• #101 by Pete-zza on 13 Jan 2012
  • Cman710,

    I have discussed this before but when I first volunteered to adapt the Lehmann NY style dough recipe to a home environment, I used a recipe that Tom Lehmann had posted at PMQ. That recipe called for 1.75% salt. Subsequently, Tom agreed to allow Steve, the owner and Administrator of this forum, to use a second version of that recipe. That is the one at As you will see from that recipe, the salt quantity is 1.50%. A range of around 1.50-1.75% is quite common for a NY style pizza. However, different people have different sensitivities to salt so using more or less would not be an uncommon choice. In fact, I would say that there are likely many NY style pizza operators who intentionally use more salt in order to conceal taste deficiencies in their crusts that are typically made using doughs with short fermentation periods, often at room temperture. If you want to use more salt, I think I would go with 2%. That shouldn't affect yeast fermentation.

    Another possibility to get more crust flavor is to use a high-gluten flour. High-gluten flour has more protein, and that translates not only into more flavor (because of the added protein) but also more crust coloration. You will also get more crust flavor by going to a longer fermentation, as you sensed in your post. With the dough formulation you used, you should be able to go out to 2-3 days. In fact, unless it is really cold where you are in the Boston area, you could lower the amount of yeast a bit, to maybe 0.30%. For a 2-3 day fermentation period, you shouldn't need any added sugar. However, if you choose to add sugar and use a shorter window of fermentation, say, a day or so, you should end up with some increased coloration. In such a scenario, I think about 1-2% sugar should work. Tom Lehmann recommends adding sugar to his recipe only when the window of fermentation is to go out to two or three days.

    To the above, I might also add that most NY style pizzerias use bromated flours, such as the All Trumps high-gluten flour. However, since you used an organic bread flour, it occurs to me that that choice was intentional and that you might not want to use a bromated flour. My recollection is that the King Arthur organic bread flour has the same protein content as its regular bread flour. At 12.7% protein, that would be a good choice.

    Another possibility to get more crust flavor is to increase the amount of oil. You perhaps wont want to use more than 3% since too much oil will affect the texture of the crust and crumb by making make them softer and more tender.

    I don't know if you have seen the forum's dough calculating tools, but if you use the expanded dough calculating tool at, you can easily make changes to the Lehmann formulation you used. You can also increase or decrease the thickness of the finished crust. However, you will need a good digital scale to take advantage of the expanded dough calculating tool. Since you mentioned that you have a scale, that will be a big help.

    You mentioned that you have an electric oven. Many electric ovens have a feature that allows you to increase the maximum temperature of the ovens by around 35 degrees F or so. You might investigate whether your particular electric oven has that feature, if only to give you more flexibility in bake temperatures and times.

    Tomato sauces for pizzas can get quite personal. However, San Marzano tomatoes are not typically used to make a classic NY street style pizza as represented by the Lehmann NY recipe. A more common choice would be fresh-pack tomatoes as sold by Stanislaus and Escalon. Heinz, which owns Escalon, recently started offering its fresh-pack tomatoes at the retail level, specifically, at Wal-Mart, under the Classico name. You might want to check out the recent thread on those tomatoes at,16096.0.html. Of course, if you used the San Marzano tomatoes for a particular reason, then that would be another story.

    I have heard of Denino's but am not personally familiar with their pizzas. However, you might find ways of adapting the Lehmann recipe to that style, as by using the right tomatoes and cheese and maybe adjusting the thickness factor. The Grande cheese you plan to use is a good choice and one of the most popular among the NYC pizzerias that specialize in the NY street style pizza.

    BTW, I don't see any need to weigh out the ingredients that are used in small amounts. The conversion data used in the dough calculating tools, including the expanded dough calculating too, do a pretty good job in the volume measurements. So, for small dough batches, I would use the volume measurements for the ingredients like salt, yeast, sugar and oil.

    Good luck. I look forward to the results of your next effort.


