My name is Vince and I'm going to be leaving my family's pizzeria to start my own in a neighboring town and have a few predicaments on what I will do with dough. I sent this same message to Tom Lehmann for his advice, but I'd like to hear what you guys have to say as well. I know it's kind of a lot to take in but any suggestions are appreciated. I also know it's probably hard to get a really good feel for the dough I'm describing without baker's percentages but please bear with me!
"So at my family's place - we make a type of cracker-crust (which is well received in the community). I know you advise against working out of the bulk mass - but we cut off the appropriate dough amount, run it through a two-pass sheeter, trim and dock over a screen, and then top it for the oven. The result is a somewhat dense, firm crust with a nice crispy bottom. When you pick the piece of pizza up it stays night and horizontal to the ground.
For my upcoming pizzeria - there is no dough sheeter on-site unfortunately. If need-be I could always purchase one but I'm trying to avoid that. I would prefer using your method of scaling and balling after mixing for a more consistent product.The characteristics I'm trying to achieve in the crust would be similar to my family's cracker crust method, but a little bit more of a raised crust and slightly less dense.
Recently I've tried using the dough recipe we use for our homemade white Italian buns. The recipe is nearly identical to our cracker-crust dough, but a little bit more hydrated, more yeast, and is much more malleable and easy to work with. I've prepped it the way you recommend and rolled it out by hand. In the deck oven (approx 525'F) - it looks amazing with a nice raised edge, perfect color and nice crisp when it's cut. BUT - about 2 min after cutting - the texture of the dough becomes the consistency of soggy cardboard. This is something that never happens with our sheeted and docked dough. It holds a nice crisp/firmness long after it's been removed from the oven.
I don't currently have the dough recipe in bakers %, but our normal dough is relatively tough and is nearly impossible to roll out by hand (without a rolling pin of course), and the bun dough is the exact recipe just with more water, and approx. double the yeast.
I'm not too sure what the culprit is for the cardboard-like characteristic of using the bun dough recipe for pizzas. Is it because it wasn't sheeted? Is it due to the dough being more hydrated? Should I try using some semolina flour? I will say that it was relatively easy to roll out by hand, and everything came out perfect with it besides that tough, soggy texture shortly after cooking. If you could give me any minor tips or tricks you'd recommend to combat this - I would greatly appreciate it!"