• #61 by canadave on 20 Oct 2004
  • Sure thing, good idea....I should've done that in my last post.  Must be slipping :)

    Canadave's "Lehmann-inspired" NY-style pizza
    YIELD: two 16" pizzas


    --2 1/3 cups cool water (enough below lukewarm to feel "cool", but not cold enough to feel "cold")
    --1 pound + 12 ounces high-gluten flour
    --just under 2 tsp table salt
    --just under 3 tsp instant rising yeast
    --3 Tbsp Crisco vegetable oil (canola + soybean)
    --1 Tbsp raw sugar

    I dissolved the salt and sugar into the water, in the stand mixer bowl.  Combined the yeast and flour in a separate bowl, then emptied it into the mixer bowl.  Mixed on lowest speed until the dough started to congeal (took a little under a minute), then added the Crisco oil.  That made an oily dough ball.  I manually sprinkled a little flour on the dough until it looked less oily and slimy.  Continued to knead on lowest speed until the dough ball was solid-looking (only took another two or three minutes), then removed the dough and separated into two dough balls.  I put each ball in an oiled metal cookie tin, and put the tins in the fridge, *with the lids sitting upside-down on top of the tins, loosely covering the tins but not sealing them.*  Left them in this state for about an hour, then put the lids on the right way, sealing the tins.

    Seven hours later (I was hungry), I took a tin out and let it room towards room temperature.  Preheated the oven with quarry tiles to 450 degrees (yes, only 450) on a hunch.  Two hours after I took the tin out, I removed the dough ball, spread it to 16 inches (it was pretty easy to work with), and put it in the oven for a couple of minutes (just to let the underside firm up a bit).  Then I removed it, put the sauce (6-in-1 straight out of the can, plus a generous helping of Loretta's Pizza Seasoning, bought at the local Italian Centre market) and cheese on, and baked it until the cheese was bubbling and just about to burn a bit.

    Delicious!!  Excellent pizza.  The pizza I made the next day with the other dough ball was equally good.  The crust was nice and fluffy, relatively thin, a bit airy, but good consistency.  The underside was just short of crisp.  There was some good taste to it.  And it tasted even *better*, actually, when I put some in the fridge, microwaved it the next day and ate it reheated.  That was a pleasant surprise.  I'm wondering now--seriously--whether I should just make pizzas, immediately put them in the fridge, and eat them reheated, rather than eat them fresh out of the oven!  ;)

    Some observations about my technique:

    --I used to do a 10-minute knead, or a 5 min-rest 5 min-5 min knead.  On this pizza, I kneaded it juuuuust enough so that the dough formed a ball, waited about 20 seconds more for good luck, then removed it.  The entire knead took only about 5 minutes or so, I'd guess.  I also used only the lowest speed.  I did all this in response to the recent posts on here about how short knead times result in an airier crust, and that certainly worked for me--my previous crusts were too dense.  This new technique worked *great*.

    --The 450 temp I used in the oven seems quite low, but I find that if I use high temps (500, 550), the bottom of the crust is almost "shocked", and separates itself from the rest of the dough, which is not supposed to happen in a NYC pizza.  The 450 seems "gentler" to me, and also lets me cook things more slowly so that I can achieve "finer control" over the finished product.

    --In another version of this same recipe (actually, the first time I tried this), I forgot to add the sugar until the dough was already mixed, so I panicked and threw it in along with the oil.  This actually seemed to work, despite the fact that when I removed the dough from the mixer, it had little raw sugar pellets in it.  By the time the dough had risen a bit in the fridge, the pellets were mostly gone, and it seemed that the yeast had consumed it and left little air holes where the pellets were...actually a neat effect!  I might try that next time again.

    --I'm not too keen on having to add some more flour to counteract the oily/slimy dough once I put the oil in.  I think I might try adding the oil a little earlier next time.

    --The amount of yeast used doesn't seem to me to be a big deal.  Like I said, I tried two versions--one with 3tsp yeast, another with just short of two and a half tsp of yeast--and there didn't seem to be much of a difference between the two.  I'm coming around to the idea that achieving an exact and consistent amount of yeast is one of the more insignificant elements in making a good pizza--at least for me.

    Questions?  Comments from the peanut gallery? :)  I hope to get a digital camera for the holidays, so maybe I'll be able to start sharing some photos.

  • #62 by Pete-zza on 20 Oct 2004
  • Canadave,

    Terrific job describing your experience.  I felt like I was in the kitchen with you as you went through all the motions ;D.  What I wondered about the most was how much yeast you would use.  Tom L.'s NY style dough recipe calls for using a small amount of yeast and I know that you tend to use considerably more.  I have tried Tom's recipe with both small and larger amounts of yeast (IDY) and liked the results both ways.  I suspect the role of yeast is greatest before the dough gets into the oven.  Once that happens, the yeast should die as soon as the dough temperature gets to about 140 degrees F.

    I think some of the airiness you experienced in the crust may have been attributable to the high hydration percentage you appear to have used.  I estimate that it was close to 65%, which is at the upper end of the range specified in Tom's recipe.  That, together with the high amount of yeast and the gentle processing of the dough (as Tom suggests), should have contributed to the more open texture of the crust.  From my own experience, I have found that I like using higher hydration percentages--because of the more open and airy crust that seems to result from the high hydration levels.  

