Pizza Making Forum

Pizza Making => Cracker Style => Topic started by: Pete-zza on May 29, 2007, 02:46:42 PM

Title: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on May 29, 2007, 02:46:42 PM
As a change of pace, I recently decided to take another stab at making a cracker-style pizza. Admittedly, this has been my weakest pizza category by far. A good part of the problem is that I don’t have a good frame of reference against which to compare my efforts, particularly since I have never had a cracker style pizza from a pizzeria before. My best frame of reference has been the photos of cracker style crusts that I have seen on this forum, and based on that reference, the cracker style crusts I have made to date do not appear to have been sufficiently crackery or crispy.

For my latest cracker style pizza, I decided to use a dough formulation that was recently posted by Tom Lehmann at the forum at Pizza Today, at http://www.pizzatoday.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000919, and which is set forth as follows:

100% flour, 1.5% salt, 0.5% IDY, 5% oil, 0.5% baking soda, 50% water. Mix the dough for 12 to 15 minutes at low speed, then allow to ferment at room temperature for overnight. On the following day, cut a piece of dough from the dough mass and sheet out to desired size (you will need to experiment to determine just how big a piece of dough you will need to remove from the dough mass to make a specific size pizza. Put the sheeter dough on a peel or on a screen, dock the dough and dress as usual, bake at 450F until crispy.

For my initial effort using this dough formulation, I prepared the dough following the general instructions given by Tom Lehmann but making slight adjustments since I was using a home KitchenAid stand mixer. Although Tom did not specifically indicate what kind of flour to use in the recipe, he usually recommends a “strong pizza” flour for the cracker style, which I have interpreted to mean either bread flour or high-gluten flour. For my initial effort, I elected to use the King Arthur bread flour. Since Tom also did not indicate a particular dough ball weight and corresponding pizza size, I elected to use a thickness factor of 0.07 (an educated guess) and a pizza size of 14”.

To prepare the dough, the salt was first dissolved in the water (which was cold right of the refrigerator), and the IDY, baking soda and flour were combined and gradually added to the salt/water solution. The oil was added after the dough had come together. Because of the low hydration (50%), which resulted in a stiff and scrappy dough, I found it necessary on a few occasions to stop the machine and hand knead the dough to bring it more closely together into a ball shape, before continuing with the kneading process. The final kneading took about 8-9 minutes, at speed 2, culminating in a finished dough temperature of around 79° F.

Once the dough was finished, I set it on my kitchen counter for about 24 hours. The dough was then rolled out, using a rolling pin, sauced, cheesed, topped and baked. I had intended to dock the dough before dressing, as is common with cracker style crusts, but simply forgot to do so. I also did not roll the dough out to roughly full size, fold the dough into quarters, and then re-roll, which is a technique commonly used by pizza operators who have commercial sheeters at their disposal. The pizza was baked directly on a pizza stone that I had placed at the middle oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at around 500-550° F. Once the pizza went into the oven, I lowered the oven temperature to 450 F, and baked the pizza at that temperature for about 8-9 minutes.

While the finished pizza (a basic pepperoni pizza) tasted fine, I did not think that it was crackery or crispy enough. And a slice drooped when held out straight. Also, I detected a somewhat unpleasant aftertaste in the crust, which I attributed to the baking soda. In addition, I found that I had more dough than I really needed for a 14” pizza. So, I decided to modify the Lehmann dough formulation in a few respects. These changes will be described in the next post.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on May 29, 2007, 03:06:22 PM
The changes alluded to in my last post included 1) using King Arthur Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour in lieu of bread flour, 2) baking soda at a reduced level of 0.35%, and 3) a thickness factor of 0.06 (with bowl residue compensation of 1.5%). Using the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html, I ended up with the following dough formulation:

Flour (100%):
Water (50%):
IDY (0.50%):
Salt (1.50%):
Olive Oil (5%):
Baking Soda (0.35%):
Total (157.35%):
168.91 g  |  5.96 oz | 0.37 lbs
84.45 g  |  2.98 oz | 0.19 lbs
0.84 g | 0.03 oz | 0 lbs | 0.28 tsp | 0.09 tbsp
2.53 g | 0.09 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.45 tsp | 0.15 tbsp
8.45 g | 0.3 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.88 tsp | 0.63 tbsp
0.59 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.15 tsp | 0.05 tbsp
265.78 g | 9.37 oz | 0.59 lbs | TF = 0.0609

The dough was prepared the same way as the previous one. However, the dough was even stiffer and scrappier that the one using bread flour. And I had to again stop the machine and do a fair amount of hand kneading to bring everything together before recommencing the kneading process. Clearly, my basic KitchenAid stand mixer with a C-hook is not intended for kneading especially stiff doughs. Once I was done, I divided the dough into two individual dough balls (for reasons to become more apparent below), and placed the two dough balls, each weighing 4.63 ounces, into separate covered containers which were then left to ferment at room temperature for about 24 hours. The first photo below shows one of the two dough balls after about 24 hours of room temperature fermentation. As is evident from the photo, the dough ball was still quite scrappy, although it was actually quite soft to the touch.

Both dough balls were rolled out to about 14-15”, using as little bench flour as possible since I did not want raw flour to bake up in the oven and impart a bitter taste to the finished crust. I then superimposed the two rolled out skins on each other, with a thin layer of flour between the two skins. I speculated that the flour would keep the two skins from sticking to each other and would possibly create air pockets between the two skins and, as a result, contribute to increased voids and, hence, crispiness in the finished crust.

As it turned out, when I actually went to stack the two skins one atop the other, I saw that the skins had shrunk by an inch or so, to below 14”, and a few “wrinkles” had formed in the skins when I tried to handle them. (Professionals often use a dough relaxer, such as PZ-44, to prevent springback of high gluten doughs.) I stacked the two skins nonetheless, wrinkles and all, and I rerolled the “lamination” out to about 14.5”. I then formed a small rim by pinching together the outer edges of the skin. The lamination was then docked using a dough docker such as shown in the second photo below (a fork can also be used). The docked lamination was then put on my lightly dusted peel, sauced, cheesed and topped. I might add that at no time did I have any difficulty in rolling out the dough. The two skins were like very thin membranes of rubber or plastic and did not exhibit any tendency to develop thin spots or tears.

I am happy to report that the method I used appears to have succeeded. Using the same bake protocol as with the first pizza, I ended up with a pizza—shown in the last two photos--with a very crackery and crispy crust. The crispiness extended from the center of the pizza to the edges, and could even be felt and heard as I moved the pizza cutter through the pizza. And there was no droopiness in the slices. Plus the crust color and flavors were quite good, without as prounounced a baking soda taste.

What was significant to me is that I did not have to pre-bake the dough to get the crispiness, and I could bake it directly on my stone, which I understand is the most common approach (used by professionals) for the cracker style. The results also seem to suggest that you don’t need extremely low hydration levels (e.g., in the 30% range) and an extremely dry and crumbly dough to get crispiness in the crust. However, high levels of fat may be a requirement, along with adequate hydration, both of which are present with the Lehmann dough formulation I used. I still don’t know if I have achieved a standard cracker style pizza, but I believe I am headed in the right direction.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Flagpull on May 29, 2007, 03:25:32 PM
Fantastic. I think i'll make this for my mother for her upcoming birthday, she likes this sort of pizza.

Pete- do you think a low moisture cheese would lend itself to this style of pizza moreso than my typical whole milk?

I'm almost tempted to suggest that this replace the cracker crust pizza recipe on the main page. The one on the main page i've always felt was too "bready" on the bottom, the bottom layer of crust in your pictures more accurately depicts what I would consider to be a "shakeys style" bottom layer, and this doesn't require the multi step par baking.
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on May 29, 2007, 03:53:14 PM
Pete- do you think a low moisture cheese would lend itself to this style of pizza moreso than my typical whole milk?

Phillip,

I used the Precious brand of low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese. The pizza was baked on the stone at the middle oven rack position. As you can see, the cheese held up quite well, and there was no need to raise the pizza to a higher rack position to get more top heat. I don't see any reason why you can't use a good quality whole-milk mozzarella cheese if you choose to go with that option.

If you give the dough formulation a try using a stand mixer, don't be discouraged if the dough is stiff. Now that you have been doing some hand kneading, just stop the machine and do whatever hand kneading is necessary to have the dough in a roughly round shape. I had to do this to incorporate the final amount of the flour that I added to the bowl and also after adding and machine-kneading in the oil. Don't worry if the dough isn't smooth and perfectly round. It will be craggy looking but it should be OK after about 24 hours of room temperature fermentation. I think the relatively high hydration (for a cracker type dough) and high level of oil allowed me to roll out the dough without any difficulty. Rolling out two dough balls takes a bit more time, but if the objective is to get crispiness in the crust, I think it is a worthwhile effort.

I believe that it should also be possible to use a food processor in lieu of a stand mixer, as several members on the forum have done when making a cracker style dough.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Musky on May 29, 2007, 05:17:38 PM
Wow, Pete, that looks terrific.  I had my best success, only two out of five tries, however, when I added a bit more water to the DKM/Steve recipe, and they were still very difficult to roll out.

I'm definitely going to give this a try.  Hopefully I can get a decent result with KA bread flour.  I've yet to order a huge bag of Sir Lancelot.

Kevin

I'm not angry, I'm hungry.
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: chiguy on May 31, 2007, 01:40:32 PM
 Hi Pete, in order to get a soft plyable dough that is not scrappy and easy to roll out try cutting the oil into the dry ingrediants slowly with your paddle attachment. Then add the water and if it is slightly wamer, atleast room temp this also helps. This has worked for me and has been a great improvment.
 I also have a few copies/formulations of very famous grocerey store cracker crust pizzas and cutting oil into the dry ingrediants is the process they use in the factory. They also added some shortening on the back end of mixing.
 I think the formulation you are using is fine and almost exactly what i use except i am using a .65=TF. 
                                       a few suggestions,   Chiguy
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on May 31, 2007, 03:17:27 PM
chiguy,

Thank you for your suggestions, which are always welcome, especially from one who can tell a good cracker crust from a bad one. I assume knowing the difference is a rite of passage for someone who grew up in or lives in the Chicago area, as you do. Somehow I managed to escape the experience even though I lived in a Chicago suburb for a short time some years ago.

