Author Topic: Pete's DiFara's Pizza  (Read 9585 times)

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Offline friz78

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Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« on: February 09, 2005, 06:16:44 PM »
Pete,
I would like to try your DiFara's pizza experiment except using the KA 00 clone instead of the Delverde.  Right now I only have KA so I need to try to use that up before getting the better stuff.  I have a couple questions before I proceed:

1.)  Do you think I should adjust the flour ratio in order to account for the low protein % in the KA 00 clone?  If so, do you think I should try a higher % of 00 flour or high gluten flour?

2.)  Did you use autolyse when making the first pizza (the one where you didn't refrigerate it overnight)?

3.)  Are there any "experimental" things you would be interested in me trying with this endeavor, as I would be happy to do something different to see if it has any affect.

Friz


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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2005, 08:46:42 PM »
Friz,

It looks like you are doing the same thing as I did when I couldn't make the KA 00 clone work in my recipes. I thought I might get some guidance from KA, to whom I sent an email complaining about the problems I was having, but all I got back as a response was that the KA 00 clone was low in protein. So, I started combining the KA flour with other flours until it was all gone.

In your experiment, I would use the KA 00 and KASL in a ratio, by weight, of roughly 50/50, as I did in my experiment and which I understand is the ratio used at Di Fara's. The KA 00 has a protein content of 8.5%. The Delverde 00 flour is around 10%. So, I might be inclined to increase the KASL a bit to compensate for the lower protein content of the KA 00. But I don't think it would be noticeable if you just stuck with the 50/50 ratio.

In my experiment, I did use an autolyse, primarily because I often do that with doughs I make with the 00 flour. Since it is highly unlikely that professional pizza operators use an autolyse period, I would dispense with it in your experiment.

Since it has been confirmed that Di Fara's does not refrigerate its dough, I wouldn't either. At this point, I can only guess whether Di Fara's starts making its dough at night or early in the morning. If the former, this would suggest using small amounts of yeast and, possibly, cool water, to make sure the dough lasts throughout the night and several hours thereafter without overfermenting. If the latter, this would suggest using greater amounts of yeast and, possibly, warm water. In either case, the 00/high-gluten combination would hold up pretty well over a period of many hours. I'm fairly confident that there is only one formulation, since it would seem to be impractical to do otherwise. I understand that the DeMarco sons make dough in the back pretty much throughout the day.

One area you might think about is the hydration percent. I have no idea what DeMarco uses. If I knew more about the finished crust and its look and texture I might be able to hazard a guess. Absent such information, I would be inclined to use something a bit below 60% (which means using a bit less water). That would be consistent with a fairly long fermentation period, if that is in fact what DeMarco actually uses.

The above said, I have never quite understood the notion of combining a relatively low protein, low gluten flour like the 00, which has its origins in Neapolitan style doughs, with a high-gluten flour, which is more aligned with NY style doughs. It seems to me that the result would be more like bread flour. But DeMarco has pulled off the combination, with great success. The Italian millers will often combine 00 flour with a higher-protein Manitoba flour, but the 00 flour predominates the blend. 

If you proceed with your experiment, it will be interesting to get your reactions and observations. If your tastes lean toward the Neapolitan style, I think you may like the results. If your tastes lean more toward the NY style, you may not. I happen to like both styles pretty much equally well, and have learned what to expect from each, so that I was neither surprised nor disappointed with the results.

Peter

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2005, 09:18:59 AM »
Guys, here is a visual of the goal:
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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2005, 09:59:08 AM »
pft,

That's a great set of photos. Thanks for posting them.

When I went back to look at my photos in relation to yours, it seems that the Di Fara pizza has a thinner crust than mine--or at least a smaller rim. I can't tell from your photos what the size of the pizza is, but mine was 14 inches. At the time, I did not have a 16-inch pizza screen, so I was limited to the 14-inch size by the dimensions of my pizza stone. Making the pizza again I might try stretching the dough out a bit more to make it thinner, and use a combination of pizza screen and stone. Or, I could reduce the size of the dough ball and stick with the 14-inch size.

It would be interesting to know how long Demarco lets his dough ferment (which would give a hint on when he starts making the dough), and the ultimate size and crust thickness for his pizzas.

I believe the pizza you show is Demarco's artichoke pizza, for which he has become famous. It differs from the artichoke pizzas of others in that it uses fresh artichokes, not canned. I believe that Domenic adds a ton of garlic too.