  • #102 by Cman710 on 13 Jan 2012
  • Pete,

    Thanks so much for your response. I will respond in greater detail later when I am not at work, but I really appreciate all your thoughts. Some quick notes:

    1.) I actually did not intentionally buy organic flour.  It was the only bread flour that the local supermarket had when I went, so I picked it up. My two main shopping options up here are Shaw's (similar to a Shoprite or Pathmark in the NY area) and Whole Foods. I will have to check to see if Whole Foods has Sir Lancelot flour.  Or, I will have to go on the hunt to try to find other groceries that might happen to carry other brands of high gluten flour.

    2.) I will definitely re-think my sauce, as the San Marzano flavor does seem out of place on a NY style pizza. Unfortunately, I am a good distance from the closest Walmart, so I may have to wait until I am near one next to pick up the Classico tomatoes. (The 6-in-1 brand is not carried here, either.) In the meantime, I may try to use Tuttoroso, which is the standard brand my family uses to make sauce for pasta.

    3.) I am going to try to make my next dough tonight (Friday) and use it about 2 days later, so I may add some sugar. I will let you know what I decide. If I try to make an attempt to find high-gluten flour, I may not end up making the dough until the morning, though.  I'll see.

    I have to reduce the file sizes on the pizza pictures, but will try to post them tonight!  Thanks so much for your thoughts.


  • #103 by Cman710 on 19 Jan 2012
  • This has taken a week, but these are pictures from the first pizza.  I made a second one last weekend, which I will write a post about soon.

    The pizza looks gnarled because of the mishap that resulted from not having a peel. It looked funky, but tasted pretty good!
  • #104 by Cman710 on 19 Jan 2012
  • Last weekend, I made a second pizza, incorporating the suggestions that Pete gave last week.  The results were excellent, with a change of two significant variables.

    The recipe for the crust was the same as the last time, except that I increased the salt content to 2%, and decreased the thickness factor a miniscule amount.  This time, the fermentation period was 34 hours instead of 19.  I also made a makeshift peel out of a flat cookie tray and parchment paper, which actually worked.  (My peel finally came this week, so I should be set next time).  The oven was at 500 this time, and I cooked the pizza for about 12 minutes.

    It really was terrific this time.  The added salt and fermentation time really added a lot of extra flavor to the crust, and my wife was very impressed. I will post pictures soon.

    This weekend, I am going to make another pizza.  I got some King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour in the mail this week, and I am going to try to use that instead of the bread flour.  I will probably keep all the other variables the same, so I can see how much of a difference the high-gluten flour makes.  Thanks so much for all your help! 
  • #105 by buceriasdon on 19 Jan 2012
  • Cman, Just say you prefer to make Artisan pizza when they don't come out round. ;D They still look great.
    • buceriasdon
  • #106 by Pete-zza on 19 Jan 2012
  • Another euphemism is "Rustic" ;D.

  • #107 by Cman710 on 20 Jan 2012
  • Thanks to both of you!  I am going to be making my hi-gluten flour version on Sunday, so I will make sure to report back and let you know how it goes.
  • #108 by Cman710 on 22 Jan 2012
  • This was the second pizza, which I made 1 week ago.  Some cheese spilled over the edge of the crust, but it otherwise was pretty nice-looking.  Today, I am going to make my pizza with KASL flour, so I will report back afterwards!
  • #109 by buceriasdon on 22 Jan 2012
  • Charles, One thing I noticed from your unbaked photo was the large amount of cheese and I believe sauce you use, though it's hard to tell with the sauce. This can cause problems with loading the pizza from the topping weight shifting.
    • buceriasdon
  • #110 by Cman710 on 22 Jan 2012
  • Hi Don,

    Thanks for your thoughts.  Tonight, I made my 3rd pizza, and I once again had the cheese spill over the edge.  I do put a lot of cheese on my pizza, as my wife likes pizza with a lot of cheese.  I go much more modestly on the sauce.  Is the large amount of cheese what's causing the spilling, and causing the toppings to shift around so much?