For my first couple tries, I attempted to prepare the dough as I imagined Tom Lehmann would do it, especially in the absence of any instructions with the recipe itself. Now that I have seen what the results are, I plan to try to improve the process. I may even try the newer dough making approach using sifted flour and the whisk, flat beater and C-hook combination. I might add that I didn't have problems with the physical rolling out of the dough itself. It was the shrinkage of the dough after rolling it out and setting it aside. Even then, when I layered the skins, I did not have a problem rolling out the lamination to the desired size.

I assume in your post that you meant TF = 0.065 rather than 0.65 ;D.

I had some of the leftover pizza slices today that I preheated in my toaster oven, and they were really tasty.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on June 05, 2007, 11:40:57 AM
Yesterday, I made another cracker type crust pizza. I used the same Lehmann dough formulation as posted before, but this time I prebaked the crust before dressing and completing the bake. Also, instead of using the layered approach I previously described, which required two dough balls, I used only one dough ball this time and rolled it out to the desired size before docking and prebaking. The prebake was done on a preheated pizza stone that I had placed at the middle oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at around 500-550° F.

To make the dough itself, this time I used the alternative KitchenAid dough making method described in http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.0.html. I started by sifting the flour (KASL high-gluten) and combining the flour, baking soda and IDY in a bowl which was then set aside as I dissolved the salt in the water, which was cold right out of the refrigerator (around 43° F). I then gradually added the flour mix to the salt/water mix and combined these ingredients using the whisk (whip) attachment at speed 1. While the dough was still in a batter-like state, I added the oil and, when the oil was incorporated into the dough, I switched to the flat beater attachment. I continued to add the flour mixture to the bowl, at speed 2, until the dough had taken up the bulk of the flour mixture. I found it necessary to stop the mixer toward the end of the flat beater’s work to help incorporate the remaining flour mixture by hand. Because of the increased absorption of the water into the dough using this method, I also found it necessary to add about a half-teaspoon of water, which raised the effective hydration from 50% to about 51.3%. The dough was then kneaded at speed 2, using the C-hook this time, for about an additional 8 minutes. When done, I lightly oiled the dough ball and placed it into a covered container, which remained on my countertop at room temperature (around 79-80° F) for 23 hours. The finished dough temperature coming out of the mixer bowl was 78.7° F.

When time came to make the pizza, I had absolutely no problem in rolling out the dough to prepare it for docking. The dough spread out easily in all directions under the influence of the rolling pin, and exhibited no shrinkage or springback whatsoever. I would say that this skin was quite possibly the easiest skin I have ever made. When the skin reached 15”, I folded over the outer edge to form a small rim. I then placed the skin on my lightly floured wood peel and docked the skin. I docked the skin fairly aggressively because I did not want it to balloon up in the oven during the prebake such that I would have to pop bubbles and, in so doing, allow a lot of heat to escape from the oven. After lowering the oven temperature to 450° F, the docked skin was deposited onto the pizza stone and prebaked for about 3 minutes, or just until the crust had taken on a light brown color. The skin did not balloon up or form large bubbles in the oven.

After the prebake, the crust was then removed from the oven, sauced, cheesed, and topped (standard pepperoni) and returned to the stone in the oven, where it baked for about an additional 8-9 minutes, at 450° F, or until the crust color was a nice brown and the cheese (low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella) also started to turn light brown. I then turned off the oven and removed the pizza. After a few minutes, I returned the pizza back to the oven to continue to bake on the stone for about an additional 2 minutes in order to get even further crispness in the crust. This general technique was not a new one, having been mentioned before by member quidoPizza at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1359.msg12978.html#msg12978 (Reply 11), but I had completely forgotten about it until reminded by forum member November in a PM exchange in which we discussed cracker-type crusts. In my case, I did not wait 15 minutes before returning the pizza to the oven, and I did not leave the oven on the whole time as suggested by quidoPizza. I only wanted to dry the crust a bit more to enhance the crispiness. What surprised me was how much heat the crust could take without overbaking or burning.

The finished pizza turned out well, with good crust color and cracker-like texture. However, I felt that the last cracker crust pizza I made using the layering (laminated) approach was better. I think that what I liked so much about the last pizza was the flakiness of the crust in addition to the crackery texture. So, while using a prebaked crust was easier to accomplish (although longer to bake), I felt that it did not provide the exact crust characteristics that I achieved and liked so much from my last effort. Whether the flakiness is a characteristic of commercial cracker crust pizzas I have no idea. But I am personally willing to use the more tedious layering approach to get the favorable results from that approach.

The next time I make the Lehmann cracker crust, I plan to omit the baking soda, to see whether that makes a difference in any noticeable way. I will most likely use the layered approach.

The photos below show the latest pizza.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: November on June 05, 2007, 01:11:43 PM
Peter,

I know we had talked about a special application of fat (e.g. clarified butter, oil) and water between the layers, but if you ever return to trying a parbaked crust again, you might consider applying a very thin layer of clarified butter or oil to the top of the skin before parbaking.  Besides enhancing crispiness during baking, it also helps provide a partial barrier to moisture from the sauce and toppings.  You could also apply it as it has been discussed when baking a pizza without barpaking the crust, but part of the beauty behind using this approach with parbaking is that the fat will polymerize under high heat providing even more effectiveness.  I will be making this a part of my standard procedure for my thin and crispy style pizza.

In any case, I eagerly await your opinion on a thin crust without baking soda.

- red.november
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on June 05, 2007, 03:11:18 PM
November,

Thank you for the suggestion.

I haven't given up on the notion of prebaking, and I would actually prefer that option if I can get the crust characteristics I am seeking. Prebaking is simply easier to do than the layering process, although the last dough handled so beautifully that maybe I can replicate the layering process again with greater ease. I also like the idea of sticking things between the two layers. And being able to use a pizza stone, which most members have, and a dough that can withstand 24 hours at room temperature at a time of year when room temperatures are rising, strike me as compelling features of the Lehmann cracker style dough formulation.

At some point I may even try using disks as an alternative to a pizza stone--as a way of being able to have cracker style pizzas in the summer when the brutal summer heat descends on Texas and dispels any notion of preheating a pizza stone for an hour or more.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: November on June 05, 2007, 03:24:09 PM
At some point I may even try using disks as an alternative to a pizza stone--as a way of being able to have cracker style pizzas in the summer when the brutal summer heat descends on Texas and dispels any notion of preheating a pizza stone for an hour or more.

At some point this summer I was going to build a solar oven just for the purpose of partially preheating my pizza stone.  I often hear people complain about having to preheat a stone, especially during the summer (and I'm one of the complainants), so I thought why not just take advantage of the sun's energy during the summer season?  I was going to use a combination of mirrors for collecting and possibly a cheap Fresnel lens for magnification.  Just leave the stone in the solar oven all day and bake the pizza once the sun starts going down.

- red.november

EDIT: This isn't necessarily how I was going to build mine, but this is a good example of harnessing solar energy for preheating a pizza stone, or just plain cooking:

http://www.armory.com/~images/?s=solsticeCook2001
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on June 09, 2007, 09:02:58 PM
Today, I made another cracker style pizza based on the Lehmann cracker crust dough formulation. However, I made a few modifications to the basic formulation, and I used a perforated disk to bake the pizza. Originally, I had intended to bake the pizza on a preheated pizza stone but changed my mind at the last minute when I saw that it was around 95° F outside, which discouraged me from cranking up the oven. The disk I used is the new dark, anodized hearth bake disk that was designed by Lloyd Industries/pizzatools in collaboration with Tom Lehmann. The purpose of the new disk, which is now available at the Lloyd Industries website at http://www.lloydpans.com/productdisplay.aspx?catid=369, is to simulate a deck or hearth bake in a conveyor oven. I bought the disk primarily to experiment with in my standard home oven, especially at times like today where I did not wish to use a long oven/stone preheat. (In due course, I will experiment with the new disk to make the basic Lehmann NY style pizza to see if the disk will replicate the crust characteristics of the stone-baked Lehmann pizzas I have been making over the past few years.)

The first photo below shows the new disk. As noted, there are 31 holes in the disk (32 if one counts the smaller hole in the direct middle of the disk). The disk shown is 14” in diameter. The obvious benefit of using the disk for my purposes is that I only need to preheat the ambient air in my oven, which takes about 12 minutes to reach about 500° F. 

As for the dough formulation itself, this time I omitted the baking soda, mainly to see whether I could detect its presence in the finished crust, in terms of flavor, texture and color. Otherwise, the dough was prepared in the identical way as described in the opening post in this thread. The dough formulation I used, sans baking soda, is this one:

Flour (100%):
Water (50%):
IDY (0.50%):
Salt (1.5%):
Oil (5%):
Total (157%):
169.28 g  |  5.97 oz | 0.37 lbs
84.64 g  |  2.99 oz | 0.19 lbs
0.85 g | 0.03 oz | 0 lbs | 0.28 tsp | 0.09 tbsp
2.54 g | 0.09 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.45 tsp | 0.15 tbsp
8.46 g | 0.3 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.88 tsp | 0.63 tbsp
265.78 g | 9.37 oz | 0.59 lbs | TF = 0.0609

As noted above, the dough was prepared in the same manner as described in the opening post in this thread, but omitting the baking soda. The flour used was the King Arthur Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour, and the water temperature used was 51° F. As before, I found it necessary to stop the mixer a couple of times to help bring the dough ingredients together into a generally round ball by using hand kneading. Once that shape was achieved, the dough was kneaded at speed 2 for about 8 minutes. The dough, which had a finished dough temperature of 79° F, was then divided into two dough balls, lightly oiled, placed in covered containers, and allowed to ferment on my kitchen countertop at room temperature (a bit over 80° F) over the next 23 hours. 