    I was intrigued by the lower oven temperature you used.  While I was away recently, I had a chance to spend some time with a pizza maker who has been making pizzas since he was 11 (he is now 38), and he also uses an oven temperature for his NY style pizzas that is lower than what most people use.  In his case, it is around 470 degrees F (he has a Bakers Pride deck oven that can get up to about 550 degrees F).  The other interesting thing he does is to shape the doughs for his NY style pizzas right out of the cooler, that is, without any warmup period or any docking.  From what I could see of his pizzas, there weren't a lot of bubbles in the finished crust, although there were a lot of little bubbles in the unbaked crust, much as we have seen in the photos of NY style doughs made by members of this forum.  Maybe the lower bake temperature minimizes the bubbling in the crust.  

    Like you, I find that NY style pizza reheats very well.  I use a toaster oven to do the reheating.  I like the results so much that if I didn't have a toaster oven, I would get one just for that use alone.  But, first, the camera ;D.


  • #63 by canadave on 21 Oct 2004
  • Peter,

    Thanks for the compliment...this'll all be a lot easier to type out when I can support my text with a picture :)

    To address some of your other points:

    I agree--the high hydration of the dough PLUS the gentler handling contributed to the airier crust.  I think both components are essential.  Incidentally, I had always pictured airier as being *lighter*, like angel cake or something...but that's not really the case.  The dough was "substantial" enough to my palate that I didn't feel like I was eating a pastry.  And it wasn't exactly "light" either--nice heft to the slice.

    I have to say---the lower dough temperature is really helping.  Like I say--every time I've gotten my oven up to 500, 550...the dough has been way too crisped at the bottom, and in fact has separated at the bottom from the rest of the crust, creating a "bi-level" pizza crust.  This isn't good.  The 450 temp still cooks just does it a little more slowly and, I suspect, *gently*.  The cheese also shows this--at higher temps, it tends to cook too quickly I think.  The 450 temp lets it gradually melt.  Unless one is looking for a "burnt crust" effect, I think the lower temp is good (think about it--those pizzas you can buy from the grocery store all say to cook for 10 minutes at 400 or 425!) :)

    I found a few bubbles in the crust when I initially put it in (without docking it, which I used to do).  I just watched through the oven window and when I saw a bubble starting to get big, I reached in with a fork and popped it.  I only had to do that two or three times.

    I've tried reheating pizzas I've made with the toaster oven too.  I prefer the way that the microwave *softens* the crust, as opposed to the toaster oven.  But either way, I like reheated better.  In fact, that's what I did with my latest pizza...took it out of the oven, immediately put it, pan and all, into the fridge...took it out of the fridge a couple of hours later and ate some reheated slices, which were delicious.  However, I will say that if you try this method, be prepared--the temptation to eat a slice right out of the oven is IMMENSE ;)

  • #64 by Pete-zza on 21 Oct 2004
  • Canadave,

    I know exactly what you mean about the crust.  It's one of those situations that is hard to describe in words, and even a photo won't help all that much in characterizing the crust.   I have found that the crust can be soft, airy and chewy all at the same time but not bread-like.  And, as you say, it can have some heft to it.

    BTW, Tom L. often recommends a lower bake temperature and, more than once, he has said that he prefers a lower bake temperature.  For example, in answer to a question posed to Tom on the ideal temperatures to bake different sized pizzas (8-, 10-, and 12-inches), he said (in quotes):

    "As you know, I am not a fan of fast baking any pizza, I think all of your pizzas could be baked at 435F with baking times in the neighborhood of 3, 5 and 7 minutes respectively."

    And, in answer to another question about baking pizzas at home on a stone, he said (in quotes):

    "If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven to heat with the oven, and have it in the center rack position. Bake at 425F. Watch the top of the pizza, when the cheese just begins to color, the pizza should be done. Again, you might need to play with the rack position to get the top and bottom bake balanced. If the bottom is too dark, move to a higher rack position, if it is too light, move it to a lower rack position."

    Of course, there are times, as when you load up on the toppings, that a longer bake at a lower temperature may be necessary to be sure that the toppings are cooked before the crust is finished baking.

  • #65 by canadave on 21 Oct 2004
  • I think I agree with just about everything you quoted Tom L. as saying.  Interesting how he takes the same approach to the cheese as I do--when it's just starting to brown, it's done.  Also, given the 3, 5, and 7 minute times to cook an 8, 10, and 12 inch pizza respectively, that gibes well with my approximate 10 minutes to cook my 16 inch pizza.

    I might try his suggestion to put the tiles in the center of the oven.  I have mine on the lowest rack, but maybe I'll experiment next time.

