I recently made another Mack’s clone dough and pizza. This time, however, I made some changes based on my last results with this style of pizza. One of the major changes was to use a lower value of thickness factor, nominally 0.072, so as to achieve a thinner finished crust. I also reduced the hydration by one percent (to 57%), to reduce the dough extensibility, and I reduced the amount of yeast a bit (to 0.20%) to get a 3-day window of usability of the dough. I also used a different method to prepare the dough, as will be discussed more fully below. As before, I used a blend of King Arthur bread flour (KABF) and vital wheat gluten (VWG). I used the Mixed Mass Percentage Calculator at http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/
to calculate the amounts of KABF and VWG to achieve an “effective” protein content for the blend of 14.4%.
The dough formulation that I used, as put together using the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html
, was as follows, for a single 18” pizza:
|KABF/VWG Blend* (100%):|
Vegetable (Soybean) Oil (3%):
|320.96 g | 11.32 oz | 0.71 lbs|
182.95 g | 6.45 oz | 0.4 lbs
0.64 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.21 tsp | 0.07 tbsp
6.42 g | 0.23 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.15 tsp | 0.38 tbsp
9.63 g | 0.34 oz | 0.02 lbs | 2.12 tsp | 0.71 tbsp
4.01 g | 0.14 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.01 tsp | 0.34 tbsp
524.62 g | 18.5 oz | 1.16 lbs | TF = 0.07272
Note: For a single 18” pizza; nominal thickness factor = 0.072; bowl residue compensation = 1%
*The KABF/VWG Blend comprises 310.84 grams (10.96 ounces) KABF and 10.12 grams (0.36 ounces) Hodgson Mill VWG (3 3/8 teaspoon)
Because of the relatively small amount of dough involved, 18.5 ounces, my original plan was to see if I could use my Cuisinart food processor (14-cup capacity), with the metal blade attached, to make the dough. To this end, I combined and placed all of the dry ingredients directly in the food processor bowl, and I combined the water and oil and gradually added the mixture to the food processor bowl while using the pulse feature. To keep the finished dough temperature below 80 degrees F, I used cold water, at a temperature of 47.7 degrees F. While the food processor did a pretty good job combining all of the dough ingredients, it struggled trying to knead the dough into a smooth round ball, even at full speed. I believe the cause was the relatively low hydration (57%) of the dough. So, I removed the dough from the processor bowl and finished kneading it in my basic KitchenAid mixer with the C-hook. I kneaded the dough at speed 2 for about 4 minutes. The combination of the food processor and KA stand mixer actually did a nice job of kneading the dough, so good, in fact, that I plan to experiment more with this method at a future date to see if it does a better job with other doughs with relatively low hydration than using either my food processor or stand mixer alone.
After hand kneading the dough for about 30 seconds, I lightly oiled it, placed two poppy seeds spaced 1” apart at the center of the dough ball, and, as before, placed the dough ball into a metal cookie tin with a sheet of plastic wrap covering the tin and secured with a rubber band. The dough, with a finished dough temperature of 77.3 degrees F, went into the refrigerator. Based on the spacing of the two poppy seeds during the fermentation period, the dough doubled in volume at almost exactly 72 hours (3 days). I decided to use the dough at this time. So, after removing the dough ball from the refrigerator, I flattened it into a roughly 8” disk, to simulate what I saw in the video at
, and let the dough temper at a room temperature of about 78-79 degrees F for about 2 ½ hours. The dough disk looked and felt like what I saw from the video. As with the Mack’s dough disks shown in the video, the dough did not evidence any visible bubbling during the temper period.
When I decided to form the skin, I found that I could handle and shape the dough into an 18” skin much like I saw in the video. The dough wasn’t quite as robust as the doughs shown in the video, but there was a good balance between elasticity and extensibility and I had no problem opening up the dough ball, stretching it and tossing it. The dough handling was considerably easier than my last effort. Once the skin was at 18”, I placed it on my 18” pizza screen, pressed the outer rim so as to remain as flat as possible during baking, and dressed it. One difference I noted between my finished skin and a Mack’s skin as shown in the video is that my skin exhibited bubbling. I did not see it in the Mack’s skin in the video. In the past where I have seen little or no bubbling in the dough at this stage it was because of the use of a lot of oil. I am not sure if that is how Mack’s does it, but it is something to consider. It might also mean using even less yeast and/or possibly a shorter fermentation time.
This time, for the sauce, I used a 6-ounce can of Contadina tomato paste, which I thinned with water to the desired consistency and to which I added sugar, dried oregano, dried basil, and garlic powder. I placed around 6 ounces of the sauce, by weight, into my plastic squeeze bottle. With this sauce, I was trying mainly for the deeper sauce color that seems to be part of a Mack’s pizza. For cheese, I used a combination of shredded mild white cheddar cheese (O Organics brand) and shredded extra sharp NY white cheddar cheese (Lucerne brand). Both cheeses have 9 grams of total fat per serving. I used 8 ounces of the O Organics white cheddar cheese and 2 ounces of the extra sharp white cheddar cheese, for a total of 10 ounces. The pizza was dressed in the same manner as last described. The weight of the unbaked pizza was 927 grams, or about 32.7 ounces. Until Norma returns back from her trip to Mack’s et al
, I won’t have a good idea as to what a typical Mack’s or M&M pizza weighs. I believe that getting the right weight of dough ball will go a long way to trying to replicate a Mack’s et al
In preparation for baking the pizza, I placed my 14” x 16” pizza stone on the lowest oven rack position of my electric oven and preheated the oven for about an hour at around 525 degrees F. To bake the pizza, I placed the screen with the pizza on it on the topmost oven rack position where it baked for about 3 ½ minutes, or until it had set and could be moved. The crust was still a light color but the cheeses were bubbling. I then moved the pizza off of the screen (which I then removed from the oven) onto the preheated pizza stone at the lowest oven rack position, where it finished baking for about another 3 minutes, or just long enough to develop char on the bottom of the crust but without burning.
The photos below show the finished product. Overall, I thought that the pizza turned out very well. However, while I didn’t get the “orange” oil/fat condition that I last got, the fats did not easily or profusely run off of the slices onto my paper plate. I believe that the reason was either that I didn’t use the right cheeses or I didn’t use enough. The latter case seems plausible because more of the sauce showed up visually in the finished pizza than the cheese. However, I think I know how to solve this problem the next time I make this type of pizza. The finished crust was also not as cracker-like at the rim as I was looking for, which suggests that I may need to adjust the bake temperature/times to get a slightly drier crust next time. However, I think that is something that can be addressed and resolved in a future effort. Even without the proper sauce and cheeses, I thoroughly enjoyed the pizza. The crust was thin with good color and flavor. There was some bubbling in the finished crust and a small amount of blistering.
What this latest effort demonstrated is that is seems feasible to make an 18” Mack’s clone pizza in a standard home oven using a pizza screen and stone combination in a straightforward manner without going through multiple contortions in the handling of the pizza and multiple oven temperature adjustments while the pizza bakes. Also, the broiler element is not used. Of course, those with a stone large enough to accommodate an 18” pizza without the need to use a pizza screen as I did should be able to bake the pizza entirely on the stone, possibly with better overall results. However, in my oven, the 18” screen is the largest size screen I can use. It cannot take a stone larger than that. FWIW, I estimate that my pizza cost me a bit over $5 in ingredients. M&M charges $14.50 for a plain 18" pizza.
Hopefully, Norma will return with more information to guide our future efforts.