• #141 by MTPIZZA on 07 Apr 2005
  • The discussion regarding using starters for levening has brought me back to my sour dough days... I used to have a "mother" starter obtained through  the mail from an old stock started by a gentleman out West (his name escapes me)... after receiving the dry starter I got it going by diligence and care. After a while of feeding and letting it rest I used it in a pie... My experiements were so-so... When I stretched my dough I could notice that the dough was more slack and wet than when I used IDY. Holding it up to the light I could see that it had affected the "window or gluten web" that it created. The look was more "spidery" in appearance and less springy and uniform. However, even though the dough looked different and handled differently it produced a nice yeasty smell at all just the sweet aroma of the dough which I delighted in. I am still pondering going back to this method as the IDY does produce quite good results as well with less effort. But this thread has my mouth watering once again...
  • #142 by pftaylor on 07 Apr 2005
    Join us. This is exciting stuff.

    We could use another set of eyes. The flavor addition of the Varasano starter is abundant. I couldn't imagine going back to a dough recipe which has only the flavor of commercial yeast (which I find to be bland).
  • #143 by pftaylor on 07 Apr 2005
  • Here are the series of photographs I captured this afternoon detailing the mixing steps for Pete-zza's Pizzas. One ball is in the fridge, the other is on the counter waiting to double. I will then punch down the counter ball and place in the fridge for the night.

    1) Varasano preferment being weighed - Note the bubbles. It is ready
    2) Mixture after 1 minute on "stir" (Then rest for 20 minutes)
    3) After completed mixing procedure I measured the temperature to be near perfect at 80.4 degrees
    4) Dough after 2nd rest period (15 minutes)
    5) Main dough ball weighed 1lb 11.5oz
    6) Close-up of main ball before splitting. Note the satin finish. Smooth as a baby's butt.
    7) Next post!
  • #144 by pftaylor on 07 Apr 2005
  • 8) Ball number one weighing 13.7 oz - A little less than my normal weight
    9) Hand squeeze technique shown to demonstrate how I form a ball (and see if dough is right)
    10) Ball number two weighing 13.7 oz
    11) Balls placed in SS bowls & covered with reusable shower caps (a Pete-zza tip)
    12) Side view of shower capped bowls before placing ball one in the fridge and leaving ball two on the counter for a warm rise.
  • #145 by pftaylor on 07 Apr 2005
  • Here is a photograph of dough ball number 2 which just finished doubling on the counter in about 5 hours. Pete-zza Pizza's are starting to take shape. Phase one is complete.
  • #146 by MTPIZZA on 08 Apr 2005
  • Ok Ok...I give in...I'm going to re-awake my starter... you are so right pft.. you can't beat the flavor of starter vs. yeast.. your pics have pulled me over the edge once again! Now I have to find where to get that Varisano starter on this site in case mine does'nt re-awaken...
  • #147 by pftaylor on 08 Apr 2005
  • MT,
    I would follow Varasano & pizzanapoletana's recommendation and buy the starter from sourdo. You will not be sorry.
  • #148 by pftaylor on 08 Apr 2005
  • Here are the pictures of the Pete-zza Pizzas.
    1) Cold rise dough on left, counter rise on right
    2) Dough balls waiting to be stretched. 4 hour counter rise after removal from fridge.
    3) Ball number one (cold rise) stretched nicely to 16.75" with no problem at all
    4) Ball number one bubbles
    5) Pete-zza Pepperoni Pie
    6) Pete-zza Pepperoni Pie different shot
  • #149 by pftaylor on 08 Apr 2005
  • 7) Bottom char with blister holes
    8) Minimal spring
    9) Another money shot with minimal spring
    10) Dough ball number two (counter rise)
    11) Pete-zza Margherita
  • #150 by pftaylor on 08 Apr 2005
  • 13) Better spring with counter raised ball (to be expected)
    14) But not that much better spring
    15) Blister holes...
  • #151 by pftaylor on 08 Apr 2005
  • Here are my comments regarding the pies. Normally I shoot for a 2 hour counter rise once the dough is pulled from the fridge. However, due to unavoidable circumstances the dough was subjected to a 4 hour counter rise after about 24 hours or more in the fridge. First, the crust tasted exactly like Patsy's in East Harlem. Specifically, the crust was a little softer and sort of stuck to our teeth momentarily before it melted. A great texture and one which is a dead ringer for a Patsy's crust. In fact, it tasted more like a Patsy's crust than my normal recipe which has much better spring but is much crunchier.