In preparing the pizza today, I rolled the two dough balls out individually and layered them to form the “lamination” assembly I previously described in Reply 1. I placed that lamination on the disk, formed a small rim by pinching the dough together around the perimeter, and docked it. I then brushed the top surface of the lamination with oil, along the lines previously suggested by forum member November. In this instance, I used the Art Bell Pizza Punch, which is a new oil concoction that had arrived at my home about a day or two before the Lloyd hearth bake disks (14” and 16”) arrived. The Art Bell Pizza Punch is the subject of early discussion at this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5194.msg44052.html#msg44052. I plan to post on my early observations and experience with the Pizza Punch over the next day or so.

After dressing the dough lamination (in a basic pepperoni style), I baked the pizza (while on the new disk) on the middle oven rack position, at about 475° F, for about 8 minutes. I then slid the pizza off of the disk (which I removed from the oven) onto the middle oven rack, where it baked for about 4 more minutes.

The remaining photos show the finished pizza. Overall, I thought the pizza turned out quite well. The crust was crispy and crackery, but not quite as flaky as the one previously described in Reply 1. Whether the difference was as a result of omitting the baking soda or the use of the new Lloyd/pizzatools disk, or both, is hard to say. A more definitive answer will have to await a future effort in which I use the pizza stone method again. I did detect a difference in the crust flavor, texture and color, however. The crust had a flavor and texture that was more like a regular pizza crust, albeit crunchier, whereas a crust with baking soda has more of the taste of a soda cracker with a denser texture. The top crust color also appeared to be a bit lighter than a crust with baking soda. However, the overall differences were not so dramatic as to suggest using one formulation over the other. Most likely, personal preferences will dictate the final choice. But, either way, the new disk from Lloyd/pizzatools seems to be a useful way to make a cracker style crust pizza.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: November on June 10, 2007, 12:43:44 AM
Peter,

That pizza looks pretty good.  I have a feeling you have several more iterations to go with all the different ways you could try making a thin and crispy crust.  As you know, I have a vested interest in ceramic coated metal alloys for replicating stone baking without the preheating, so I am very interested in knowing your opinion on the disk performance in a side-by-side comparison with a stone.  I have a friend that just retired a few weeks ago that I'm going teach how to make different kinds of dough, and I will probably focus on showing him how to make pizzas more than anything else.  This will be in great contrast to all the years he relied on restaurants and frozen food.

His level of health consciousness is far more esoteric than even mine.  One of the things he won't cook with is aluminum, no matter what.  It would be nice if the Hearth Bake Disk was available in steel.  It appears he's just about up a creek with his commercial options since he wants a high-quality, non-stick, non-Teflon, professional pizza disk.  Are you aware of a steel pan/disk coated with PSTK and with similar construction (perforation) to this Hearth Bake Disk existing anywhere?  I'm afraid I might end having to construct a pan for him, but as a one-off production, it would be expensive.

- red.november
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on June 10, 2007, 10:16:56 AM
November,

It's funny that you should mention that I may have several other iterations up my sleeve. The other day I actually made a list of some of those possible iterations. It's the way I usually organize my pizza projects, and is a major part of my learning process. When it cools down in these parts (it's supposed to be around 100 degrees today), I will add your side-by-side test to my list.

As far as perforated disks are concerned, the two major producers appear to be Lloyd Industries and American Metalcraft. Those are the two companies that Tom Lehmann always seems to mention when asked about perforated disks. The disks can come in plain (uncoated) or coated (PSTK or equivalent), but in both cases the underlying metal is aluminum. I have not seen steel used as the base metal for perforated disks.

The "hearth bake" anodized perforated disk is unique to Lloyd Industries. I have been following its development ever since Tom Lehmann said that he was working with Lloyd Industries on the new disk. If you compare the new Lloyd hearth bake disk, say, the 14" disk, with the other 14" perforated disks available on the market, you will note that the holes are much larger, there are fewer of them, and the pattern is not symmetrical. The overall design appears to be crucial to the hearth bake results claimed by Lloyd Industries.

I might mention that Lloyd Industries is very receptive to inquiries from the trade, including requests for modifications to existing designs of pizza related hardware. It seems that whenever Tom Lehmann gets those kinds of requests he always refers them to John Crow at Lloyd and includes John's email address, which is [email protected] Apparently people in the trade regularly call John with their particular pizza hardware issues. You might consider getting in touch with John to see if he can provide any assistance in your case. He may already have addressed the version of perforated pan you are considering.

Getting back to my cracker crust pizzas, specifically the pepperoni versions I have been making and describing in this thread, one of the things I noticed is that if the bake times are long, say, above 8-10 minutes, it is possible for the pepperoni to lose its bright red color and turn somewhat pinkish. It's purely a visual thing, without apparent loss of flavor, but the esthetics of the pizza is also an important aspect of pizza making in my opinion. On the other hand, the cheeses I have been using (the Precious and Best Choice low-moisture part-skim mozzarella) have held up very well, particularly at the oven temperatures I have been using (under 500° F). That was also somewhat unexpected. I mention these points since it suggests that using shorter bake times is preferable to longer bake times, possibly even with other toppings, so long as the degree of desired crust crispiness is achieved. In my case, I was using the Hormel brand of pepperoni, which is the brand most commonly available to me where I live. The Hormel slices tend to be very thin, so I may have to look into stick pepperoni and cut thicker slices that might hold up better to a longer bake time.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: November on June 10, 2007, 10:43:39 AM
Peter,

I will probably ask John whether there is a version constructed of steel in the pipeline.  If not, they may already realize that there isn't enough demand to support its development.  I already warned my friend that professional disks/pans of this type are usually made of aluminum for its higher value of thermal conductivity.  I realized last night after I posted that my metal supplier offers perforated A36 steel in several different perforation configurations, and it's relatively inexpensive (approximately $11 per square foot).  I had considered making the perforations myself.  I can then sinter on a thin layer of ceramic for better surface properties.  The ceramic sintering is what will double the cost.  It's a shame Teflon has a negative reputation, because I could have coated it with Teflon as a less expensive alternative.

Have you considered using two pepperoni slices stuck together instead of thicker pepperoni?  I also currently use Hormel pepperoni, and I often find lots of irregularly cut slices that are either twice as thick or half as thick as the norm.  I just end up pressing two thin slices together so that they bake more evenly with the normal slices.

- red.november
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on June 10, 2007, 10:57:07 AM
Have you considered using two pepperoni slices stuck together instead of thicker pepperoni?  I also currently use Hormel pepperoni, and I often find lots of irregularly cut slices that are either twice as thick or half as thick as the norm.  I just end up pressing two thin slices together so that they bake more evenly with the normal slices.

November,

Yes, I did think of that as a possible solution. I just wasn't sure whether the slices would separate and slide all over the place. I have noticed that your pepperoni slices don't seem to exhibit much slide. In my case, I tend to use fewer slices of pepperoni on my pies than others, which may allow the slices to slide more and end up in a nonsymmetrical pattern (even though they went on symmetrically), but do you have a particular method to keep your pepperoni slices anchored?

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: November on June 10, 2007, 11:38:03 AM
do you have a particular method to keep your pepperoni slices anchored?

Peter,

I can't say that my method is meant to specifically address anchoring/sliding, but I suppose that once a certain coverage is used, the toppings become more stable.  The two "ring" patterns I use for a 14" pizza are the following:

Pepperoni Only: 16, 12, 6, 1
Pepperoni w/ Other Toppings: 12, 6, 1

I use the subdivision technique taught at Little Caesars and probably most restaurants, where one starts at 12 o'clock, then 6, 9, 3, 11, 10, 8, 7, 5, 4, 2, 1 for the outer ring, and a similar approach to the inner rings.

The doubled up slices sometimes separate a little, but not by enough to make much of a difference.  Since they still stay stuck together during baking for the most part, the doubling of mass helps keep the pepperoni from drying out as quickly.

- red.november
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 13, 2007, 09:32:03 AM
One of the pizza styles that I have been longing to try for some time using a natural starter/preferment has been the cracker style. When forum member mischeal posted on the same subject at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5594.msg47364.html#msg47364, I decided that when the weather cooled off a bit here in Texas I would attempt a cracker style pizza based on using a natural starter/preferment. That time arrived a couple of days ago.

For the dough formulation, I started with the basic Lehmann cracker-dough recipe recited earlier in this thread. What I was primarily after was a dough that would not be so stiff or dry that it would be difficult to roll out using an ordinary rolling pin. Toward that end, I modified the Lehmann recipe in several respects. First, I omitted the baking soda, as I had done before in versions of that recipe. Second, I lowered the hydration from 50% to 47%, in the hopes that that would yield a more crackery crust. Third, I replaced the IDY with a natural preferment. In this case, the preferment was based on the Camaldoli starter. The preferment was about 58% water and I used it at a rate of 25% of the weight of the formula flour. The 25% figure was selected because of the low hydration of the recipe (which suggested a low fermentation rate) and the fact that my Camaldoli starter had been in the refrigerator for some time and was not as active as I might have liked it. Were it more active, I would have used less.

To ready the starter when it came out of the refrigerator, I discarded about half of it and fed the rest with flour and water and allowed it to sit at room temperature (around 82 degrees F) for about 6 hours. I then measured out the required amount (in this case it was a bit less than 1/4 cup) and used it in the recipe. Finally, I used 1% sugar in the dough. The sugar was used as insurance since I wasn’t sure how long I would allow the dough to ferment at room temperature. As it turned out, I used a 24-hour room temperature fermentation. For that fermentation time, I could have omitted the sugar. The sugar itself was raw cane sugar, which I selected because of its higher mineral content, which is good for the yeast. 

