This weekend we hosted a small dinner party at our home with two other couples as our guests. You probably already guessed - we did "Pizza Night," as all of our friends have by now heard about my new hobby of pizzamaking. I think they were excited to try the homemade pizza to see if it would live up to the billing, but I don't know how they felt about the trade off from a traditional "steak-like" dinner party to "pizza night."
But hey, it was a great time and it made for a great "theme" style of dinner party, fully equipped with some great Chianti and some imported beer for our beer drinking contingent (I enjoy BOTH!). I'm sure the beer wasn't nearly up to the quality standards of what Canadianbacon could've provided, but we had to make due with Harp and New Castle...
Regarding the pizza. I used a dough that I had made the week before and froze AFTER a 24 hour retardation period but not before the 1-2 hour rise at room temperature. I simply removed the dough from the freezer about 6 hours before preparation time. After about 4 hours, the dough was defrosted and then I allowed for a 2 hour rise at room temperature, same as if I pulled it out of the refrigerator after 24 hours. The results were very good. Not quite as good as fresh dough, but very good nonetheless. The dough handled beautifully just like the Lehman recipe normally does. It cooked perfectly for 8 minutes directly on a pizza stone and the edges were nicely browned and had a great texture with the perfect combination of crisp and chew. The one area where I noticed a slight dropoff was the bottom portion of the crust nearest the center of the pizza. While there was still a crisp to this portion of the crust, I would describe it as a bit "flat." Instead of experiencing a crisp and then a quick breakdown of the crust in my mouth, there was a slight "toughness" to the dough after the initial crisp. Now, my guests were completely oblivious to this situation and raved about the pizza, but for folks like us, we notice these things.
I did not use malt in this recipe and that may have made a slight difference as well. But my sense is that it was the slight tradeoff that one must be willing to accept when using a homemade dough that has been frozen. And, in the grand scheme of things, this is by no means a tradeoff that I necessarily mind making in exchange for the convencience of pulling a frozen dough out of the freezer a few hours before preparation. Sometimes the convenience outweighs the small benefit of fresh dough - but not very often!
Overall, it was an extremely rewarding process. The pressure was really on to make some good pizzas with guests at our house and I was pleased with the way it turned out. One never knows how one will react when the "X-Factor" of added pressure is introduced into your pizzamaking endeavors. That said, I really feel that, thanks to all the great feedback from so many of you on this forum, I am able to consistently produce excellent results in the preparation of the Lehman NY Style Recipe. It's made especially convenient thanks to Pete-zza's calculating the exact measurements needed for a 16" Lehman NY Style pizza on this forum. I still have plenty of room for improvement, as I want to continue to tweak the recipe with regard to malt. I also continue to play around with my sauce and various other toppings that make the end product taste great. Which, by the way, I used fresh mozzarella for these pizzas and a locally made (homemade) pepperoni, which was fantastic.
Pictures are attached for your review and feedback and remember, repetition and experimentation will enable you to achieve the results you ultimately desire.