  • #66 by Pete-zza on 22 Oct 2004
  • While visiting friends recently in Massachusetts, I offered to make a couple of NY style pizzas.  Since the Tom L. recipe for NY style dough has become etched in my brain and is now firmly a part of my DNA, I decided to use that recipe.  Along with the memorized recipe, I had brought my 16-inch pizza screen (in order to be able to make 16-inch pizzas), and my calculator.  My friends have a Braun variable speed food processor, a peel, and a pizza stone, but not much more.  Since I had brought no flours with me, and since my friends had neither high-gluten flour or bread flour, I decided to experiment with vital wheat gluten (VWG).  I was fortunate enough to find both King Arthur bread flour and the Arrowhead brand of VWG in a local Wild Oats market.  Doing a little bit of math, I was able to determine how much VWG to add to the KA bread flour to equal the protein content of the KA Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour (more on this below).  With a little bit of luck, the dough and the pizzas turned out fine, and before I could take photos, the pizzas were history.  I thought enough of the results, however, to repeat the experiment when I returned home to Texas--and, this time, to take a few photos.  I think the value of the experiment is to demonstrate that a good NY style pizza based on Tom L.'s NY style dough recipe can be made when a high-gluten flour is not available.  If either bread flour or all-purpose flour is available, along with VWG, the protein content of the basic flour used can be increased using the VWG.

    For the most recent experiment, I decided on a 16-inch, thin pizza, using a hydration level of 63% and 0.25% IDY for the dough (and a thickness factor of 0.10).   Using the basic formula (stated elsewhere in this thread) to calculate the needed dough ball weight, I calculated that I would need a dough ball weight of around 20 ounces.  Using the baker's percents for Tom L.'s recipe, I calculated that the amount of KA bread flour I would need would be 12.10 ounces (the remaining ingredients and quantities are listed below).

    To increase the protein content of the KA bread flour to approximate the protein level of the KA Sir Lancelot flour, I undertook the following steps.  First, I determined the difference in protein content between the KA Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour and the KA bread flour.  KA says that the protein content of its KASL flour is 14.2%, and 12.7% for its bread flour.  This gives us a difference of 1.5%, which has to be made up by the use of VWG. Tom L. and others tell us that for each 1% of VWG (by weight of flour) that is added to another flour, the protein content of that other flour will be increased by 0.6%.  So, for a differential of 1.5% in our specific case, this means that the amount of VWG to add to the KA bread flour (by weight of flour) should be 2.5% (1.5/0.6 = 2.5).  Taking 2.5% of 12.10 ounces of KA bread flour gives us about 0.30 ounces of VWG to add.  Arrowhead says that 1 T. of its VWG weighs 9 grams.  Doing some simple gram-to-ounces conversions tells us that 0.30 ounces of VWG (about 8.5 grams) comes to about 1 T.  We're almost home, but not quite yet.  Because the addition of the VWG increases the weight of the flour to which it is added, Tom L. tells us that we should increase the amount of water called for in the recipe by an amount equal to 1 1/2 times the VWG.  In this case, that added water came to 0.45 oz., or about 1 T.  To avoid pilling/lumping, the VWG is added directly to the flour and stirred into it.

    The final recipe, with baker's percents, is as follows:

       KA bread flour (100%), 12.10 ounces (about 2 3/4 c.)
       Arrowhead VWG (2.5 %), 0.30 oz. (about 1 T.)
       Water (63%), 7.65 oz. (about 7/8 c.), plus an additional 1 T.
       Salt (1.75%), 0.21 oz. (about 1 t.)
       Oil (1.0%), 0.12 oz. (about 3/4 t.)
       IDY (0.25%), 0.03 oz. (between 1/4 and 1/3 t.)

    To make the dough, I used my basic Cuisinart food processor with the plastic blade attached.  The water temperature was adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of around 80 degrees F.  For this experiment, this meant a water temperature (calculated) of 42 degrees F.  The processing of the dough was as previously described in this thread for a food processor, so I will not describe it here in detail.  The finished dough temperature was 83 degrees F and the dough ball weight was 20.55 ounces.  As will be noted, the added VWG and water increased the dough ball weight by a fraction of an ounce.  As an alternative approach, I could have reduced the amount of KA bread flour by an amount equal to the VWG added (their weights are about equal), and dispensed with the added tablespoon of water, and this would have produced a dough ball slightly closer to the calculated weight.  This is an approach that has been advocated by Giotto elsewhere at this site.  However, I chose instead to follow the recommendations of Tom. L. with respect to VWG for his recipe. 

    The finished dough was refrigerated for about 24 hours, and brought out to room temperature for about 1/2 hour before shaping. The dough was an extremely good dough--easy to toss, stretch and form.  It had good extensibility, elasticity and smoothness.  After the dough was shaped, it was dressed in a simple pepperoni style and baked for about 7 minutes on the 16-inch pizza screen at a temperature of around 475 degrees F and finished for a final 2 minutes on a pizza stone that had been preheated for about an hour at 475 degrees F.  The finished pizza had the typical characteristics of a NY style pizza.  However, I can't say that it was identical to one made using the KASL high-gluten flour.  As between the two, I prefer a pizza dough made using the KASL flour.  This is not to diminish the pizza made with the KA bread flour supplemented by the VWG. The dough was exceptional--one of the best I have made--and it produced a good pizza.  And, since high-gluten flour is virtually unavailable at the retail level, one can still make a decent pizza if bread flour (or even all-purpose flour) and VWG are available.  (VWG is available in most large supermarkets and specialty food stores; the Arrowhead brand typically sells for about $3 for a 10 ounce package and is often sold in the bulk bins at places like Whole Foods and Wild Oats).