To calculate the ingredient quantities, I used the preferment dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/preferment_calculator.html. The final dough formulation was as follows:

Total Formula:
Flour (100%):
Water (47%):
Salt (1.5%):
Oil (5%):
Sugar (1%):
Total (154.5%):

Preferment:
Flour:
Water:
Total:

Final Dough:
Flour:
Water:
Salt:
Preferment:
Oil:
Sugar:
Total:

186.36 g  |  6.57 oz | 0.41 lbs
87.59 g  |  3.09 oz | 0.19 lbs
2.8 g | 0.1 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.5 tsp | 0.17 tbsp
9.32 g | 0.33 oz | 0.02 lbs | 2.07 tsp | 0.69 tbsp
1.86 g | 0.07 oz | 0 lbs | 0.47 tsp | 0.16 tbsp
287.92 g | 10.16 oz | 0.63 lbs | TF = 0.065975
 
 
19.57 g | 0.69 oz | 0.04 lbs
27.02 g | 0.95 oz | 0.06 lbs
46.59 g | 1.64 oz | 0.1 lbs

 
166.79 g | 5.88 oz | 0.37 lbs
60.57 g | 2.14 oz | 0.13 lbs
2.8 g | 0.1 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.5 tsp | 0.17 tbsp
46.59 g | 1.64 oz | 0.1 lbs
9.32 g | 0.33 oz | 0.02 lbs | 2.07 tsp | 0.69 tbsp
1.86 g | 0.07 oz | 0 lbs | 0.47 tsp | 0.16 tbsp
287.92 g | 10.16 oz | 0.63 lbs  | TF = 0.065975
Note: The flour used was King Arthur Sir Lancelot (KASL) flour (sifted); the water temperature was 66 degrees F; the thickness factor used was 0.065; the preferment amount was 25% of the weight of flour, with a water content of 58%; the bowl residue compensation factor was 1.5%; the finished dough weight was 10 ounces, and the finished dough temperature was 82 degrees F.

I prepared the dough using the same method as described earlier in this thread, using the whisk/paddle/C-hook combination, but with the following changes: the sugar was dissolved in the water along with the salt, and the preferment was added to the water mixture after the sugar and salt had been completely dissolved. As before, I had to use some hand kneading to get the dough to come together into a unitary dough ball. It was a bit ragged, but it held together reasonably well. The finished dough was placed in a lightweight, thin-walled, transparent snap-fit takeout container (see the first photo below) and put on my kitchen counter. The dough was left there for 24 hours, at a night/day room temperature that averaged around 78 degrees F. For a good part of the 24-hour period, the dough rose little. It just slumped into a disk shape. But gradually, the dough filled the container at the sides and then started to rise. I estimate that the dough rose by a total of about 30 percent.

After the 24-hour period had expired, I rolled the dough out on a lightly floured work surface using a standard rolling pin. The dough handled extremely easily and offered no resistance to the rolling process. The skin itself was like a thin sheet of rubber, and could be lifted and stretched by hand with no difficulty. I rolled and stretched the dough out to 15” initially and then folded the outer edge inwardly and firmly crimped it using my fingers to form a rim, resulting in a final skin size of 14”. (I'm sure I could have rolled and stretched the dough out even further but my stone wouldn't be able to handle the larger size.) I then docked the skin using a dough docker (to see what a dough docker looks like, go to the second photo in Reply 1 in this thread), and transferred the docked skin onto a very lightly floured wooden peel.

Since I decided that I would pre-bake the skin, I brushed some light olive oil over the docked skin, as was suggested earlier in this thread by November. Doing this would serve to increase the crispiness of the finished crust and provide a partial barrier to the pizza sauce and mitigate its migration into the dough. The docked skin was baked on a pizza stone that had been placed on the lowest oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at about 500-550 degrees F. Once the skin was deposited on the pizza stone, I turned the oven temperature down to 450 degrees F. Bubbles formed in the skin and, after about 4-5 minutes, or when the skin had turned a light brown, I removed the skin from the oven and dressed it in preparation for finishing the baking of the pizza. For sauce, I used only 6-in-1 tomatoes (about 7 ounces) right out of the can and some dried Sicilian oregano and some dried Italian oregano from my garden. For cheese, I used shredded Grande whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces). I used that cheese because it holds up well to long oven bake times without breaking down and releasing fats onto the pizza. Hormel pepperoni slices finished the dressing of the pizza.

Once the pizza was dressed, it was redeposited onto the pizza stone and allowed to bake (at 450 degrees F) until the cheeses had started to melt and to turn light brown and the crust was darkening. That took about 7-8 minutes. I then moved the pizza from the stone to the top oven rack position, where it remained for another 2 minutes or so to get increased top crust browning.

The pizza itself was delicious. The crust was crispy from edge to center, with a crunchy rim, and the slices remained straight and rigid when held by the rim. Where the bubbles in the skin formed, they charred and contributed to a nice flavor of char on the bottom of the crust (see the third photo below). I had all I could do to keep myself from devouring the entire pizza at one sitting.

The second and third photos below show the finished pizza. It’s a really easy pizza to make. The dough coming out of the mixer bowl can simply be left at room temperature for around 24 hours (and, I suspect, even longer), and the dough, even at 47% hydration, is so easy to work with and shape and stretch out to the desired size. Quite possibly, the preferment alters the dough structure to help make this possible. And the use of the natural preferment enhances the finished crust flavor. I suspect that if one uses less preferment than I used (maybe around 10% of the weight of flour) and allows for a longer room temperature fermentation (maybe close to 40 hours), the crust flavors should be even better. That may be my next experiment with this style.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: November on October 13, 2007, 10:09:49 AM
Peter,

That's a pretty good looking pizza.  Of course wolfing it down in one sitting could be justified by the fact that it's a thin crust pizza, right?

- red.november
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 13, 2007, 11:43:35 AM
November,

Thanks.

I read somewhere that a dough in the bowl loses about 2% of its weight, due to losses of gas and moisture in the dough and normal bowl losses. In my case, I used a bowl residue factor of 1.5%, which got me a final dough weight of 10 ounces, which is the number I wanted. I also read that a typical loaf of bread loses about 11% of its weight during proofing and baking. Using that latter number (even though it may be different for a pizza skin that is slowly baked) and adding together the weights of the sauce, cheese, oil for coating the dough, and the pepperoni slices, and allowing for some loss of liquid in the sauce, cheese and pepperoni slices, I estimated that the total weight of the pizza was around 20 ounces. Next time, I should actually weight the entire pizza. Fortunately, I only eat until I am satisfied, even though I was tempted this time. Beyond the point where I am sated, I find that the pizza slices just don't seem to taste as good to me. I'd rather save the leftover pizza for another time when I will like it as well as the original slices. 

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Randy on October 13, 2007, 03:26:54 PM
I have not yet tried this style cracker crust but your pictures and description make this recipe hard to resist.

Randy
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 13, 2007, 03:38:28 PM
Randy,

It still isn't the easiest pizza to make, although the last one was the easiest so far even though it was based on the use of a natural preferment. With each pizza in this thread, and with some helpful tips from Novermber, I have gotten to understand things better. Unfortunately, I don't have a frame of reference for the cracker style since I have never had a commercial cracker crust pizza as best I can recall. It took me a while just to learn the distinction between crispy and cracker-like. If I hadn't stumbled across the Lehmann cracker-style recipe, I may not have decided to take another stab at the cracker style.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 16, 2007, 03:39:21 PM
Today I made another preferment version of the last cracker style pizza I made and reported on in Reply 17. As part of my experimentation with the basic recipe, I made a few more changes.

First, I used King Arthur bread flour, which I supplemented with the Hodgston’s brand of vital wheat gluten (VWG). I used November’s Mixed Mass Percentage Calculator at http://foodsim.toastguard.com/ (http://foodsim.toastguard.com/) to calculate the respective amounts of the KA bread flour and the VWG I would need to achieve the same protein content (14.2%) as the KASL. I used the KA bread flour simply because I had run out of KASL. I chose not to alter the nominal hydration (47%) of the last dough recipe to compensate for the addition of the VWG (the usual recommendation is to add 1 ½ times the weight of the VWG in added water), which had the effect of lowering the total formula hydration to about 44-45%. That was intentional since I wanted to test the lower hydration rate to see if it would yield an ever greater cracker quality of the finished crust.

Second, I used a more active Camaldoli starter this time, at a rate of 12% of the total formula flour, which was about half its prior rate. I was hoping that the dough would make it out to about 1 ½ days of room temperature fermentation, but even at the reduced amount of the starter, the dough doubled in about 12 hours and was quite gassy. I elected to let it ferment to about 32 hours anyway, at an average room temperature of about 78 degrees F, so that I could bake the pizza for lunch today. I punched the dough down and reshaped it at about 28 hours, with the expectation that it would soften again when time came to roll out the dough.

Third, I used a 14” perforated dark anodized (PSTK) pizzatools.com cutter pan rather than a preheated pizza stone to bake the pizza. This change was for experimental purposes only, to see if I could replicate the results from using the pizza stone. For a photo of a perforated cutter pan, see http://www.pizzatools.com/productdisplay.aspx?catid=51&c=Cutter_Pans_Perforated. (http://www.pizzatools.com/productdisplay.aspx?catid=51&c=Cutter_Pans_Perforated.)

The dough formulation I used this time was as follows:

Total Formula:
Flour (100%):
Water (47%):
Salt (1.5%):
Oil (5%):
Sugar (1%):
Total (154.5%):

Preferment:
Flour:
Water:
Total:

Final Dough:
Flour:
Water:
Salt:
Preferment:
Oil:
Sugar:
Total:

186.36 g  |  6.57 oz | 0.41 lbs
87.59 g  |  3.09 oz | 0.19 lbs
2.8 g | 0.1 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.5 tsp | 0.17 tbsp
9.32 g | 0.33 oz | 0.02 lbs | 2.07 tsp | 0.69 tbsp
1.86 g | 0.07 oz | 0 lbs | 0.47 tsp | 0.16 tbsp
287.92 g | 10.16 oz | 0.63 lbs | TF = 0.065975
 
 
9.84 g | 0.35 oz | 0.02 lbs
12.52 g | 0.44 oz | 0.03 lbs
22.36 g | 0.79 oz | 0.05 lbs

 
176.52 g | 6.23 oz | 0.39 lbs
75.07 g | 2.65 oz | 0.17 lbs
2.8 g | 0.1 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.5 tsp | 0.17 tbsp
22.36 g | 0.79 oz | 0.05 lbs
9.32 g | 0.33 oz | 0.02 lbs | 2.07 tsp | 0.69 tbsp
1.86 g | 0.07 oz | 0 lbs | 0.47 tsp | 0.16 tbsp
287.92 g | 10.16 oz | 0.63 lbs  | TF = 0.065975
Note: The flour used was KA bread flour (6.05 oz.) as supplemented with the Hodgston’s brand of VWG (0.17 oz., or about 1 ½ t); the thickness factor used was 0.065; the Camaldoli preferment was used at 12% of the weight of the formula flour, with 56% water content; the water temperature was 66 degrees F; the finished dough weight was 10 oz. and the finished dough temperature was 84.4 degrees F; the bowl residue compensation was 1.5 %.