    The dough handled well but not great. Certainly not as good as my normal dough. But again, the 4 hour counter rise probably diluted the quality a little bit. In terms of stretching, it was stable but not heroic. I started to get thin spots here and there. All in all, not a bad dough but probably bad execution on my part.

    All the pictures I took while in NY show no spring to speak of at all. That was how these pies looked. Chewier rather than crispier crust. The surprise of the night were the return of the dreaded blister holes. Not exactly sure why or where they came from. I surmise it was because I took a little longer to prepare the pies which resulted in a longer preheat which means a hotter than normal grill.
  • #152 by Pete-zza on 04 May 2005
  • I am pleased to report that tonight I achieved what I consider to be a significant step forward in the evolution of the Lehmann NY style dough and pizza. I made a high quality autolyse-based Lehmann NY style dough using only a natural preferment (no commercial yeast). I had been thinking for some time how to do this, and I had been leaning toward using a small amount of preferment, as I had been doing with success in the Caputo 00 dough experiments. But it wasn't until I read a recent post of fellow member Bakerboy, a baker by profession, in which he stated that a lot of preferment would be necessary to achieve satisfactory fermentation in a retarded dough. Thankfully, he said how much--15% to 20% by weight of flour. Armed with that important piece of information (for which I am very grateful to Bakerboy), I decided to see if I could make a retarded Lehmann NY style dough using only a natural preferment. While I was at it, I decided to use an autolyse, and for the autolyse, I chose to use the Prof. Calvel approach as was recently explained to the membership by our good friend DINKS.

    To make the dough, I used the basic recipe for a 16-inch skin posted at Reply #86 at this thread, and modified it to use 20% preferment by weight of flour. For the preferment, I used the natural Caputo 00 preferment I originally developed for use with the Caputo 00 flour but which I have been gradually converting to an all-purpose preferment by feeding it with an unbleached, nonbromated all-purpose flour. The final recipe (with baker's percents) was as follows:

    100%, Flour, King Arthur Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour, 11.76 oz. (2 1/2 c. plus 2 T.)
    63%, Water, 7.16 oz. (7/8 c.) (temp. adjusted to achieve a finished dough temp. of 80 degrees F)
    1.75%, Salt, 0.20 oz. (1 t.)
    1%, Olive oil, 0.11 oz. (a bit less than 3/4 t.)
    20%, Natural Preferment, 2.27 oz. (a bit more than 5 T.)
    Total dough weight: 21.11 oz.
    TF = 0.105

    The dough was processed in a KitchenAid stand mixer using the techniques as previously described at this thread for such a machine. However, as indicated above, this time I interjected the Calvel autolyse into the process. Although the Calvel autolyse has been described before at other threads (and most recently at the DiFara reverse engineering thread), the Calvel autolyse approach entails combining one-third of the flour (3.92 oz.), one-third of the water (2.39 oz.) and the natural preferment, following which the dough is subjected to an autolyse rest period of 30 minutes. Then the rest of the flour and the rest of the water are added to the dough and thoroughly combined, and the process is completed by adding the olive oil and kneading that into the dough (about 2 minutes) and finally the salt. The dough is then kneaded, for about 6-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and without any tears on the outer surface, and the dough is tacky and not wet. At this point, the dough is subjected to another rest period of about 15 minutes.

    As I worked through the above process, I used a spatula to facilitate the combining and mixing of the dough by directing the flour into the path of the dough hook and dislodging the dough when it tended to ride high on the dough hook. Since the preferment was like a pancake batter, I found it necessary to make slight adjustments to the flour (reflected in the above recipe) but I tried as much as possible to keep the dough on the tacky side. The finished dough was extremely soft and smooth, and it was clearly evident that the autolyse was largely responsible. The finished dough temperature was around 79 degrees F. The dough was very lightly coated with olive oil, flattened and placed into a plastic storage bag, and put into the refrigerator. It stayed there for about 45 hours.