    A photo of the finished pizza is shown below.  Note the presence of the bubbling.  I had intentionally shaped the dough earlier than usual to see if I would experience that effect.  I happen to like bubbles, but for those who don't I recommend that the dough be allowed to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours before shaping.  A slice photo follows this posting.



  • #67 by Pete-zza on 22 Oct 2004
  • And a Lehmann VWG slice.

  • #68 by Pete-zza on 23 Oct 2004
  • In the last post, I discussed how to increase the protein content of KA bread flour, through the use of vital wheat gluten (VWG), to approximate the protein content of the KA Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour--the type of flour that is deemed to be the best to use for a NY style pizza dough (such as the Tom L. NY style pizza dough).  In that post, I mentioned the possibility of increasing the protein content of an all-purpose flour to accomplish the same purpose.  While I haven't specifically done so in an actual pizza experiment with Tom L.'s recipe, I have calculated the amount of VWG that would have to be added to all-purpose flour to approximate the protein content of the KASL high-gluten flour.  For purposes of this calculation, I assumed the all-purpose flour to be the KA all-purpose flour, with a stated protein content of 11.7%.  (The calculation can also be performed for some other brand of all-pupose flour, but you will need to know the protein content as accurately as possible; KA is known to demand very small variances in the specified protein content of its flours so the calculation is likely to be more accurate than with other flours.)

    To determine the amount of VWG to add to the KA all-purpose flour, the first step is to determine the difference in protein levels of the KASL high-gluten flour and the KA all-purpose flour.   As indicated previously, the KASL flour has a protein content of 14.2%.  The KA all-purpose flour has a protein content of 11.7% (as noted above).  So, the difference is 2.5%.  Dividing this number by 0.6 gives us 4.167 (2.5/0.6 = 4.167). Multiplying the amount of flour called for by the recipe, 12.10 oz., by 4.167% yields an amount of VWG to add to the all-purpose flour of 0.50 oz., or 14.29 grams.  Using the Arrowhead VWG conversion factor of 1T = 9 grams, the amount of VWG to add to the KA all-purpose flour comes to a bit more than 1 1/2 T.

    The amount of additional water that is needed to compensate for the added VWG is equal to 1.5 times 0.50 oz., or 0.75 oz.  This is equal to about 1 3/8 T of water.

  • #69 by Pete-zza on 25 Oct 2004
  • It recently dawned on me that of all the techniques I have used to test out the dough for Tom L.'s NY style pizza dough recipe, there was one that I completely neglected--hand kneading. Also, my focus had been on the larger-sized pizzas that are characteristic of the New York style. I suspect also that in the back of my mind was King Arthur Flour's admonition that a dough made with a high-gluten flour, such as its Sir Lancelot flour, should "be kneaded by a mixer, processor, or bread machine, to fully develop its gluten." The last part of this admonition gave me pause to wonder what would happen if I hand-kneaded a dough using the KA Sir Lancelot flour but did so gently, without a desire to fully develop the gluten (along the lines recommended by Tom L.), and if I just reduced the size of the dough ball so that it would not be a physical chore to knead it. With these thoughts in mind, I attempted an experiment based on these premises.  

    For purposes of the hand-kneading experiment, I decided on a dough ball weight that would be sufficient to produce a thin NY style dough with a diameter of about 12 inches. Using the expression W = Pi (i.e., 3.14) x 6 x 6 x 0.10 (the thickness factor for a thin pizza), I calculated a value for W (dough weight) of a bit over 11.30 ounces. I concluded that such a weight would enable one to make a pizza on a standard size pizza stone (or tiles), or on a 12-inch pizza screen. Little else would be required in the way of pizza making equipment (except, perhaps, a calculator ;D).  

    For the dough formulation itself, I decided on a relatively high hydration percentage, 63%, and an instant dry yeast (IDY) percentage of 0.25%. Using the mathematical techniques and weight-volume conversions as described in previous postings in this thread, I arrived at the following recipe formulation (including baker's percents):

      Flour (100%), KASL high-gluten, 6.80 oz. (about 1 5/8 c.)
      Water (63%), 4.30 oz. (about 5/8 c.)
      Salt (1.75%), 0.12 oz. (about 5/8 t.)
      Oil (1%), 0.07 oz. (about 1/2 t.)
      IDY (0.25%), 0.02 oz. (about 3/16 t.)

    To hand knead the dough using the above recipe, I had basically two methods to choose from--the countertop method or the bowl method.  I chose the bowl method because it is simple and less messy. However, for those who prefer the countertop method, this is my suggested approach. Combine all of the dry ingredients on a work surface, including the salt, and form into a mound. Make a well in the center of the mound, and gradually add the water to the center of the mound. Using the fingers or a fork, draw the flour mixture into the water. When all the water and flour have been combined, the dough mass should then be kneaded for about a minute or two. If the dough mass seems dry, that's OK and don't be tempted to add more water. It takes time for the flour to be hydrated by the water. Then add the oil and knead that into the dough, for about 2 minutes, and continue kneading for about another 2 or 3 minutes. (If the flour and water were not weighed, it may be necessary to add more of one or the other--a little bit at a time--to get a dough of the correct texture and feel.) The dough will be sufficiently kneaded and ready for refrigeration when it is shaped into a round ball and the outer surface is smooth (i.e., without tears) and shiny. If it isn't, continue kneading, gently, until it is.  