Peter
« Last Edit: December 04, 2007, 09:26:02 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline canadave

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2005, 10:17:55 AM »
Well, one hint in those photos is to use Berio's regular olive oil ;)

Dave

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2005, 01:05:27 PM »
Dave,

I had recently noted the use of the Filippo Berio olive oil from another photo taken at Di Fara's. I also noted from a photo taken at Totonno's Coney Island operation that it also uses the same olive oil.

In light of the above and other information that has come to my attention, this morning I updated the restaurant "database" I created for some of the most noteworthy pizza establishments in the NYC/New Haven areas. I have updated the information on Lombardi's, Grimaldi's, Patsy's, Di Fara's, and Totonno's. I invite you and our other members and guests to take a look at the most recent edition of the database to confirm or refute its content. That way, we can have the most recent and accurate information available to us here at the forum. The restaurant database is at Reply #6 on the Best NYC Pizza Restaurants thread at http://forum.pizzamaking.com/index.php?board=3.0 . Any noteworthy comments should be posted at that thread, just to keep everything together in one place.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 12, 2005, 01:15:49 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline canadave

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2005, 04:21:00 PM »
Good deal....just checked out your database and it seems accurate to me.
Dave

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2005, 08:26:12 AM »
While I'm not 100% sure about pie size, memory tells me it's about 17" - 18". If I had to guess about dough ball weight I would think it's less than 16oz - much less than what a typical recipe calls for in a pizza that size. I have also noticed that Patsy's & Grimaldi's uses a very light ball as well. The rim at all three establishments seems quite thin compared to others. Here are a few more photos of the master himself at work:
« Last Edit: February 13, 2005, 08:44:37 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline friz78

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2005, 09:54:12 AM »
Pftaylor,
These pictures are great.  I'm so psyched - I'm going to make my first attempt at a DiFara's pizza today.  I'll make a few adjustments that Pete suggested, such as a slightly lower hydration % and no autolyse.  Pictures and details to follow later tonight...
Friz


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2005, 10:55:45 AM »
Friz,
When I was last at DiFara's I marveled at how long it took Dom to make the pizza and in particular the skin. I bet I waited almost an hour after ordering to eat. At other pizza joints it seems that stretching a dough ball took only seconds. They slap, slam, and otherwise beat it up. Dom takes several minutes and kind of has a conversation with it - coaching it along. The dough seemed much softer and required a lot more attention to get sized properly. No doubt due to the 00 flour. He puts such a large amount of toppings on a pie that the middle is very soggy which is really the only complaint I can think of.

Take your time and best of luck. All my efforts to recreate Dom's masterpiece have failed miserably. Today I'm going to make my version of a Patsy's pizza on my TEC grill and will take plenty of pictures.
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2005, 01:17:17 PM »
Friz,

pftaylor makes some good points, and it is a good idea to curb your enthusiasm ;D.

You are about to embark on an experiment whose outcome is not an absolute certainty. There are too many variables. We believe that DeMarco uses a 50/50 blend of 00 and high-gluten flours (but that ratio may be a ruse to throw everyone off the scent), you plan to use different flours than DeMarco (although I think the KA high-gluten flour is better than the All Trumps high-gluten flour DeMarco uses), we don't know the hydration percent DeMarco uses, and we don't know how DeMarco makes his dough and how long it ferments. We do know that the bake time DeMarco uses is longer than the coal- and wood-fired ovens used by Grimaldi, Patsy's, Lombardi's, etc., but not a great deal more. The most important thing will be how the pizza actually tastes to you and whether you would make it again based on your actual results.

What you do will nonetheless be exciting, and I look forward to your results, and especially so if you are able to compare your results with a pizza you may have had or seen in person at Di Fara's.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 13, 2005, 02:16:26 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline friz78

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2005, 02:08:44 PM »
Pete and Pftaylor,
No doubt that I don't plan to create a DiFara's clone this evening.  Experience shows that cloning a pizza from another pizzamaker is impossible, as there are far too many variables that can't be exactly replicated.  Nonetheless, the idea is to try to create something that bares some resemblance to DiFara's, contains many of the principles, and most importantly, tastes good.  None of these things are guaranteed, but that's what makes it fun.