    At the end of the 45-hour retardation period, the dough was brought out to room temperature, placed on a work surface, coated lightly with a small amount of bench flour, and covered with a sheet of plastic wrap. When the dough temperature reached about 63 degrees F, in about two hours, it was shaped into a 16-inch skin. I had no difficulty whatsoever in shaping and stretching the dough. It was a bit more extensible than the most recent doughs I have made, but it showed no signs of tearing or developing weak or thin spots. I placed the skin on a 16-inch pizza screen and dressed the skin in a simple manner with 6-in-1 tomatoes, some LaRegina DOP San Marzano tomatoes, dried oregano, processed mozzarella cheese, some fresh mozzarella cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil. The pizza was baked at about 500-550 degrees F on the uppermost oven rack for about 6 minutes, following which it was transferred to a pizza stone (preheated for about an hour at the above temperature) at the lowest oven rack position for a final two minutes or so to achieve additional bottom crust browning.

    I thought the finished pizza was exceptionally good, one of the best Lehmann pizzas I have made. The crust was chewy, tender, and crispy at the same time, with an exceptional amount of airiness, both in the rim and the rest of the crust. As readers of this thread may recall, I have used autolyse before for a Lehmann style dough and felt that it created a bread-like crumb, which I did not particularly want, but this time it was quite enjoyable. The crust also had a nice flavor. It wasn't as intense as with the crusts I have made using room temperature fermented dough, but it was clearly more flavorful than the usual Lehmann crust. I suspect that the next step in the evolution of the Lehmann dough may involve a room temperature fermented dough using only a natural preferment.

    The photos of today's pizza are shown below.


  • #153 by pyegal on 04 May 2005
  • I can't believe I read this entire thread! But it has some really good information in it! Maybe this is the type of pizza crust I'm looking for?

    Now that I copied 5 variations on this theme, I'm going to gradually work my way through them and see which ones suit me the best.

    Should I post my results on this thread?

    Many thanks,

  • #154 by itsinthesauce on 04 May 2005
  • By all means, please post.
  • #155 by pyegal on 05 May 2005
  • The first version of Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza that I tried was the hand kneaded as described in Reply #68 by friend Pete-zza. This dough was mixed by hand with a wooden spoon, kneaded by hand, and had a 24 hour ferment in the fridge. It had about 3 1/2 hours in a warm (85 degree) oven to come up to temp and to rise. The dough looked very light and handled very well. The only change that I made was to add 2 t. of vital wheat gluten in with the dry ingredients because I was using King Arthur bread flour and not a high gluten flour.

    It stretched very well for me and I was able to stretch it out to a little more than the 12" indicated. I found some semolina flour in the freezer and used it on my peel instead of flour. I decided to move up the oven rack one notch, which was a mistake. I should have left the rack on the lowest level. The pizza cooked completely in 6 1/2 minutes and I added some Locatelli cheese after it came out of the oven.

    This was a good tasting dough, uncooked sauce, pepperoni (Sara Lee brand) and Sargento part skim mozzarella - on sale buy 1, get one free! I would have liked the crust to be browner and crisper, but I was hungry and didn't preheat the oven for a full hour, only about 20 minutes to 500 degrees.

    Given my mistakes and being in a hurry to eat the thing - I'd say this pizza was pretty good, all things considered. I learned to keep the rack low, preheat the oven longer, and now I'm not as afraid of stetching out the dough to a larger pizza.

    <img src="">
  • #156 by Pete-zza on 05 May 2005
  • Teresa,

    Sometimes the Lehmann NY style dough can be a bit tricky. The biggest problem I have experienced with it is that it can be very extensible (stretchy, with little springback). It doesn't affect the finished product, but you have to be careful in stretching it so that it doesn't get out of control and lead to thin spots or even tears if you are not careful--and especially so as the size (diameter) of the skin increases. I believe one of the reasons for the high extensibility is the high hydration level that I prefer--around 63% (the ratio of the weight of water relative to the weight of flour). High hydration levels speed up the fermentation process, but I like the high hydration levels because I believe they contribute to a crust that is open and airy with a lot of holes. You could reduce the extensibilty by lowering the hydration level but another way to do it is to use cooler water and be sure to refrigerate the dough as soon as possible and keep it as cool as possible and don't let it go beyond 48 hours. Based on what we have learned from the Raquel recipe, it's even quite possible that the use of some form of autolyse may also improve the Lehmann dough, even though it may also change its character to the point where some may feel that it is no longer a NY style dough.