  • #111 by Cman710 on 13 Feb 2012
  • Hi everyone,

    It has been a while since I posted, but I am still working on this same basic recipe.  This week, I took the same recipe I had been using and added 1% sugar to try to get more browning in the crust.  The pizza cooked for about 10 minutes at 500 (most I have been able to get my electric oven to, even adjusting calibration), which is a few minutes shorter than I have cooked it without he sugar. As you can see, I got more browning, and actually a little too much browning for my wife's taste.  Anyway, after this latest experiment, I have a few questions:

    (1) Even with a wood peel coated with flour and some semolina, I have been having some trouble getting the pizza into the oven, as it is sticking to the peel. I think one problem is that I am still inexperienced and it takes me too long to put on the sauce, cheese, and toppings. How long does it take you, on average, to dress a pizza?  My other thought is that the difficulty is coming from the weight of the toppings. I put very little sauce on the pizza, but I put a lot of cheese - much higher than sounds normal. My wife likes her pizza with a lot of cheese, so I am trying to oblige.  I do think it makes the pizza heavy, and given the relative thinness of the crust, harder to get into the oven. Any thoughts on how to compensate for the heaviness of the cheese, which I would like to keep? I am not sure that there is any solution, but any thoughts would be great.

    (2) As I mentioned, the sugar led to slightly more browning in the crust than I would have liked. Do you think I'd be better off trying no sugar, but turning the broiler on for the last few minutes? That might give some slight browning for flavor but not too much.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks, Charles.
  • #112 by Kostakis1985 on 13 Feb 2012
  • Cman,

    When I first started making pizzas with a peel in my home oven, my pizzas often came out football shaped because I wasnt experienced yet but I found 2 things that helped me. 1) get all ingediants ready to go... lids off peel dusted etc. gently shake peel with only the dough skin on it to loosen it and insure it slides off. Dress the pizza quickly. 2) Be on the same level as your stone... Imean I actually squat down to my oven so my peel is almost level with my stone because if you are standing then when you try to get the pizza off the peel the cheese will roll off and then your dough will get crumpled and come out oddly shaped.

    hope this helps it did for me!
  • #113 by Cman710 on 13 Feb 2012
  • Thanks kostakis. I, too, am getting the slightly oblong shape, as you can see from the picture. I have only rolled out five balls of dough so far, so I am hoping that this will get better as I get more practice and I will get a rounder result.

    Thanks for the suggestion regarding getting as level as I can with the stone. My oven is a traditional oven and I have the pizza stone on the lowest tray in the oven, so I do tend to angle the pizza as I am about to slide it into the oven. My kitchen is really tight on space, but next time I am going to try to get as level as I can and will see if that helps.
  • #114 by Pete-zza on 13 Feb 2012
  • Cman710,

    I agree with the analysis given by Kostakis1985. Whenever you do things like add more cheese and toppings than normal, that will usually affect how the pizza will bake, and you will have to make adjustments in bake temperature and/or time. There are a ton of posts and threads on the forum that discuss the problems in using peels to load pizzas into the oven so you might do a few searches to find the wide range of solutions that our members have come up with. You might also consider using parchment paper until you feel that you are getting the problem under control. I described a method I used at Reply 10 at,916.msg8295/topicseen.html#msg8295. In that case, I discuss the use of a metal peel but the method is the same for a wood peel. If you do a search on parchment paper, you will find several other posts and threads on the subject. I suspect that some of those posts and threads will have links to other solutions, including dealing with peel-related issues.

    In your case, you might try lifting the pizza off of the stone to an upper rack position once you get the bottom crust coloration you are after. Raising the pizza in the oven should give you more top crust color and also help cook the large amount of cheese you are using. You can also move the pizza back onto the stone if you feel you need more bottom crust browning. Each oven is different so you may need to play around with yours to find the best temperatures and bake times to use. If your bake times are extended too much, you might try deleting the sugar next time. I normally don't use the broiler for most types of flours used for the NY style but it is an option if you feel it is necessary to get the desired top bake.

  • #115 by Cman710 on 14 Feb 2012
  • Thanks for the suggestions, Pete. I will do some reading on the peel issues, and will consider moving the pizza higher to get some browning. I am thinking it might be worth it for me to buy a pizza screen for this purpose, since I sometimes get cheese melting over the side of the crust, and at least the screen will catch the cheese so it does not end up on the bottom of my oven!