Today, I made three doughs.  The first was a DiFara knockoff with 58% hydration.  The second was also a DiFara knockoff with 58% hydration, but also included a small amount of sugar and olive oil added to the recipe (with browning in mind on this one).  The last dough was one of Pete's recipes for "Classic Neopalitan Pizza" using only 00 flour (in my case, the KA 00 clone).  In all three cases it was fun to utilize some of Pete's mathematical equations to get the correct recipes.  Who would've thought that there could be an incredibly interesting mathematical element to pizza making!  I have my feet firmly planted on the ground today, as I haven't heard very good feedback on the KA 00 flour.  Nonetheless, I know that there are many other factors that will also contribute to the taste of this pizza including all the preparation details that lead to great pizza.  Stay tuned... P.S.  the dough is currently rising right now and looks pretty good to the naked eye - we shall see!
« Last Edit: February 13, 2005, 02:11:19 PM by friz78 »

Offline friz78

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2005, 10:34:25 PM »
What a night!

Pizza, pizza, pizza....
I'm too tired to get into detail on all three pizzas that I made tonight - I will save that for sometime tomorrow.
I have attached the pictures for people to see.

As a quick review, pizza #1 was a DiFara knockoff with 58% hydration.  The second was also a DiFara knockoff with 58% hydration, but also included a small amount of sugar and olive oil added to the recipe (with browning in mind on this one).  The last dough was one of Pete's recipes for "Classic Neopalitan Pizza" using only 00 flour (in my case, the KA 00 clone).  Here is a quick synopsis/evaluation of each pizza:

Pizza #1 - Very good, very tasty.  Unfortunately, I stretched the dough too much and it was a bit too thin after cooking.  This was probably a bit of overcompensation after recent posts regarding the dough turning out too thick for Pete and looking thinner in the DeMarco pictures.  Nonetheless, the dough handled very well and it was very tasty.  It was my kids favorite of the three pizzas.  The loved it!  (More details tomorrow about techniques and obstacles).  Unfortunately, this is the only pizza that I neglected to take pictures of, but it looked very good coming out of the oven.

Pizza #2 - Also very good and very tasty.  Same exact problem as pizza #1 - I stretched the dough too much and it turned out too thin in the middle of the pizza.  It was a shame because the outer crust was very, very good and so was the rest of the pie.  Just the inner-most portion of the pizza was too thin and, as a result lacked chew and drooped too much.  Dough handled great and the outer edge browned nicely.  Need to do a better job of keeping the inner most part of the pizza a little thicker.

Pizza #3 - Surprisingly enough, this pizza was very good as well.  I wasn't expecting it to as good as the other two because I was using only the KA 00 clone flour in this recipe.  It was a very good pizza, held up quite nicely with nice crisp.  The outer crust was not have quite as good of a chew as the first two pizzas.  Unfortunately, can you believe it, I spread the dough a bit too thin in the middle of the pie and, once again, this caused to pizza to lack a bit of chew in the very middle.  Otherwise, it was a very good pizza and very tasty.

In conclusion, the storyline tonight was my sub-par stretching of the dough.  I would love suggestion on how to get a little more thickness in the middle of my dough.  Stretching with my knuckles seems to leave the dough too thin in the middle for me for some reason.  Here are the pictures.  More details on specific ingredient measurements, techniques, problems, etc. tomorrow.

Friz

Offline friz78

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2005, 10:35:08 PM »
pizza #2

Offline friz78

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2005, 10:36:06 PM »
pizza #2

Offline friz78

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2005, 10:36:43 PM »
pizza #3

Offline friz78

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2005, 10:37:22 PM »
pizza #3 - slice


Offline friz78

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2005, 10:37:51 PM »
pizza #3 crust

Offline friz78

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2005, 10:39:59 PM »
side view

Offline friz78

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2005, 11:56:03 AM »
Here's a little more review and feedback on my pizza making endeavors last night.  I was just too tired to get into detail on my experiences, thoughts, and conclusions last night.  Actually, I was pretty proud to even get those pictures posted last night before passing out.  Here are a couple of thoughts on last nights pizzas:

1.)  As mentioned earlier, I made the mistake of stretching the dough too thin, which made it too "cracker-like" in the middle.  It tasted good and I liked the crisp, but it was not what I was aspiring for with with this kind of pie.  My understanding is that the 00 flour should provide a bit more chew and be a bit thicker crust than NY style.  Would most people agree with that?  Now, the dough was much more in line with what I wanted as you worked back toward the outer edge of the pizza.  After getting 25% of the way through a slice, I loved the dough consistency - chewy and yet still possessing a slight crisp.  The outer edge of both DiFara pizzas was excellent with a slight edge going to pizza #2, which included 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. 