    It will be noted that I instructed that the salt be combined with all the other dry ingredients before adding the liquid ingredients. Doing so serves to slow down the oxidation of the flour and preserves the color and certain flavor and color enhancing vitamins (mainly carotenoids) in the flour. However, if an autolyse (rest period) is desired, as described in a previous post in this thread, the salt can be added later in the dough kneading process. However, trying to combine salt with an already-kneaded dough is a lot harder to do by hand than by a machine. The dough will separate and develop tears. However, this is a temporary condition and is overcome by simply kneading the dough until the salt is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic.  

    As indicated above, I chose to use the bowl method to make the dough. I combined all of the dry ingredients in one bowl and put the water into another bowl. I gradually added the flour mixture to the water and stirred it with a spoon until the ingredients started to come together in a rough mass. I then put the dough mass onto a very lightly floured work surface and continued kneading until all of the flour had been taken up into the dough ball. I then added the oil and kneaded that into the dough ball, about a minute or two. I then continued kneading for an additional few minutes until the dough ball was smooth and shiny, with no tears. Once I reached that stage, I flattened the dough ball into a disk (to get the dough to cool faster), oiled the dough, put it into a plastic storage bag, and then into the refrigerator. I left the storage bag open for about 1 hour, to allow any moisture on the dough to evaporate, and then closed the bag for the rest of the duration in the refrigerator.

    To be faithful to Tom L.'s NY style dough recipe in making the dough ball as described above, I temperature adjusted the water to achieve a finished dough temperature of 80 degrees F.  Unlike machines like stand mixers, food processors, and even bread machines, hand-kneading adds very little frictional heat to a dough--maybe 1 degree F. So, for a desired finished dough temperature of 80 degrees F, the water temperature will be close to room (and flour) temperature. For the temperature conditions that prevailed in my kitchen, the water temperature I needed was around 79 degrees F. (For those interested in the specific calculation methodology, visit some of my earlier postings in which the methodology is discussed in detail). The finished dough ball had a temperature of 80 degrees F. Its weight was 11.30 ounces (pretty much as calculated).

    About 24 hours after I placed the dough ball into the refrigerator, I removed it from the refrigerator and brought it to room temperature, where it remained for about 1 1/4 hours in preparation for shaping and dressing. The dough handled very nicely. It had good extensibility (stretch) and, surprisingly, some elasticity (springback). In fact, the elasticity, which I prefer along with good extensibility (the dough tosses easier), was greater than most of the doughs I have made using machines. I had no trouble whatsoever in shaping the dough.  

    The shaped dough was finished and dressed in a simple pepperoni style, using 6-in-1 tomatoes, dried oregano and basil, crushed rep pepper flakes, Hormel pepperoni slices, a combination of deli mozzarella and provolone cheeses, a few squirts of a good olive oil, and freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fresh basil (added after baking). The pizza was baked for about 7 minutes on a pizza stone that had been preheated for about 1 hour at about 500-550 degrees F. The pizza was delicious. It had the usual characteristics of a NY style pizza, except that it was smaller. Also, the crust was a little bit crunchier, quite possibly because of its smaller mass.

    The photo below shows the finished product (with a slice photo in the following post). The pizza crust did exhibit some bubbling, which surprised me since the dough had been allowed to sit for a little bit over an hour before shaping and dressing. I think it may have been because the dough was a light mass compared with the much larger dough balls I have made previously for NY style pizzas, and colder when it emerged from the refrigerator. Letting the small dough ball sit for another hour might be a good idea (or use docking).

    What the above experiment says to me is that it is possible to make a very good small NY style pizza without a major investment in stand mixers, food processors, or bread machines. I do believe, however, that a good kitchen scale is a worthwhile investment--even for the beginning pizza maker--especially for weighing the flour and water, which make up the bulk of the dough and whose relative weights and measurements are important to making good pizza doughs. And, obviously, a pizza stone, tiles or a pizza screen, and a paddle (peel) are prerequisites if pizza making is to become a regular routine. Hand kneading will also teach you a great deal about doughs. Once that has been mastered and you want to move on to even greater pizza challenges, then you can think about fancier gear.


  • #70 by Pete-zza on 25 Oct 2004
  • And a Lehmann (hand kneaded dough) slice.

  • #71 by Foccaciaman on 25 Oct 2004
  • Tasty looking pie... :o :o

    Sorry, I forgot to post my last Lehman Pizza recipe, I just remembered that you had asked when i was reading your post.

    I will try to have it up by the weekend. :)
  • #72 by Pete-zza on 30 Oct 2004
  • Today I came across a very nice Pizza Today (Dec. '02) article on dough management by Tom L., at  It isn't specifically directed to the NY style of dough, but certainly does apply to it, and to Tom L.'s NY style dough recipe that I have been testing in attempting to adapt it to just about any home setting using just about any piece of equipment (mixer, processor, bread machine, screen, stone, etc.)  