The dough was prepared in the same manner as the last cracker-style pizza I reported on in Reply 17. Unlike the last dough, however, the dough this time was harder to roll out. It wasn’t because of any dryness of the dough but rather because of a high degree of elasticity. I suspect that reshaping the dough after 28 hours was the culprit. Next time, I will not punch the dough down before using it. To overcome the elasticity of the dough, I simply let it rest for about 5-10 minutes a couple of times as I was rolling it out to its final size of about 14”. The final dough was docked using a dough docker (see Reply 1 for a photo) and put into the perforated cutter pan. I spread the skin all of the way to the outer inside edge of the pan without attempting to form a rim this time.

Before putting the pizza skin into the oven, I brushed it with a bit of light olive oil. The skin was then pre-baked in a preheated 500 degree F oven, at the lowest oven rack position, for about 4 ½ minutes, or just until the skin started to turn light brown. I then removed the pre-baked skin and dressed it the same way (just about identically) as the last pizza. The dressed pizza was then returned to the lowest rack position of the oven, still in the cutter pan, and baked for about 5-6 minutes longer, or just until the cheese was turning light brown. I then moved the pizza (still in the cutter pan) to the top oven rack position for about 2-3 minutes, to get additional top crust browning.

The photos below show the finished product. As with the last pizza, the one I made today was crispy and flavorful. Even with the different flour combination and preferment values, I would say that the results from using the perforated cutter pan were quite comparable to what I achieved last time using the pizza stone. If I didn’t have a pizza stone, I would be perfectly satisfied with using the perforated cutter pan. Moreover, based on what I have learned about cracker-style dough formulations and baking techniques, I think I may even be able to get better performance using perforated disks than I have before. 

As a footnote, I might add that this time I took “before” and “after” weights of today’s pizza. The weight of the ingredients that went into the pizza was 23.40 ounces. The baked weight of the pizza was 19.70 ounces. So, there was a 15.8% difference. It might be tempting to consume the entire pizza at one sitting, but 19.70 ounces is still a lot of pizza, no matter how you slice it (pun intended).

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: November on October 16, 2007, 06:06:00 PM
Peter,

558.5 grams is remarkably light considering the mass of a Pizza Hut "THIN 'N CRISPY" cheese pizza (749g):

http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts-C00001-01c22QM.html

- red.november
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 16, 2007, 06:36:02 PM
November,

Maybe it is the amount of cheese Pizza Hut uses. I used 6.46 ounces (Grande whole milk mozzarella), along with 1.7 ounces of pepperoni slices (one of those Hormel mini-packs with 30 slices), and 5.40 ounces of pizza sauce. The dough weight before forming into a skin was 9.85 ounces (as compared with 10 ounces when first made).

As you can see, my pepperoni slices still don't want to stay in place ;D. One of the things I discovered is that when a skin is pre-baked, bubbles form in the pre-baked crust and create an uneven surface. When the cheese is placed over that surface and it becomes molten, it causes toppings to shift along with it. I would still like to make a cracker-type pizza without having to pre-bake it or use a super low hydration in the dough. The last two pizzas were mainly to test the idea of using a preferment to make a cracker-style dough. I have one left to make, based on the Ischia starter. Then I will go back to commercial yeast.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Randy on October 16, 2007, 07:05:14 PM
". . . Unfortunately, I don't have a frame of reference for the cracker style since I have never had a commercial cracker crust pizza . . ."

Peter

I have tried several Pizza Inn cracker crust that is the basis of DKM's recipe but the modern cracker you buy today is not as good as DKM's recipe both in flavor and in texture.

I have not had the chance to try the famed Chicago cracker crust or the Roundtable pizza.

Randy
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 17, 2007, 07:47:57 PM
As I alluded to in my last post in this thread, I used the Ischia starter as the basis for another dough to make another cracker-style pizza. I made that pizza today.

As usual, I made some changes (besides the starter used) and these were mainly in the way the Ischia starter was activated and how the dough was processed in preparation for making the pizza. In particular, the Ischia starter was activated along the general lines recommended by Ed Wood, that is, by feeding the Ischia starter with flour and water after the starter was removed from the refrigerator and allowing it to sit at room temperature for about 12 hours. At the expiration of that time, I combined the starter with the remaining ingredients to prepare the dough. The dough formulation I used was identical to the last one I used with the Camaldoli starter. Only the starter and its mode of activation were different. Unlike the dough that was made using the Camaldoli starter, the dough based on the Ischia starter rose at a much slower rate, even though the amount of the Ischia starter, as a percentage of the total formula flour, was the same as I used for the Camaldoli starter. As it turned out, the total fermentation time of the Ischia dough was over 50 hours. I estimate that the dough rose by about 25% over all that time.

The long fermentation time did not impair the dough or its handling qualities. I was able to easily roll the dough out to 15” with no difficulty. However, I processed the dough skin differently this time.

First, after I had rolled the dough out to 15”, I folded the outer edge of the skin under the skin and crimped it shut to provide a rim. After docking the bottom of the skin, I flipped it over and docked the top side also. So, the rim was seamless when viewed from the top. Next, as before, I brushed the top of the skin with a small amount of olive oil, to impede migration of the sauce into the dough.

After the skin was sauced, I added the cheese (shredded Grande mozzarella cheese) and pepperoni slices. I pressed the slices of pepperoni into the cheese to better anchor them. It will be noted that I did not pre-bake the skin before dressing it. Instead, the dressed pizza went directly into the oven onto a pizza stone that had been placed on the bottom oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at about 500-550 degrees F. After about 4 minutes of baking on the stone, I lowered the oven temperature to 450 degrees F, and continued the baking at that temperature for about another 3 minutes, or until the cheese was melting and the top crust was starting to brown. I then removed the pizza from the stone to the top oven rack position, where the pizza baked for about another 2 minutes, to achieve additional top crust browning.

Ordinarily, I would have removed the pizza from the oven at this point. However, this time, I turned off the oven and moved the pizza back onto the stone, for about another 3 minutes. I then placed the pizza back on the top oven rack position for about 2 minutes. The objective of this exercise was to allow the pizza to dry out more and form a more crispy crust, but at a temperature that was low enough as not to cause the cheese to break down too much or become excessively brown. These extra steps proved to be beneficial in providing a crispier crust. However, I believe that pre-baking the crust is better for the cheese. If a low-quality cheese is used with a long bake time, it is likely to break down and release fats, even at lower temperatures. Using more cheese, or using larger pieces, or using the cheese cold, may help mitigate the breakdown problem.

The photos below show the finished product. As with its predecessors, today’s pizza was crispy and cracker-like, although not to the same degree as the last two preferment-based pizzas that were pre-baked before dressing. However, the slices were firm and not droopy when held out straight, and the rim was definitely crunchy. Also, I thought that the pizza had a nicer overall appearance, particularly with the rim folded under the pizza (which is best seen in the third photo below), which created a cleaner shape without ragged edges. The pizza itself was as tasty as the ones that preceded it. As the pizza cooled, I found that the slices actually became a bit crispier and more cracker-like.

The next step in my cracker-style pizza education is to buy a cracker-style pizza from one of the pizzerias near me. None of the local independent pizzerias make that style that I am aware of, but I believe that the big chains in my area, including Pizza Hut, Domino’s and Pizza Inn, sell thin-and-crispy/cracker-style pizzas. I am looking forward to learning from the experience.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 19, 2007, 06:26:22 PM
The photos below are of a 14” pepperoni crispy/cracker-style pizza that I purchased today from Domino’s to compare against the cracker-style pizzas I have made and reported on in this thread. I decided to go with Domino’s rather than Pizza Hut or Pizza Inn because I had read, and also been told, that the Domino’s cracker-style pizza was one of their best pizzas.

I was, of course, interested in seeing how the pizza would be prepared. The answer came almost immediately when I saw the gal who was to assemble my pizza take a par-baked crust from a covered stack of them on the shelf above the make-line area. I asked to see one of the par-baked crusts and saw that it was a perfectly round and perfectly flat (rimless) crust, about an eighth of an inch thick, very lightly browned (but not entirely uniformly), and with docking holes on both sides. The docking holes were about 1 ½” apart. After the gal dressed the pizza with sauce, cheese (diced) and pepperoni, she put it into or on what appeared to be a dark or seasoned disk or shallow pan, which then went into one end of their Middleby Marshall conveyor oven. It came out the other end in about 6-7 minutes. I was told that the stack of par-baked crusts, which were at room temperature, would last for one day. The rest were kept in the cooler until ready to be brought out to room temperature to be used. I was also told that all the pizza doughs are delivered from commissaries. Nothing is made in the store itself. It became clear very quickly that none of the workers knew anything about their pizzas—only how to assemble and bake them. When asked how I wanted the pizza cut, either in slices or "Chicago-style" in rectagular pieces, I opted for the sliced form, so that I could compare the slices with my own.

As for the Domino’s crust itself, I found it to be like a cracker, but on the soft side without much body, rather than on the crunchy side that you could hear when you bit into it, although it had some flakiness. From the taste standpoint, it occurred to me that maybe the crust didn’t have any yeast at all but possibly a chemical leavening system or only baking soda. I could not tell what kind of flour was used. Sometimes I can tell by the taste of the crust, but when I tasted only the crust without any sauce or cheese, it had a chemical taste that masked the taste of the flour itself.

