be more or less depending on the temperatures involved and their stability during the period of fermentation. For example, if the refrigerator temperature is at or above, say, 45 degrees F, the dough might double much sooner. The timing may be also delayed if there were several dough balls being cooled at the same time. It should also be pointed out that the late addition of the IDY in the dough making process, as HRI does in its frozen pizza operations, can materially delay the fermentation process. But, throughout the fermentation process, the dough balls should be firm to the touch and remain so for pretty much the entire cold fermentation period but softening slightly toward the end of fermentation. I would perhaps shoot for two days of cold fermentation, to prevent the dough from fermenting too much, but one might try for three days to see if that is an improvement or not. It is also quite likely that one will see white spots all over the dough balls shortly after being refrigerated and as the fermentation proceeds but these spots can diminish with time. This is quite normal.
Once the time arrives to use a dough ball to form a skin to make a pizza, the dough ball should be brought out to room temperature for about 1-2 hours (depending on the prevailing room temperature). The dough ball can be left in its container or it can be removed from its container and covered with a sheet of plastic film to keep the outer surface from drying out. After the rest period, the dough ball can be flattened and dusted with bench flour in preparation for forming the skin.
Forming the skin is quite easy. It can be done completely by hand but to get a uniform thickness and to simulate the pressing action of a dough press, I suggest using a rolling pin. For a 12” pizza, I would roll the skin out to about 12 ½ inches. In a home setting, this might be done on a dusted wooden peel. At this point, I suggest that the skin be docked right on the wooden peel, so that the pins of the docker do not push the dough into the perforations of the carrier, although it is also possible to do the docking once the skin has been placed on its carrier if one does so lightly. However, the carrier cannot be a pizza screen. For that, the skin should be docked before placing on the screen. According to HRI, the docking “prevents steam from causing the dough to blow up during baking.”
Once the skin has been rolled out to 12 ½ inches and placed on its carrier, an upstanding fluted rim can be formed at the outer edges of the skin. The fluting step should be very easy to do. Also, because the dough will have plastic qualities, the rim can also be reformed, if necessary, at any time before the skin is pre-baked as discussed below. According to HRI, the fluted rim should be about 3/8-inch high (although I prefer around 1/2 inch or even a bit taller). The diameter of a 12" skin after fluting should be a bit more than 11 1/2 inches. That is the diameter that I noted from the frozen HRI pizzas that I baked.
For a carrier for the HRI skin, I suggest a dark anodized perforated disk since that is what HRI uses in its conveyors in its pizzerias. The disk size isn’t particularly material although I suspect that using a disk of the same size as the end pizza is the best thermodynamic match for HRI's conveyors and bake temperatures and times. In lieu of a disk, it is also possible to use a dark anodized perforated cutter pan. HRI says that the perforations "allow moisture and heat to penetrate the crust".
In its pizzerias, HRI subjects the skins to some heat, through the action of the hot dough press. That heat forms an exoskeleton but it does not cook or bake the skins. In fact, the skins can proof after coming out of the hot dough press. HRI uses a 15-20 minute proof in its pizzerias. The skins can then be dressed and baked on their carriers. In a home setting, absent a dough press, I suggest that the skin be placed on a middle oven rack position and pre-baked, much as is done with the frozen HRI pizzas. I would pre-bake the docked skin on its carrier at about 400 degrees F until the skin sets and becomes very lightly browned. This time might be several minutes but that time can vary depending on the type of oven and its performance characteristics. For example, in my experiments, I used a dough that had warmed up at room temperature before forming the skin and a pre-bake time of about three minutes at a temperature of around 490 degrees F. That was for a basic pepperoni pizza baked in my standard home electric oven, using the middle oven rack position. For a pepperoni and sausage pizza, or for a pizza with a lot of toppings in general, I would suggest a somewhat longer pre-bake time to minimize the occurrence of a gum line. Using a pre-bake temperature of 400 degrees F as suggested above will extend the pre-bake time by maybe another minute or two. That is an estimate because I have not yet tried a 400 degrees F pre-bake temperature.
Once the skin has been pre-baked, it can be dressed for the final bake.
As for the types of HRI pizzas, here are my recommendations for ingredients and toppings, including quantities.For a 12” cheese pizza:
Mozzarella cheese: 10 ounces, diced (preferably a low moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese with 6 grams of Total Fat and 3.5 grams of Sat Fat per ounce)
Pizza sauce: 4 ounces, by weight (more sauce can be used if desired and can be embellished with herbs and spices as desired)For a 12” pepperoni pizza:
The quantities are the same as for a 12” cheese pizza but with 14 slices of pepperoni added to the pizza in a 3-4-4-3 pattern. Typically, 14 slices of pepperoni weigh just under an ounce although that will vary a bit from one brand to another. (Note: The 14 pepperoni slices is what is used for HRI's 12" frozen pepperoni pizzas. I do not know how many slices HRI uses in its pizzerias for its 12" freshly baked pepperoni pizzas.)For a 12” sausage pizza:
Mozzarella cheese: 7 ounces, diced (the same type as mentioned above)
Fresh raw sausage: 7 ounces
Pizza sauce: 4 ounces, by weight (with the same qualifications noted above)For a 12” sausage and pepperoni pizza:
The quantities are the same as for a 12” sausage pizza but with 14 slices of pepperoni, applied as noted above.
For some other toppings possibilities, see the HRI menu at its Chicago location: http://www.homeruninnpizza.com/website/documents/menus/HRI%20TakeOutMenu_2012_CHIlowres.pdf
. Other toppings possibilities as are used by HRI for its frozen Classic pizzas can be seen at http://www.homeruninnpizza.com/frozen-pizza
but attention has to be paid to the total weights of the pizzas. Also, for its frozen Margherita and Sausage/Margherita pizzas, I believe that HRI may be using one of the tomato strip products from Stanislaus, with finely minced fresh basil leaves mixed in. In its pizzerias, there is a Tomato Basil specialty pizza with fresh basil and plum tomatoes but it is not called a Margherita pizza.
After a given pizza has been dressed as desired, the final bake can proceed. I suggest using a bake temperature of around 450 degrees F. According to what Norma was told by HRI, this is the bake temperature that HRI uses in its conveyor ovens in its pizzerias (although an article I read said 425 degrees F). The bake time is believed to be about 12-14 minutes. In a standard home oven, the bake temperature and time might need adjustment. I suggest using the finished crust color and the condition and color of the cheese to determine when to pull the pizza from the oven. I would be looking for a tan crust color such as I have seen in photos of HRI pizzas. Since a typical home oven does not bake like a conveyor oven, it may be necessary to raise the pizza in the oven toward the end of the bake to a higher oven rack position to get adequate top heat.
Although cited before, for a helpful video that shows the HRI pizzeria operations, see
See, also, 3:04+ in the video at
At this point, I do not wish to burden anyone by asking them for all kinds of weights and other measurements as they attempt to make an HRI clone. My printouts are almost always covered with notes on both sides of the page. I do this to help me remember everything I did, and especially if I got such good results that I want to repeat the exercise to see if I get the same results again. I also use the data to perform all kinds of calculations that help me to zero in on final solutions. For me, the data is mandatory.
EDIT (4/2/13): For an update to this post, see Reply 578 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6112.msg246267.html#msg246267