    What I have found is that it is difficult to achieve the cooling temperature that Tom talks about in the article.  A home refrigerator is not a commercial cooler, and it can't produce low enough temperatures to produce the optimal result.  My main refrigerator compartment just can't go much lower than about 50 degrees F most of the time.  I have tried lower (cooler) water temperature, and more recently I have been trying out Giovanni's technique of freezing the kneaded dough (for about 30-40 minutes) before putting it into the refrigerator.  I have also started adding a little sugar to the dough to compensate for the higher refrigerator temperature and to extend the fermentation period so that the dough holds for more than a day (I'm looking for the flavors of long fermentation and a decent crust browning).  Adding a little bit more salt might help, as Tom's article suggests, although I would have to be careful with that since I don't want an overly salty crust.  

  • #73 by Pete-zza on 30 Oct 2004
  • Having made over a dozen pizzas based on Tom L.'s NY style pizza dough recipe, I thought it might be useful to summarize my observations and preferences for the benefit of those who have been following my "anatomy" of the recipe on this thread.  Here they are:

    Flour: Of the four flours I tried--the KASL, Giusto, and All Trumps high-gluten flours, and the KA bread flour supplemented by vital wheat gluten--I would rate the KASL first.  The other flours will produce good results, but it's hard to beat the KASL overall.  The experiments using the vital wheat gluten showed that it is possible to make decent pizza doughs and pizzas where high-gluten flours are not readily available (which means most retail outlets), but where bread flour and vital wheat gluten are.

    Water: I tried hydration percentages all along the 58-65% range specified in the recipe. I much preferred the higher hydration percentages--above 60% (with my favorite being 63%)--because I felt the higher water levels produced a more open and airy crust while retaining a nice chew and "heft" (as Canadave calls it).  I also adjusted water temperature to achieve a finished dough temperature of 80-85 degrees F.  I did this because the recipe called for it.  However, using higher water temperatures (say, up to 120 degrees F) is unlikely to pose a problem if the dough is to be used fairly promptly after refrigerating, for example, within a day or so.  If the dough is to be held (refrigerated) for two or more days before use, I would be inclined to use cooler water--to slow down the fermentation and extend its duration. I might also use a small amount of sugar to be sure that the yeast doesn't run out of food.

    Yeast: I tried yeast amounts, in IDY form, all along the range of baker's percents specified in the recipe--and also considerably outside of the range.  The doughs that were made using yeast levels within the range rose only slightly while within the refrigerator, while those that used yeast levels outside of the range rose considerably more, in direct proportion to the amount of yeast used.  The high-yeast doughs were also harder to cool down, even when I tried freezing (which I did for the first time recently) for 30-40 minutes before refrigerating.  The pizza doughs and crusts didn't seem to suffer, however.  I liked both the low-yeast and high-yeast versions.  Low yeast usage might have a slight advantage because the fermentation process is slowed down, allowing greater development of flavor enhancing by-products of fermentation.

    Salt: I stayed with the baker's percent for salt for all the pizzas I made.  However, as the article referenced in the last post makes clear, salt can also be used, within limits, to control the fermentation process and final results.

    Sugar: Tom's recipe makes the use of sugar optional, being reserved mainly for those instances in which the dough is to be baked on other than a hearth-like surface (stone or tiles), where there will not be direct physical contact with the heat source, such as on discs or screens. However, I would be inclined to use sugar if the intention is to hold the dough for more than one day before using, to be sure that the yeast doesn't run out of food.  If that happens, it may be difficult to shape the dough or get a nice browning of the crust, no matter how long the pizza is baked (which increases the risk of burning the bottom of the crust and possibly overcooking some of the toppings).

    Oil: I did limited experimentation with the amounts of olive oil used but did not notice any significant differences at the levels I tried.  In theory, increasing the amount of olive oil should result in increased dough extensibility and a softer crust.  I observed these characteristics more when I tried Canadave's recipe for NY style dough.

    Kneading techniques: As between the four kneading methods I tried--stand mixer, food processor, bread machine and hand-kneading--I would rate the food processor first and hand-kneading second. Both of these techniques allow greater control of the entire dough mixing and kneading process, especially for smaller amounts of dough and where some of the touchier ingredients, such as salt and oil, are staged into the process at different points.  If I needed to make larger quantities of dough, say for several pizzas, I would use a stand mixer or make multiple batches in the food processor.  If the food processor is to be used, even when only the pulse switch is used (as I did for the most part, and highly recommend), it will be necessary to control water temperature to ensure hitting the 80-85 degrees F finished dough temperature.  In almost all cases, this will mean lower (cooler) water temperatures.  

    Screens/pizza stones: I made pizzas using both pizza screens and a pizza stone.  The screens were reserved primarily for the larger sizes (e.g., 16-inch pizzas), which most pizzas stones cannot easily or safely handle, whereas the stone was used for some of the smaller sized pizzas.  I often used both a screen and the stone, using the stone for the final few minutes of baking to provide added browning and crisping of the bottom crust. Trying out different sizes of pizzas also allowed me to develop recipes for those different sizes, sparing potential users having to go through all the math to convert the basic recipe to dough amounts usable in a typical home setting.

    Other: I tried using autolyse periods, but can't say with any conviction that the doughs benefited from it.  I also found that the longer I allowed a dough to sit at room temperature before shaping, the less bubbling it produced in the baked crust.  Anything less than 1 hour after coming out of the refrigerator was too little in almost all cases.  I happen to like bubbling in the crust, but within the professional ranks it is considered anathema.