I concluded that the crusts of my pizzas were crispier and more cracker-like than the Domino’s pizza crust, and with a better overall taste. I may have to try some other cracker-style pizzas in my area to get a more representative sample, but for now I have concluded that my favorite cracker-style pizza of the ones I have made and reported on in this thread to date is the one that was made by layering two skins, as described in Reply 1. That layering method creates a crispier crust with a flaky texture that you can hear when you run the pizza cutter through it or bite into it, which are features that I like in the cracker-style.

BTW, the price of the Domino's pizza was $13.63 (obviously I was coupon-less).

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 20, 2007, 12:19:59 PM
From this webpage, it looks like the dough for the Domino's thin crust pizza includes both yeast and a chemical leavening system, plus baking soda: http://www.dominos.com/home/menu/ingredients.jsp (under Crunchy Thin Crust).

CRUST (THIN CRUST): Flour (Wheat, Malted Barley), Water, Soybean Oil, Yeast, Salt, Dextrose, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Corn Meal (used in preparation).

Both the sodium acid pyrophosphate and monocalcium phosphate are chemical leavening agents used in baked goods to get them to rise. According to wikipedia, the monocalcium phosphate is acidic in nature and provides a better balance towards the other common leavening agent, baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate), that is alkalic in nature. This apparently adjusts the pH of the final end product.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 20, 2007, 01:50:18 PM
Today, for lunch, I did a side-by-side test of reheated leftover slices from the Domino’s pizza and the last two cracker-style pizzas I made and discussed in this thread. I liked mine better, primarily because I thought the textures of my crusts were better, especially the one that was pre-baked, and they did not have the chemical taste of the Domino’s crust. I suspect that had I started my cracker-style pizza eating career eating Domino’s thin crust pizzas, then they would have become the benchmark against which to compare all others, and I might have preferred the Domino’s pizzas over the others. I have learned never to underestimate the power of conditioning.

I decided today in light of this thread, http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,102.msg698.html#msg698, with the not-too-promising title of Pizza Inn sucks, not to try the Pizza Inn version of the cracker-style pizza. Instead, I think I will follow Randy’s oft-administered advice and try the DKM cracker-style pizza.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: BTB on October 21, 2007, 09:54:44 AM
Peter, I've followed with great interest your remarks and various trials regarding cracker crust style pizza recipes.  I look forward to every "episode."  Such style had been one of my favorites when I previously lived in the Chicago area (now in Florida).  In Chicago, such a style was represented by the Candlelite, Marie's, Giovanni's and several other great pizzerias than I can't remember right now.  I know of no national chain (e.g. Domino's, Pizza Hut, Pappa John's, Pizza Inn, Shakey's, etc.) that come even close to the delicious cracker crust thin pizzas that I used to enjoy for so many years.  For any of you who are still enjoying such great pizza styles, hold onto and savour the moment. 

I had mainly in recent times been trying to duplicate (with mixed success) some of the great Chicago deep dish pizzas that I had also tremendously enjoyed, but then tried the DKM cracker crust recipe (last Spring).  While the pizza looked nice (I think I posted a picture somewhere here), it was a flop.  We were all disappointed in the result (flavor, texture, lack of crispness, difficulty in rolling out, etc.).  I was so unhappy with it that I hadn't attempted another since.  It probably wasn't the recipe itself but something that I didn't do right in putting the ingredients all together or the process, I'm sure.  But my interest has been rekindled in reading about your recent efforts (the pictures caused great salivation on my taste buds).  I plan in the near future to try some of the recipes that you had recently attempted.  At this time, what is your best thinking on which to try?

I must admit, I am totally in the dark about what you are referring to when you used the "preferment."  I read some of the threads about starters, but got more confused than enlightened.  Do you simply mix the flour and water for the preferment and wait till it bubbles or what?  I don't want to get deeply involved with such, but am curious.

Just for general information, here on the Gulf Coast side of Florida there are two great examples of cracker crust pizzas that can be had at Paul's Chicago Pizza in East Clearwater and Charlie and Millie's in Seminole.  If anyone knows of any others (besides the "chains"), please post about them.
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 21, 2007, 12:38:56 PM
BTB,

I am glad to hear that you have been enjoying the several “episodes” so far. I try to be very accurate in the reporting of my experiments and results because I don’t want people to think that it is really easy to adapt a dough recipe intended for a commercial setting to a home environment where the oven doesn’t have the right BTUs to produce results comparable to what a commercial deck oven or even a conveyor oven can produce. At some point, after I have tried a few more cracker-style dough formulations (including another Lehmann cracker-style formulation and one by John Correll), I intend to summarize my findings on what I think I have learned about the cracker style in a home oven setting. I will be pacing myself with the production of cracker style pizzas so that I don’t overdose on that style and have to seek remedial treatment.

I wouldn’t be too concerned about the preferment versions of the Lehmann cracker style. That was somewhat of a diversion on my part from the Lehmann dough formulation that I started out with on this thread and was prompted by a recent post by forum member mischael about whether is was possible to make a cracker style crust using a starter/preferment. I enjoy converting dough recipes using commercial yeast to starter/preferment versions, so it was natural for me to do this with the cracker style also. I had already used natural starters/preferments with the NY style, Neapolitan style, deep-dish style, thin Chicago style, and crispy style (e.g., DeLorenzo clones) so I already had a good feel as to how to do something similar with the cracker style. About the only basic style left for me at this point is the American style and, since that is just an extension of the NY style, I know intuitively that it should be easy to use a starter/preferment with that style also.

The major takeaway for me after doing all of the starter/preferment crusts is that a starter or preferment is really just another form of leavening agent, albeit with additional contributions to crust flavor and texture. For most people, I think that using a commercial yeast is the way to go for most pizza styles, although I think it is perfectly appropriate for people to experiment with starters/preferments in order to achieve the objectives that they have set for themselves. You can learn an awful lot from using starters/preferments. It’s like getting a graduate degree. It expands your knowledge base and maybe even your end results but isn’t really an absolute requirement.

In my case with the recent cracker style pizzas, I simply fed my natural starters with flour and water and used them after they had reached the state of readiness, as evidenced by the starters bubbling and rising in their containers. My starters had been in the refrigerator for several weeks before I fed them, so they were not at the level of peak activity, although the Camaldoli starter was more active after its additional feeding. So, it took longer for the doughs to ferment. But, even at that, I have learned that it is hard to keep a good starter/preferment down. The doughs might look lethargic, even dead, but they are still alive and will usually end up producing good results.

As I noted earlier, my favorite Lehmann cracker style in this thread to date is the one that used layering, as discussed in Reply 1. It is a bit tedious to do the layering, but that is the price I am willing to pay to get the results I am after. I have tentatively concluded that there are basically two cracker style formulations reported in the literature—a “low hydration” formulation, such as the DKM dough formulation, and a “medium hydration” formulation, such as the Lehmann formulation. The medium hydration doughs are much easier to roll out than the low hydration doughs. I also think that the medium hydration formulations are more forgiving in the sense that they don’t require precise and accurate ingredient weights. The hydrations can vary by several percent and not affect the end results. I also originally thought that the low hydration formulation would not require any pre-baking of crusts, but from my recent readings at the Cracker Style boards of the forum it appears that that is not always so and can vary depending on who made the pizzas and under what set of conditions. By contrast, I think that the medium hydration formulations almost always require pre-baking of the skins, except when the layering method is used. So, there are tradeoffs for both types of formulations. I suspect I will have more to say on this subject when I have gotten a few more cracker style formulations under my belt (assuming my belt still fits). I think my next experiment (“episode”) will be with the DKM formulation, using Harvest King flour (which Randy and scott r say is a great flour for the DKM style), using my Cuisinart food processor to make the dough (based on Steve's experience and recommendation), and my 14” pizzatools.com dark anodized cutter pan. I am leaning toward pre-baking the skin (docked) but without using the layering method as elsegundo and DKM do.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: BTB on October 22, 2007, 02:52:39 PM
Peter, thanks for the information.  I am looking forward to reading more about your "cracker crust adventures" as this style of pizza can be so good and definitely needs to be developed and studied more.  A couple of observations:  when I was at Marie's in Chicago this past summer (famous cracker crust pizzeria on Chicago's north side), which is a large restaurant with the pizza making table and oven in the front window, I observed that the dough was rolled out at the table, the crust was NOT pre-baked before the sauce, toppings and cheese were put on, and that the dough was not a dry one like the DKM forumulation, but appeared more like what you described as a “medium hydration” formulation.  My recollection of the preparation process at a couple of other "cracker crust" pizzerias that I observed was similar.  I am not adverse to pre-baking the crust, but wonder why some of the pizza places that specialize in such can do without the pre-baking.  Maybe it's their special ovens.
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 22, 2007, 04:04:33 PM
I am not adverse to pre-baking the crust, but wonder why some of the pizza places that specialize in such can do without the pre-baking.  Maybe it's their special ovens.

BTB,

I personally think it has to do with the ovens that professional pizza operators use rather than the dough formulation per se. Commercial deck ovens are more shallow than the typical home oven and have high BTU outputs, and commercial conveyor impingement ovens circulate a lot of heat around the pizzas.