  • #157 by friz78 on 08 May 2005
  • Peter,
    I made a Lehman dough this weekend and used an autolyse with it for the first time.  I was a bit disappointed, as I found the crust to be more bread like, similar to what you reported in your first autolyse attempt with a Lehman dough some time ago.  I also found that the dough had too much spring and just generally got out of control while baking.  I used a high hydration percentage and I'm wondering if the combination of a high hydration with an autolyse is not a good one.
  • #158 by Pete-zza on 08 May 2005
  • Friz,

    For the last Lehmann NY style dough, I was more interested in trying to use the preferment to get better flavor in the crust. However, I decided to add the autolyse to see if that would contribute to a better overall result, particularly in light of the effectiveness of autolyse in other style doughs such as the doughs made following the Raquel recipe. I chose to use a form of autolyse that is the classical one (brought to my attention by fellow member DINKS), in which the salt (and oil) are withheld until the end of the dough formation process rather than adding them earlier. Traditionally, it is also common to add the yeast later too, but it apparently is appropriate to add the yeast earlier if is used in small amounts or the yeast is in the form of a preferment (which was the yeast form I used). It may well be that some other form of autolyse will produce a somewhat different result, but I haven't tested that possibility enough to know for sure. I am reasonably certain that the autolyse I previously used in making the Lehmann NY style dough was different than the more recent one. I liked the most recent Lehmann dough and crust a lot, but it may have been as much because of the better crust flavor than the other characteristics of the crust. Maybe in a future experiment I will leave the autolyse out altogether and use only the preferment and then compare the two results.

    Which form of autolyse did you use, and can you tell us the specifics of it? It may have been different enough to be able to explain your results compared with those I have achieved both in my earlier and more recent efforts.

    I see in the A16 thread that your wife has become enamored of the Caputo 00 crust and pizza and is counselling you to refrain from ever making the Lehmann dough again. I am not advocating that you file for divorce or pack up your pizza gear and leave the house immediately, because, as you know, I too am very fond of the Caputo 00 pies. Maybe you can tell her that the two styles are capable of peaceful coexistence, and that when you get bored with one (which will inevitably happen) you can always seek pleasure and refuge in the other. I would also prefer that you not become a closet Lehmann dough maker--waiting until she leaves the house--in order to keep peace in the family. But, whatever happens, I will swallow my pride and still work with you to make even better Caputo pies.

  • #159 by pyegal on 12 May 2005
  • Tonight I tried the Lehmann-style pizza dough using a starter, a pinch of yeast and room temp fermentation described earlier in this thread.

    The only change I made to the dough recipe and mixing was to add 2 teaspoons of vital wheat gluten as I was using KA Bread Flour, and I did not seem to need the last 5 t. flour as listed in the recipe. I mixed the dough exactly as described by friend Pete-zza, checked the dough temp as almost up to 80 degrees, and let the dough rise in an oiled zip bag inflated with a straw. I observed that during the first rise of 8 hours, the dough ball spread out more than arose upwards. During the second rise of just over 3 hours, the dough rose more in height than during the first rise. I did not punch down the dough between rises, just reformed the dough into a ball.

    Sorry I don't have any pics, batteries dead again. This dough was really nice to work with as I made two 10" pies instead of one larger one. I really liked the texture of my crust this time: a crisp snap to the bottom crust without it being cracker-like (which I don't care for) and a nice chewy edge. As yet I don't get big voids on my crust edge, but maybe that's because I don't make the crust very thick. At any rate, I really liked the flavor and texture of this crust tonight!

    I found some concentrated crushed tomatoes and used them for the sauce doctored up with some Penzy's pizza seasoning and a little bit of sugar. These concentrated crushed tomatoes were thick enough not to need any tomato paste added.

    The only thing about this recipe that I don't like is the 8-12 hour first rise and the 6-hour second rise. Just doesn't fit my schedule except maybe on the weekend. But I do like the long rise in the plastic zip bag at room temp - you can see what's happening!

    I wonder what would happen if I just let it rise all day at work for over 8 hours, then formed two small pizzas and baked them when I got home? Might just have to try that. This one is worth making again!
  • #160 by friz78 on 12 May 2005
  • pyegal,
    Congratulations on your success and satisfaction with the Lehman style pizza with room temperature rise.  I can't wait until you get some batteries for that camera!!  It's always fun to visually see a person's results.  In this case, a picture really is worth a thousand words.