  • #74 by Steve on 31 Oct 2004
  • Nice summary. I'd like to use some of this information on the "Tom Lehman NY Style Pizza" page that I'm working on for the site. Of course I'll cite you as the source of the information.  8)
  • #75 by Pete-zza on 01 Nov 2004
  • One of the few aspects of the NY style of pizza that I haven't addressed on this thread is how to handle leftover pizza.  What I have to say on this is generic in nature but it applies with equal force to the leftover pizza that I accumulated after making more than a dozen pizzas based on Tom L.'s NY style pizza dough recipe.  And, I can assure you, dear reader, that I didn't eat all of the pizzas as they emerged from the oven. Like anyone else bombarded by the perceived benefits of the Atkins and South Beach diets, I would like to preserve my svelte and youthful figure :).  So, a plan for preserving my leftover pizza became a practical necessity.

    I first decided to preserve my leftover pizza (which I first cut into individual slices) in a large Rubbermaid container.  I believe Canadave refers to such a product by its more technical name--a "thingy" :).  But, as the pizzas emerged from the oven like the chocolates on Lucy's candy assembly line and I couldn't eat them fast enough, I had to resort to Plan B--freezing the leftover slices.  This I did by wrapping the individual slices in plastic wrap and tightly wrapping each batch of slices from a particular experiment in aluminum foil and placing the pizzas so cocooned into the freezer.

    I (gratefully) have just about one of every piece of pizza-related apparatus that is known to mankind for use by the home pizza maker.  But one of the most useful is the toaster oven.  When I am in the mood for a slice or two of my growing collection of refrigerated pizza slices, I only have to put the slices on either a cheap pie plate or my 9" pizza screen, set the toaster oven to 450 degrees F, set the timer for about 5 or 6 minutes, and go about my business until I hear the timer go off.  One of the great things about the reheated NY style pizza slices is that they are invariably just as good as the original.  Unlike Canadave, who eats his pizzas long after they have come out of the oven, I like to eat at least some of my pizzas in real time, usually right after I have fiddled around with my digital camera and gotten it to take photos of the pizzas for posting on this site.  To wait a moment longer is to contravene just about any pizza principle I can think of.  However, I fully understand and appreciate where Canadave is coming from.  Reheated NY pizza slices are wonderful!  So, don't throw away any leftover slices or feed them to the dog (no offense to the dogs who have been following this thread).  Just refrigerate the leftover slices in a Rubbermaid  thingy if you'd like to eat them in a few days, or wrap and freeze them if you plan to eat them in a few weeks or so.

    Even the reheated frozen slices reheat well in the toaster oven.  I just place them, in frozen form, on my cheap pie plate or on my pizza screen and add an extra minute or two to the usual reheat time and lower the temperature of the toaster oven a bit.  I don't bother to defrost the slices first.  If I didn't know better, I would think that they just came out of the oven (I am exaggerating a bit, of course, but not much).

    I guess the moral of this story is that it is possible to have you pizza and eat it (all) too ;D.  

  • #76 by Pete-zza on 20 Dec 2004
  • Recently, at the "Dough Enhancers" thread, I offered to assist fellow member Lars by developing a formulation for a NY style pizza dough, based on Tom Lehmann's recipe, to allow Lars to make a 9-inch "mini" NY style pizza in his toaster oven, pending resolution of problems that he has been having with his conventional oven.   Lars had concluded that the maximum size pizza that he felt could be made in his toaster oven was 9 inches, and that the maximum temperature he can coax out of his toaster oven is around 450 degrees F.  Lars had also informed us that he had the following specific ingredients available to him: bread flour, vital wheat gluten (VWG), and instant dry yeast (IDY).  Based on these inputs, I calculated that Lars would need a dough ball weight of about 6.35 oz. (3.14 x 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.10 = 6.35 oz.)   For the formulation, I decided to use a hydration percentage of about 63%, with the objective of achieving a chewy yet open and airy crust.  The resulting formulation for Lars' toaster oven "mini" NY style pizza came out as follows:

    Bread flour (100%), 3.85 oz. (about 7/8 c.)--I used the KA brand
    Water (63%), 2.45 oz. (a bit over 1/3 c.)
    Salt (1.75%), 0.07 oz. (about 1/3 t.)
    Oil (1%), 0.04 oz. (about 1/4 t.)--I used light olive oil
    IDY (0.25%, 0.10 oz. (a bit less than 1/8 t.)
    VWG (about 1 t.)--I used the Arrowhead brand but Red's should work about the same
    (Note: for those who choose to use high-gluten flour, such as KASL, the VWG should be omitted)

    Since I had decided to make two mini pizzas, one on the 9 1/4" x 10 1/4" x 1/2" pizza stone that came with my toaster oven (DeLonghi Alfredo plus model), and one on a 9-in pizza screen, I doubled the above recipe amounts.  Because of the small amounts of dough involved, I decided to use only hand kneading.  I combined the bread flour, IDY, salt and VWG in a bowl, gradually added the water, and started to mix, initially with a wooden spoon and then by hand.  As I have done with essentially all of the Lehmann NY style doughs I have made, I temperature adjusted the water to achieve a finished dough temperature of around 80 degrees F.  In this case, the water temperature I calculated was around 100 degrees F.  Absent an instant read thermometer, all that one needs to know is that 100-degree F water is warm to the touch.  (It can be achieved by heating the roughly 1/3 c. of water in the microwave oven in a 1-cup size Pyrex glass measuring cup for about 12 seconds).   After the dough came together in the bowl, I divided the dough ball in half and kneaded each dough ball separately until it was smooth and elastic, yet still a bit tacky, about 6-7 minutes.  The finished dough temperature for both dough balls was 80 degrees F.