A dry dough should not be an impediment to making a good cracker style pizza, especially in a commercial setting with the right equipment, such as sheeters/rollers and stamping tools. As noted at this post, http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5642.msg47874.html#msg47874 (Reply 5), and the posts surrounding that post, forum member John Fazzari and his family are able to successfully make cracker style pizzas using a dough with 37% hydration and without docking or pre-baking the crusts (which would not be practical in a volume environment such as John alluded to in the above thread). I don't know if John has ever tried making his cracker-style pizzas in his home oven, but if so he may be able to offer some insights on the limitations to that method, if any.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: BTB on October 22, 2007, 07:11:08 PM
I thought I would share some photos of some of the cracker crust-like pizzas that I and some others had been mentioning.  These pictures are from the Candlelite Pizzeria on the far North side of Chicago.  It had always been one of my favorites for a thin crisp crust pizza. 
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: BTB on October 22, 2007, 07:14:26 PM
And the first picture here is of the great pizza served at Marie's in Chicago followed by that from Zaffiro's in Milwaukee, which is famous for their cracker crust pizza also.
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: BTB on October 22, 2007, 07:18:21 PM
And like the Cubs vs. the Sox, the Chicago South Siders will argue that their Vito & Nicks is the best pizza in the world.  While excellent, I would consider their style to be borderline cracker crust.
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 22, 2007, 07:47:22 PM
BTB,

Thanks for the photos. It looks like I will have to start using the "Chicago" cut rather than the slice cut. I don't want people to think that I am some sort of hick.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: fazzari on October 23, 2007, 11:11:37 AM
Peter
I know you've read just about everything, but have you seen this description by Tom Lehman:
http://pmq.com/mag/2002summer/doughformer.shtml

I'll add a little more later when I have some time
John
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 23, 2007, 11:27:39 AM
John,

Yes, I am well aware of the Lehmann article and have read it several times and referred others to it on several occasions. The part that applies to the cracker style crusts is this:

This forming method involves the use of a dough sheeter to form dough balls into flat dough pieces for use as pizza crusts. It may also involve the use of large dough sheeters for producing an endless ribbon of dough from which individual pizza skins are cut out using special circular cutting dies. This forming method generally produces a crust with thick, heavy internal cell wells. This is created by the way the dough passes through the sheeting roll(s), disrupting the gas cells, and degassing the dough along the way. If this dough is to be used to create an open cellular structure, it must be allowed to proof (rise) for a period of time (20 to 70 minutes) between the forming and baking stages. As the dough passes through the sheeting roll(s) it receives additional work, much like additional mixing. This work has a tendency to further toughen the dough through gluten development, which can result in unwanted snap-back, or dough shrinkage after forming. This may need to be addressed through the use of certain additives containing dough-relaxing materials such as L-cysteine, glutathoine, deodorized vegetable powder, or sodium metebisulfite. If one of these materials is not used, the formed dough piece may need to be set aside for 10 or 15 minutes, allowing it to relax a bit, and then passed through the sheeter again to bring the shell/skin out to full diameter.

One type of crust comes to mind when I think about sheeting. This is the old, cracker-type crust. You know which one I mean, this is the one where you will have a lap of crumbs after eating your "crispy" pizza. I was raised in Chicago, and during my youth, this was the predominant type of pizza made there. You can still find it there, but you've got to look for it. It just isn't everyplace like it used to be. The thing about this type of crust is that it's made from a low water absorption dough with a high protein (typical pizza) flour. The resulting dough is extremely tough and difficult to shape. Add to this, the fact that the dough is usually formed very thin, and then folded once or twice, and reformed again. This makes for a very tough and difficult dough to form by any other method, except for sheeting.

Sheeted doughs are created to be flat across their entire surface. With this in mind, the finished crusts also tend to be somewhat flat, lacking a high, rolled, or raised edge unless it has been mechanically formed into the dough piece. In many cases, sheeted crusts exhibit a uniformly flat, poker chip appearance unless allowed to proof for a short time after forming.


I look forward to your additional comments.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: fazzari on October 25, 2007, 11:48:05 PM
Hi Peter
I tried an experiment.  I took home a piece of our dough (37% hydration) after mixing. After about a 2 hour rise time, I laminated half the dough with rolling pin, folding the dough on itself 3 times.  I produced an 8 inch, 6 ounce skin, which I refrigerated until day 2.  The second half, I threw in the refrigerator overnight, brought out to room temperature for 5 hours and laminated as above....this dough was the easier of the two to roll.  As I suspected, working such a low hydration dough so hard very easily made a cracker crust...I hope you can see how thick the bottom crust actually is (sorry about the picture, i'm kinda new at this).  Baked in home oven for about 7 minutes at 550...probably would have cooked better around 475...but the result was a success.  Now, how do you mix a low hydration dough at home??
After rereading Lehmann's article, I realize we don't make a cracker crust at my restaurant...Over the years we've done as much as we can to minimize the laminations, because you come up with a nice tender, crispy crust....this is more the crust my family and customers have come to love...but, I guarantee with just a couple more folds, they would be cracker.!!!!

John
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on October 26, 2007, 08:33:41 PM
John,

Thank you for running the experiment. It looks like a decent fermentation and a nice, long warm-up time helps with the lamination process. I saw a cracker-style dough formulation recently that called for using PZ-44 to keep the dough from springing back when being worked into a skin. I have read that the PZ-44 is a common additive where the dough is to be run through a sheeter/roller.

With a thickness factor of around 0.10, which is equal to what one might use for a thin NY style crust, I wondered how you would get a crackery crust with your dough formulation, even with the low hydration. I will have to give your recipe a try sometime to see the crust texture you mentioned.

As for your question how one mixes a low hydration dough at home, I would say that the best way is to use a food processor. Tonight I made a 36% hydration cracker style dough using my 14-cup Cuisinart food processor. The finished dough weighed almost 23 ounces. I used the pulse feature to combine the dry ingredients and the rehydrated ADY yeast/water mix, followed by the oil, and then at full speed for about 30 seconds until the dough looked like a moist cornmeal. I then emptied the contents of the bowl onto a work surface and squeezed everything together into a ball. This series of steps worked beautifully. If I succeed with the dough, I will post pictures at the appropriate thread. I am following a specific recipe so I won't be rolling out the dough in advance to make it easier to form into a skin, as you suggested several posts ago. Maybe another time.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on April 29, 2012, 08:09:04 PM
I mixed the cracker style dough with the Ischia preferment in the food processor.  I figured if the food processor worked out for the other attempt I am making on a cracker style, why wouldn’t the food processor work out with a higher hydration dough. 

I used Peter method in mixing the sugar and salt into the water, and mixing well, before I put the Ischia preferment in.  I used a lower amount of preferment than Peter did because the dough ball will be tried to be left at room temperature until Tuesday.  I sure don’t know if it will last that long and not overferment, but at least I am giving it a try.  I used the “poppy seed” trick so I could watch the expansion of the dough ball better.  The dough ball was left in the plastic wrap and put into a plastic container with a lid on.  I am not sure if I should have tried to oil the dough ball, or taken it out of the plastic wrap before putting it into the plastic container.  I did use KASL for the flour.

I also used Mad_Ernie tip again posted at Reply 186  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg184469.html#msg184469 and just dumped out the coarse mixture on plastic wrap and in one instant it was shaped into a dough ball.  I sure couldn’t have compressed this dough ball very much.

I sure don’t know how the food processor will workout with this cracker style with a preferment, but thought what would be the harm in trying.  It sure didn’t take long for the mixture to be crumbly.  This mixture was moister than my other attempt I am trying though.  This was really a quick and easy dough to make if the cracker style pizza turns out okay.

This is the formulation I am trying and the pictures of the process so far.  The first picture is of the Ischia starter before I used some of it to add to the mixture of water, salt and sugar.

Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on April 29, 2012, 08:11:07 PM
Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on April 29, 2012, 08:12:15 PM
Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on April 30, 2012, 10:13:54 AM
The preferment cracker style dough ball doesn’t look like it is fermenting at all after about 14 hrs. of room temperature fermentation at about 70 degrees F.  The dough ball does smell like Ischia starter though. I don’t know what the white spots on the dough are, but hopefully from using the food processor I did get the ingredients mixed right.  Does anyone think my dough might not have been mixed right?  The dough does seem somewhat moist, so really I don’t see how this dough will be able to make a cracker style pizza.  The spacing of the poppy seeds are still 1" apart.

Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: DNA Dan on April 30, 2012, 12:05:39 PM
Looks fine Norma. The white spots are usually un-hydrated bits of flour or possibly yeast colonies struggling to survive. With the hydration this low you won't see much in terms of volume increasing. Just go with the recipe, it's strange I know (Especially after perfecting very developed slack doughs), but it works most the time for whatever reason. I think it's essentially a pie dough with less fat. 
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on April 30, 2012, 06:35:59 PM
Looks fine Norma. The white spots are usually un-hydrated bits of flour or possibly yeast colonies struggling to survive. With the hydration this low you won't see much in terms of volume increasing. Just go with the recipe, it's strange I know (Especially after perfecting very developed slack doughs), but it works most the time for whatever reason. I think it's essentially a pie dough with less fat. 

Dan,

Thanks for your explanation and encouragement!  :) I also think that a cracker style is basically a pie dough, but with yeast added.  :-D

Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on April 30, 2012, 06:40:33 PM
When I returned from market today the preferment cracker-style dough does look like it is starting to ferment, but it is square since I put it in a square container. 

Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: DNA Dan on May 01, 2012, 06:18:02 PM
Well Norma how did it work out for you? or are you still fermenting?
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on May 01, 2012, 07:34:47 PM
Dan,

Tuesday's is when Norma does her baking at market, and she usually returns to the forum to post some of her results at about 8:30 PM Central Standard Time. The rest are usually posted the next day, especially if she baked a lot of test pizzas.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on May 01, 2012, 09:45:16 PM
Well Norma how did it work out for you? or are you still fermenting?

Dan,

Tuesday's is when Norma does her baking at market, and she usually returns to the forum to post some of her results at about 8:30 PM Central Standard Time. The rest are usually posted the next day, especially if she baked a lot of test pizzas.

Peter

Dan, Peter and anyone else that is interested,

These are the results of the first attempt at a cracker style pizza with the Ischia starter.

The Ischia natural starter preferment cracker style pie turned out very well in the taste of the crust and was like a cracker style I would enjoy all the time.  I am not still sure if I made a real cracker style pizza because I never tasted one before, but I will give this one a thumbs up.  ;D  Steve even liked this pie, as did my taste testers.  It was crackery as far as I know.  The skin was par-bake without any oil and then the olive oil was brushed on the par-baked crust before the tomato sauce, blend of mozzarellas, cheddar, Swiss cheese and hard salami were added.  I was afraid of how the dough looked to be fermenting last evening and put it into the refrigerator overnight.  It was taken out this morning and left to room temperature ferment until about 3:00 pm today when the pizza was made.  The rolled out dough was also docked lightly. 

Thanks Peter for giving me this alternative cracker style pie to try.

