As noted in Reply 92 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6368.msg117665.html#msg117665
, I made an experimental V&N clone dough. I used the 14” dough formulation given at Reply 120 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6368.msg117150.html#msg117150
. I believe that is the same dough formulation that Loo used except that I used Stone Buhr flour, which is a flour sold mainly in the Northwest and the closest flour I had to the Ceresota/Hecker flour.
I conducted the experiment mainly to see if the dough ball size was correct using the abovereferenced dough formulation and also to see if the dough could withstand a 24-hour room temperature fermentation. I knew from my experimentation with long room temperature fermentations (e.g., 20-24 hours) that it would take very little yeast to get a dough to double and then be used. If only a single double were desired, then V&N would have only needed a teaspoon or two of IDY to accomplish that result, based on 600 ounces (37.5 pounds) of Ceresota flour. Clearly, from the V&N video, much more yeast than that is used, and it is intentional that the dough sustain several rises, with many punch downs in between. I did not see anything in the V&N video to suggest that the dough is held in a cooler. As some evidence of this, at about 1:18 in the video, Guy Fieri asks Rosemary: So this will sit here
for how long?, to which Rosemary replied: Till tomorrow, and once it starts raising every 20 minutes to a half hour you can come in here
and punch it down (emphasis mine). I took “here” to mean in both cases the place where the tubs of dough are shown in the video.
For the small amount of dough involved, I decided to use my Cuisinart food process to make the experimental V&N clone dough. The sequencing of ingredients was the same as shown in the video. Both the water and milk (2% milkfat) were essentially at room temperature, as in the video. I finished making the dough at 2:00 PM on Thursday afternoon and placed it in a glass Pyrex bowl, which was then covered with plastic wrap. The bowl was selected to be large enough to allow the dough to about triple in volume if it came to that. Using the poppy seed trick, the dough doubled for the first time after 5 ¾ hours, at a room temperature of around 70 degrees F. Over time, the doubling times became shorter. But at all times the dough looked pretty much like the rising dough shown in the V&N video. This suggested to me that the total hydration of around 66% (the sum of the formula hydration and the water contribution of the milk) was perhaps quite accurate. At some point during the evening and before morning, the dough looked like it tripled in volume. I just punched it down a few more times until I was ready to test the dough for proper weight/size. I decided to use the dough after 24 hours, at around 2:00 PM on Friday. The dough at that point started to show some medium sized bubbles at the outer surface and had a more gassy appearance. Prior to that time, those bubbles were not there and the dough was not quite as gassy. This might suggest that one might want to use the dough sooner than 24 hours, maybe 18 hours.
At this juncture, I should add that I was fairly confident that the dough would hold up to a day of room temperature fermentation. Normally I would be concerned with the dough running out of sugar to feed the yeast and leave something for crust coloration purposes. However, I recalled pizzanapoletana (Marco) once telling me that doughs fermented at room temperature can tolerate multiple risings without running out of sugar. He pointed this out to me in the last sentence at Reply 11 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3057.msg25947/topicseen.html#msg25947
. As the dough kept rising and as I kept punching it down, I kept on thinking of what Marco told me. After each punch down, the dough came back to life.
The next step was to get a final dough ball of the proper weight. I added some bench flour to my shaggy dough ball, which looked like the dough in the video, to be able to work with it more easily and to shape it into a round ball without it sticking to everything. To get a measure of the desired dough ball size, I sat in front of the V&N video and kept cutting away the dough ball until it looked to be the same size as the dough ball that was in Guy Fieri’s hands in the video, at about 1:42-1:43. I don’t know if that dough ball was for a 12” pizza or a 14” pizza but I had speculated earlier that there was perhaps only one dough ball weight and that it was used to make both size pizzas (a skin for the 12” size would be trimmed from a 14” skin using a pizza cutter as shown in the video). The dough ball I ended up with was 248 grams (8.75 ounces). That translated into a thickness factor of 0.05683 (for a 14” skin). However, the final dough ball also included bench flour, so the starting thickness factor before the bench flour should be somewhat less. It may take a few tries to get an idea of a typical amount of bench flour to use, but I estimate that it might be about 12 percent of the starting formula flour. For now, I think I would use a nominal thickness factor of 0.053. I estimate that the final dough should have a hydration of around 60%, so the bench flour should be sufficient to lower the total effective hydration (around 66%) to around 60%. At that value, there should be lower risk of the dough skin sticking to the peel.
Before forming a skin out of the dough ball, I allowed the dough ball to rest at room temperature for about an hour. That was to allow the dough ball to recover from the handling and shaping/sizing during the addition of the bench flour. I had no problem rolling out the dough ball to 14”, using a rolling pin. After dressing the skin, the pizza was baked on a pizza stone that had been placed on the lowest oven rack position of my electric oven and preheated for about an hour at a temperature of around 500 degrees F. For a peel release agent, I used semolina flour based on what Loo mentioned. I did not dock the skin, for the reasons mentioned earlier.
The finished pizza looked pretty much like Norma’s pizza as baked in her home oven. The finished crust had a texture that I would describe as being between a tender cracker texture and a crispy one. From a taste standpoint, I thought that the dough/crust could have used more salt. I went back to the V&N video and rechecked the scene where the measuring cup of salt is shown, at about 0.48, and, while it is hard to make out the detail, it is possible that the measuring cup was filled above the one-cup marker line. Whether that is correct or not, I would be inclined to try 2% salt next time and adjust up or down from there based on personal taste.
As noted above, I used 2% milk. After doing some Google searches, I learned that Dean Foods, which is the largest milk producer in the country, is fairly big in the Chicago area. I found an image of their whole milk and 2% lowfat milk products in the Chicago market at http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/uploadedImages/News/Chicago/Images/Science/MILK_1.jpg
. As in the Dallas area, where Dean is headquartered, the whole milk product is color coded red and the 2% product is color coded blue. I can see a resemblance between the gallon of milk shown in the video (at 0:48) and the corresponding product shown in the Google image. So, for now, I think I would use 2% milk. Of course, any other milk, including whole milk as Norma has been using, should also work out fine.
In the next post, I will set forth an updated rendition of the original dough formulation for the 14” pizza size.