    I then oiled the dough balls lightly with light olive oil, put them into plastic bags, and then into the refrigerator compartment of my refrigerator where they stayed for the next 24 hours.  When I took them out of the refrigerator to make the pizzas, I let them set at room temperature for a little over an hour.  As the dough was warming up, I preheated the pizza stone for my toaster oven at 450 degrees F (I relied on the knob temperature setting) for about 1 hour.  Since I don't have a "mini" peel, I dressed the first pizza on a floured plastic vegetable prep sheet, which served as my "peel" to get the dressed pizza onto the pizza stone.  I baked the pizza (pepperoni with 6-in-1 tomatoes, a 50/50 blend of shredded mozzarella/provolone cheeses, and a bit of fresh basil) for about 11 minutes, or until the rim of the crust turned golden brown and the cheeses were melted, but not burning.    

    The second pizza was dressed directly on the 9-inch pizza screen, using the same toppings and amounts as the first pizza.  That pizza was baked at the 450 degree F toaster oven setting for about 11 minutes also, or until the crust had browned and the cheeses were melted.  

    The photo below is for the first pizza baked on the pizza stone, and the following photos on succeeding postings are for a slice of the pizza baked on the stone, followed by a photo of the second pizza baked on the screen and a slice of that pizza.

    As between the two pizzas, I felt that the pizza baked on the small pizza stone was the better pizza.  The stone appeared to do a better job of distributing the toaster oven heat to the pizza.  The screen was closer to the heating element and required closer monitoring to be sure that the bottom didn't darken excessively before the toppings were done.  As a result, I would recommend to Lars, as well as anyone else attempting a NY style pizza in a toaster oven, to use a pizza stone if possible, or, alternatively, look into getting a couple of unglazed quarry stones and fashioning a baking surface equivalent to a pizza stone (some cutting of the stones may well be necessary).  Otherwise, a 9-inch pizza screen can be used.  

    Readers will note that the pepperoni used on the pizzas exhibits the "cup and char" characteristic which is favored by some pizza makers.  For the two pizzas, I used a pepperoni that is made by Ceriello Fine Foods.  I had picked up a stick at the specialty foods section of Grand Central Station while I was in NYC over the Thanksgiving holiday.  The amount of fat rendered by the pepperoni was actually greater than shown in the photos.  I removed some of it before taking the photos. But, for those who like the idea of fat running down their elbows while eating the pizza, then the best course is to leave the fat alone and go at it.  Both pizzas were very good, with a nice, flavorful, chewy, open and airy crust.  I wouldn't have suspected that the mini pizzas were any different than their 16-in brethren but for the smaller pizza slices and a restrained "droop".

    So, Lars, this one's for you  :).

  • #77 by Pete-zza on 20 Dec 2004
  • A slice of the Lehmann "mini" (9-inch) NY style pizza baked on the toaster oven pizza stone.

  • #78 by Pete-zza on 20 Dec 2004
  • The Lehmann "mini" (9-inch) NY style pizza baked in the toaster oven on a 9-inch pizza screen.

  • #79 by Pete-zza on 20 Dec 2004
  • A slice of the Lehmann "mini" (9-inch) NY style pizza baked in the toaster oven on the 9-inch pizza screen.

  • #80 by Lars on 20 Dec 2004
  • Thanks, Pete!!  I just bought the 9" pizza screens on Saturday, and I also bought a couple of 9" pans.  Right now I'm brining a turkey breast in the fridge, and so the making of the pizza will have to wait a couple of days, but I will use your advice and post the results.  BTW, I also found some new tomatoes at Surfas (restaurant supply).  I'll post info about that on the ingredients thread.

    I saved your instructions, and I will also double the recipe, since I bought two 0" screens.  The scale I have is accurate only to .2 oz (it's a postal scale), and so I'll have to use volume measurements for the small ingredients.  I might quadruple the recipe and bake two pizzas on the pans without using the screens, but I'll have to get a small pizza stone first.  I may have to get the unglazed quarry tiles, but those should be easy to find, although I don't know about the sizing.

    Again, thanks so much for the trouble you've gone to on my behalf!  I'll definitely take pictures of the final product!

    My next question is How do you layer the toppings?  In the past I have put a layer of cheese first and baked the pizza for 4-5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.  I generally use sliced Provolone for this.  Then I put the tomato sauce on top of that and I usually add sliced mushrooms and olives (green & black), a small layer of Parmesan and then fresh mozzarella on top of that.  I think the mushrooms and fresh mozzarella have too much water, as the top always seems a bit too wet, and I have actually used paper towels to get rid of some of the excess moisture.  I also think that baking at too low a temperature is part of the problem, however.