Norma 
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on May 01, 2012, 09:47:15 PM
Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on May 01, 2012, 09:50:29 PM
Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on May 01, 2012, 09:51:32 PM
Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on May 01, 2012, 09:52:47 PM
Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on May 01, 2012, 09:53:49 PM
Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: nick57 on May 01, 2012, 10:31:22 PM
Great pics. Looks like you got some great bubbles and lamination. Was it really crispy? Looks like it. Makes me want to start a ball of dough right now. Gongrats on your success.
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on May 01, 2012, 10:48:50 PM
Great pics. Looks like you got some great bubbles and lamination. Was it really crispy? Looks like it. Makes me want to start a ball of dough right now. Gongrats on your success.

Nick,

The slices were crispy, but the flavor of the crust using the Ischia starter was what made the crust taste better in my opinion.

Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: DNA Dan on May 02, 2012, 01:31:29 AM
Dan,

Tuesday's is when Norma does her baking at market, and she usually returns to the forum to post some of her results at about 8:30 PM Central Standard Time. The rest are usually posted the next day, especially if she baked a lot of test pizzas.

Peter

Wow.. that sounds a little "stalkerish"! Thanks for the heads-up. The suspense was killing me.

Norma, so this was a total of ~28 hour ferment? Was this done entirely refridgerated? or did you room temp any of it? Sorry if I missed this somewhere.
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on May 02, 2012, 07:38:19 AM

Norma, so this was a total of ~28 hour ferment? Was this done entirely refridgerated? or did you room temp any of it?


Dan,

The dough was room temperature fermented for about 27 hrs, then fridge cold fermented for 7 hrs, then room temperature fermented for 9 hrs.  It was about a total time of  about 43 hrs. fermentation.  The dough ball was placed in the fridge overnight because I thought it might over ferment.

Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on May 02, 2012, 08:02:54 AM
Norma,

I'm glad to hear that you achieved success with the preferment version of Tom Lehmann's cracker-style dough formulation. Your results also confirm that it is indeed possible to use a natural preferment with the cracker-style dough. I wasn't sure how active your starter was, and how a total of 43 hours of fermentation would affect the results, but I wasn't particularly concerned about the leavening effects of the starter since you would be forcing most of the gases out of the dough as you formed the skin. I wondered more about the final crust flavors due to all of the byproducts of fermentation over a 43-hour period and the effects of the acids on the final crust crust coloration and whether the pH-residual sugar relationship was correct.

I know that you wanted to make a decent cracker-style pizza for your own personal reasons but are you considering selling a cracker-style pizza at market? If so, and you decide to use a starter, that would mean having to use an even longer fermentation period, and also some likely adjustments to the amount of starter you use and, if you need a period of cold fermentation as well as at room temperature, how to work that into the schedule.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on May 02, 2012, 08:13:33 AM
Wow.. that sounds a little "stalkerish"! Thanks for the heads-up. The suspense was killing me.

Dan.

I have worked so closely and for so long with Norma that I have gotten to know how she reports her findings on the forum after the close of work on Tuesday's. I also know that she is extremely diligent about reporting her results and, barring a scheduling conflict, I could pretty much count on her showing up on the forum on Tuesday nights pretty much on time. I was a bit off, however, on the 8:30 PM time I mentioned to you. Norma's first post last night was at 8:24:18 PM, at Reply 239 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,18407.msg185375.html#msg185375.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on May 02, 2012, 08:56:42 AM
Norma,

I'm glad to hear that you achieved success with the preferment version of Tom Lehmann's cracker-style dough formulation. Your results also confirm that it is indeed possible to use a natural preferment with the cracker-style dough. I wasn't sure how active your starter was, and how a total of 43 hours of fermentation would affect the results, but I wasn't particularly concerned about the leavening effects of the starter since you would be forcing most of the gases out of the dough as you formed the skin. I wondered more about the final crust flavors due to all of the byproducts of fermentation over a 43-hour period and the effects of the acids on the final crust crust coloration and whether the pH-residual sugar relationship was correct.

I know that you wanted to make a decent cracker-style pizza for your own personal reasons but are you considering selling a cracker-style pizza at market? If so, and you decide to use a starter, that would mean having to use an even longer fermentation period, and also some likely adjustments to the amount of starter you use and, if you need a period of cold fermentation as well as at room temperature, how to work that into the schedule.

Peter

Peter,

I am also glad I was finally able to make a decent cracker style pizza.  I had thought at one point that I never would be successful with this style of pizza.  I think I could improve though. 

When I rolled the dough out at market I was a little concerned that the dough might have overfermented, because as I rolled, there wanted to be a few tears, even though the dough was easy to roll out. I tried to pinch them together, but it can see on the par-baked bottom crust where the tears were.  I don’t know if that was because the dough was overfermented or not.  I am not to sure of that because the crust still did brown.

I wonder if I should do this experiment again and use my pH meter to see where the pH of the dough might be.  I really liked the final crust flavors using the Ischia starter.  The Ischia starter was fairly active after I fed it again.  I think it doubled in about 3 ½ hrs. 

No, I don’t plan on selling this type of pizza at market.  There are too many different ways of messing it up.  It amazes me that from my other experiment with the cracker style at 38% hydration and using Better for Bread flour and then this preferment formulation using 47% hydration with KASL, how they could both produce cracker style doughs.  That is a wide range of hydrations and much different flours.

I still would like to use the Ischia starter at market for a NY style dough though, but probably won’t ever be successful with that.

Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on May 02, 2012, 09:22:13 AM
It amazes me that from my other experiment with the cracker style at 38% hydration and using Better for Bread flour and then this preferment formulation using 47% hydration with KASL, how they could both produce cracker style doughs.  That is a wide range of hydrations and much different flours.

Norma,

In the course of my research on the cracker-style dough, I found a fairly wide variation in the types and brands of flour that could be used for that style. One can use either all-purpose flour, bread flour or high-gluten flour, and you will find proponents and advocates on the forum for each flour type. However, I preferred a flour with a relatively high protein content because I found that I could get more crust color, and a bit more flavor, with such a flour. I also discovered, both from my research and my own experiments, that the hydration of the dough was a critical factor and that you didn't want to go much over 45%, and it was preferable to keep the skin on the thin side if you want a really crispy, shatter-type crust, with a thickness factor of the final skin of around 0.06. One could theoretically go over 45% hydration but you would have to come up with ways of getting more of the moisture content out of the dough during baking.

I am talking here about skins that are not subjected to measures such as multiple folding and re-rolling in order to get several lamination layers. As you know, the master and expert on such measures is John (fazzari).

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on May 02, 2012, 09:41:12 AM
Norma,

In the course of my research on the cracker-style dough, I found a fairly wide variation in the types and brands of flour that could be used for that style. One can use either all-purpose flour, bread flour or high-gluten flour, and you will find proponents and advocates on the forum for each flour type. However, I preferred a flour with a relatively high protein content because I found that I could get more crust color, and a bit more flavor, with such a flour. I also discovered, both from my research and my own experiments, that the hydration of the dough was a critical factor and that you didn't want to go much over 45%, and it was preferable to keep the skin on the thin side if you want a really crispy, shatter-type crust, with a thickness factor of the final skin of around 0.06. One could theoretically go over 45% hydration but you would have to come up with ways of getting more of the moisture content out of the dough during baking.

I am talking here about skins that are not subjected to measures such as multiple folding and re-rolling in order to get several lamination layers. As you know, the master and expert on such measures is John (fazzari).

Peter

Peter,

I don’t know about you, but found the cracker-style pizza one of the hardest styles to even come close to what might be called a cracker-style pizza.  With all the different flours, hydrations, methods for mixing, how to form a dough ball, how thin the skin needs to be, to dock the skin or not, to oil the par-baked crust or not, how to bake the pizza in a cutter pan or not even par-bake the skin, it is really confusing at least for me.

Thanks for explaining everything it takes to make a cracker-style pizza.

I know John (fazzari) is the master and expert on laminations for a cracker-style pizza.

Norma
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: Pete-zza on May 02, 2012, 11:01:02 AM
Norma,

What makes it so difficult in a home setting is that we typically use a rolling pin to roll out the skin. It is almost impossible to roll out the skin so that it is the exact size and perfectly round. That means that we have to overshoot the size when rolling out the skin and then use something as a template to trim the skin to the desired size, like a pizza screen or cutter pan. That makes it difficult to get the perfect weight of the skin on the first try, with the precise thickness factor we want. The exercise becomes more of a math exercise and requires using a scale to weigh the skin. If we had a commercial sheeter or roller, the machine would produce either an individual skin of the proper size, shape and thickness or a continuous sheet from which one can cut out skins of the desired size, shape and thickness.

Peter
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: DNA Dan on May 02, 2012, 12:48:09 PM
Peter you crack me up!

Even with a dough sheeter there are a lot of inconsistencies with this style. IMO that is what makes John's input here so valuable. He is one of the few making this style in a commercial setting with a fair degree of consistency. He goes to great lengths to account for some variables I would not have even thought of.

I agree Norma, it's a lot of work and there are a lot of factors that can make the style "hit or miss". When it's good it's really a great crust, when it's bad, I'd rather have a nice NY style.
Title: Re: New Tom Lehmann Cracker-Style Dough Formulation
Post by: norma427 on May 02, 2012, 01:48:09 PM
Peter you crack me up!

Even with a dough sheeter there are a lot of inconsistencies with this style. IMO that is what makes John's input here so valuable. He is one of the few making this style in a commercial setting with a fair degree of consistency. He goes to great lengths to account for some variables I would not have even thought of.

I agree Norma, it's a lot of work and there are a lot of factors that can make the style "hit or miss". When it's good it's really a great crust, when it's bad, I'd rather have a nice NY style.

Dan,

Peter cracks me up sometimes too!  :-D First he is almost called a stalker, and now he makes it sound like if the math is understood then each time, there might be a good crust.  Don’t you know by now that Peter takes everything into account, including all the minor details.  All kidding aside, I think it is hard to make this type of pizza and a NY style is much easier. 

You have all the right equipment now, with your sheeter and conveyor oven.  I am looking forward to all of your thin crust pizza attempts.   ;D

John will always be the master of laminated cracker-style crusts. :chef:

Norma