2.)  With every pizza, I used a screen to start with and then transferred it to a pizza stone to finish the pizza for about two minutes.  This was my first time trying this techniqe and I really like the way it worked.  I was struggling in the past with the bottom of my pizzas cooking before the top, but this multiple tool technique was a great answer to that dilemma.

3.)  I'm not quite sure how much the hydration % (58%) affected the "cracker-like" texture of the middle of the DiFara pizzas.  I think it contributed to it, but I still think it was more the result of stretching the dough too thin rather than the hydration %. I say this because, after getting away from the extreme middle of the pizza the dough was exactly how I wanted it - chewy with a slight crisp.

4.)  I'm at a point where I'm questioning the value of stretching pizza with my hands/knuckles (tossing pizza dough).  Admittedly, I am not an expert pizza tosser, but unless someone can convince me that it greatly enhances the outcome of the pizza, I am ready to do away with the technique altogether.  That said, I also understand that over-handling and beating on the dough or using a rolling pin is not a good way to go either.    I just think that a gentle stretching of the dough on a work surface is just as effective as stretching it with your knuckles and, in my case, allows me to better control the size of the dough round before it gets out of control.  Perhaps the best answer is to just reduce the amount of tossing time with my knuckles before transferring it to a work surface for the final stretching.  I've allowed the hand tossing to get out of control to a point where the dough is too thin by the time I set it on the work surface and by that point it's too late to do anything about it.

I will say, though, that I believe that the stretching of the dough is extremely important in the final product you produce.  I believe pftaylor gave the advice yesterday of "take your time" when stretching the dough and he is absolutely RIGHT.  Unfortunately, stretching the dough with my knuckles made it almost impossible to "take my time."  He also mentioned the care that DeMarco uses in stretching his dough.  I learned that lesson with my  most recent endeavor.


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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2005, 01:14:36 PM »
Friz,

Congratulations on a job well done. I especially liked the looks of pizza #2.

The problem you experienced with the thin dough spots is a common one. When it does occur in the professional ranks, the most common expanation is inexperience--where a novitiate dough handler concentrates too much on the center of the dough rather than the edges. Unfortunately, when a thin spot develops, there is little that you can do about it. You can't scrunch up the dough around the thin spot and you can't easily use a "patch".  I, too, have experienced thin spots and what I have found useful is not to press the dough outwardly from the center when I start to expand the dough ball outwardly with my fingers. I leave the center pretty much alone and press the dough outwardly away from the center. And when I stretch the dough, I stay around the edges as much as I can. Doing this is not always a walk in the park. If a dough is highly extensible, it can get away from you before you can prevent a thin spot from developing. It really takes a lot of experience to master dough spinning.

You might be interested in knowing that Tom Lehmann says that there is a functional purpose to tossing and spinning a dough. He says that during tossing, the air dries the dough as it swirls across the dough, forming a thin skin on the surface of the dough. He adds that the drying action helps achieve a crispier crust when the dough is baked. (So, dough tossing goes beyond mere showmanship.)

I have found tossing a dough to be most useful for a NY style and similar doughs with a lot of gluten. A dough made with only 00 flour cannot really be tossed. It can be stretched and shaped a bit using the fingers and knuckles, but not tossed into the air. A 00 dough is best shaped on a flat work surface by pressing the dough outwardly from the center using the fingers. Your combination of 00 and high-gluten flours puts you somewhere between the two extremes. I found that I was able to shape and stretch the Di Fara dough clone fairly easily, but I was very careful when I did it.

Another approach for shaping a dough is to do as you say you plan to do, that is, shape the dough without using your fingers and knuckles. I showed an approach like that to my daughter-in-law, who was not particularly thrilled about tossing dough in the air. The approach I showed her was to start pushing the dough outwardly from the center to the edge using the fingers and, when the dough was pushed and pressed out to near the desired size, to hold the dough down with the left hand about a few inches from the perimeter of the dough round, and then tug and pull the dough outwardly with the right hand to the final desired size.  I saw her use this technique recently and it worked like a charm, with no noticeable negative effects on the finished product. Of course, this procedure should be done on a flat surface, such as a countertop or wood peel, not a screen. Doing this on a screen could force the dough into the small openings in the screen and make a real mess of things.

As for the matter of crust thickness based on using the 00 flour, I have heard and read of many descriptions of the thickness of such crusts--from "thick" to "thin", to crackery, etc. But, since the terms "thick" and "thin" are relative, I have come to rely on the recipes I use for such doughs and the thickness that comes from making the doughs in the recommended sizes (diameter). I have found the 00 crusts to be thicker than the NY styles, and softer and chewier. It's purely a matter of personal taste whether you prefer those crust characteristics over a NY style crust. I personally put the two styles in separate and distinct categories and don't try to compare them in terms of overall preference. I like both equally well.

I was amused to see the looks of your pizza #3 using the KA 00 flour. It looked like the ones I made using that flour--and found wanting. Some time you will have to try other 00 flours and draw your own conclusions.

I assume you noted your formulation for the Di Fara dough clone. Can you post the formulation some time? I'd like to give your version a try.

Peter

Offline DKM

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2005, 01:44:02 PM »
Nice pictures.  I been pizza free for over a week  :'(

I'm hoping to make some dough tonight.

Maybe two different kinds.

DKM
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2005, 01:54:38 PM »
Friz,
Great looking pies. One question: Is that your first effort at recreating a Di Fara pie? If so, I am humbled by your accomplishment.
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Offline friz78

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2005, 04:05:24 PM »
Great feedback guys and thanks for the kind words about the pictures.  Everyone liked the pizzas at home, but I just know they can be so much better.  That's what makes this all so much fun (and frustrating).

Pete, you are right about the KA 00 flour.  My sense is that this flour is better suited for a cracker crust than a neapolitan crust.  I actually liked the crispiness of the middle of this pizza, but as you worked closer to the edge the dough/crust was exposed.  The edge on this pizza was the worst of the three pizzas that I made last night - no flavor, and a bit like cardboard.  Too bad I'm not a big fan of cracker-like crusts because this would be good for it and you could all but eliminate a large edge, which is where I found this flour to be exposed and wanting.  I must say, however, that the KA 00 flour worked fine when mixed with the SL flour for the DiFara pizza.  The dough was flavorful and had great texture and crisp (except in the extreme middle where the dough was spread too thin).

The other point made about the tossing being more of a problem because of the mixture of 00 flour with high gluten is a good one.  Working with the DiFara dough was much different than a standard NY Pizza dough that has only high gluten flour. 

Pete, per your request I will post the exact recipe that I used for the DiFara pizza #2  later tonight when I get home.
Friz
« Last Edit: February 14, 2005, 04:13:51 PM by friz78 »

Offline friz78

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Re: Pete's DiFara's Pizza
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2005, 09:34:29 PM »
As promised, here is the exact recipe I used for pizza #2 (Difara knockoff):

I used a 60/40 ratio between KA Sir Lancelot and KA 00 flour and a 58% hydration...

5.85 oz.  King Arthur Sir Lancelot Flour
3.9 oz.  King Arther 00 Flour
5.65 oz.  Water
3/4 t.  Active Dry Yeast
1/2 t.  Salt
1/2 t.  Sugar
1/2 t.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pete's formula for calculating measurements was flawless when figuring how much flour to use of each type and how much water.  Per Pete, the formula was .6x + .4x + .58x = W (desired weight of dough)

I mixed all the dry ingredients in a Kitchen Aid mixer, proofed the ADY with 1 Tablespoon of water and gradually added the yeast and remaining water to the dry mixture (water was about 78 degrees).  I mixed on #2 speed for about 10 minutes and added the olive oil to the mixture about 2 minutes into the mixing process.  After removing the dough from the mixer I kneaded it by hand for about another minute and then placed it into a lightly oiled bowl to let it rise.  The bowl was covered with plastic wrap and temperature of the dough was exactly 80 degrees.  The dough was allowed to rise at room temperature for about 6 hours.  After five hours, I uncovered the bowl and punched down the dough and then let it rise for the last hour.  The dough ball didn't quite double in size during the fermentation process (it actually rose slightly less than pizza #1 which didn't have sugar or olive oil added).

The dough was very extensible and somewhat "sticky" when I began to stretch it.  I added a bit of bench flour to offset the stickiness issue and after that the dough was very easy to work with.  I stretched the dough to about 16 inches, which proved to be about one inch too much.  In hindsight, this pizza would have achieved perfect thickness if it had been stretched to a 15 inch pizza instead of 16 inches.

After stretching, the dough was place in a 525 degree oven (my oven runs much hotter than most) on a pizza screen for 5 minutes and then transferred to a pre-heated pizza stone for 3 additional minutes to enhance crisp/browning on the bottom of the dough.  This method was very effective, as the top and bottom of the pizza were fully cooked at exactly the same time.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2005, 09:46:13 PM by friz78 »