• #41 by Pete-zza on 05 Mar 2005
  • Friz,

    Terrific looking pizza. Now all that's left is to go to DiFara's and see how your pizza stacks up :D.

  • #42 by friz78 on 05 Mar 2005
  • Thanks Pete.  Always a high complement when coming from you.

    What is most exciting and interesting about this recipe to me is the incredible simplicity of it.  I don't think it can get any simpler:

    There was no added oil, sugar, or malt.  There was almost no salt. 
    It was basically flour and water and a small amount of ADY...
    A classic example of the K.I.S.S. theory at work (Keep It Simple Stupid)...
  • #43 by pftaylor on 06 Mar 2005
  • Friz,
    Wonderful looking pie. Dom would be proud of your continued efforts.

    Interesting comments about a long fermentation period in the fridge. If I didn't know better I'd swear that you are a prime candidate for a biga which would give you the wonderful flavor you just raved about. Only in spades. That very flavor upgrade you just described is why some of us incorporate a biga in our pizza making efforts. Only we get it without worrying about slack dough because we need only 24 hours or less to get the olifactory of flavor you and your wife may now have to have in every bite.

    If you can figure out a robust way (ice pack) to properly transport the Patsy's dough to my home I'll gladly pick up the dough and shipping costs. In return, I'll provide you with a mature biga in a couple weeks which will drive you wild.   

    I have long known the power of malt. It has been used in my family in one form or another for over a century. Specifically vanilla malt in my case. Most of the complex layered crunch I have referred to in the past can be attributed to three things:
    Lots of heat
    Lots of hydration and
    Vanilla malt

    Without malt it seems the dough is too homogeneous in taste texture even with proper heat & hydration. With the addition of malt I am able to recognize three different distinct layers of flavor and taste:

    The first layer, the bottom, has a seared veneer of crispiness to it but it is not burned. Nicely charred is a better description. The TEC grill with it's infra-red cooking properties probably helps with this searing process.

    The second layer is fluffy soft from the gas bubbles and the high hydration content in the dough and from being slightly not cooked all the way through. I find it moist not dry and feather light, tender may be another descriptive word for this section. This is where intense high heat helps again. The three minute bake doesn't allow enough time to dry out the middle section sufficently.

    Finally, the gummy chewy top section is basically uncooked wet, unfinished, dough due to being slathered in sauce and cheese and whatever else you want to throw on top. In combination with the other two layers it somehow harmoniously melts in your mouth.
  • #44 by friz78 on 06 Mar 2005
  • PFT,
    Excellent synopsis of the various flavor levels of your pizza dough.  I know exactly what you are talking about, but certainly not to the extent of having the luxury of 800 degree cooking temperature.  One of the "tricks" I have been using in my conventional oven is, when the top of the pizza is cooked (rim browned, cheese melted, sauce heated) I remove the pizza from the oven but KEEP IT ON THE PIZZA STONE.  Actually remove the whole stone with the pizza on it.  Then I let the pizza sit on the stone for another 1-3 minutes, which crisps the bottom of the crust nicely without overcooking the middle and top portions of the crust - achieving a similar resulting dough texture to that which you so eloquently described in your last post.   I am quite pleased with this technique.  The stone is so hot, even after removing it from the oven, that it's like cooking the bottom of your pizza two minutes longer without overcooking the rest of it.  It really works well - but still not as well as 800 degrees, I'm sure.

    Regarding the long refrigeration and how it is similar to the same concepts of a biga - again, you are absolutely correct and I was thinking the exact same thing as I was doing my write up last night.  The success of this long refrigeration is an endorsement for the same effects that a biga produces.  Now I need to decide if I want to embark upon the process of creating and maintaining bigas, which I'm still hesitant to do.  This last DiFara pizza was so good I really feel like the crust had exactly the kind of flavor I am craving - and I love the fact that I was able to attain this flavor with a recipe that consisted only of flour, water, and yeast (and a minimal amount of salt).  It was the essence of great taste via simplicity.  In many ways, this is the way they probably made pizza in Naples in the 1700s - the simplest ingredients conceivable producing great taste and texture. 

    Perhaps most amazing to me was the ability to achieve great flavor and texture from this recipe without using malt, as I was convinced that malt was a major factor in much of my recent flavor/texture results with Lehman NY style doughs.  While I'm still an advocate of using malt, believe me when I tell you that the pizza I made last night provided all the characteristics and more of prior made pizzas that included malt.  I know it probably sounds impossible to be so simple and so effective and, believe me, even I am amazed at the outcome.

  • #45 by pftaylor on 06 Mar 2005
  • If you think about it a biga is only flour water and wild yeast which is aged. That's why you would like it...
  • #46 by pftaylor on 18 Mar 2005
  • As soon as we conquer the Patsy's challenge, Dom's pie should be next.

    With the collective horsepower we have on this board we should be able to conquer it in no time. broccoli rabi, with freshly steamed artichokes. I can taste it now.
  • #47 by Pete-zza on 18 Mar 2005
  • I'm glad your're so optimistic. The four most important parts of the DiFara equation that we are missing are the ratio of 00 flour to high-gluten flour, the hydration percent, the thickness and thickness factor TF, and a gas oven. We think we even know the brands of flour (Delverde 00 or Caputo 00 for the 00 flour and General Mills All Trumps for the high-gluten), and we believe we know the types of cheeses, tomatoes, herbs, and olive oil Dom Demarco is using, all based on what diners have seen and reported, what Dom himself has said, and interviews with Dom. Yet he could be pulling everyone's chain for all we know--although he seems to be a straight ahead kind of guy. Trying to fill in the missing blanks where there are literally hundreds of potential data points is like Edison's hundreds of experiments with different filament materials before he found the right one that would work in a lightbulb.

    If we at least had a DiFara dough ball for an identified size of pizza, and determined the weight of that dough ball, then we could measure the thickness (and calculate the thickness factor). Knowing the ratio of flours and the hydration percent would take us pretty close to breaking the DiFara code, although we would still be missing certain processing details, such as those related to the fermentation process.

  • #48 by friz78 on 19 Mar 2005
  • I would LOVE it if you (Pete and PFT) would try my latest DiFara recipe as printed earlier in this thread.  EXCEPT, I would like it if you could substitute the Caputo or Bel Aria 00 flour instead of the KA00 that I am using.  I need to use the KA00 flour up, but I have a sense that the other flours will perform at en even higher level. 

    I made another batch of dough based on the recipe I used earlier in this thread and it is currently refrigerating and will be baked this evening.  I will report back on the results.  If the results are similar as my last endeavor, we are very close to a DiFara-like product, and a delicious pizza indeed.  Stay tuned for my latest results and I hope you guys will try my earlier recipe as a starting point for perfecting the DiFara recipe.  Perhaps one of you could introduce an autolyse in your experiment for additional feedback on that front.
  • #49 by Pete-zza on 19 Mar 2005
  • friz,

    As soon as I can find some time I plan to try your DiFara clone recipe. That has been my intent all along.

    I read somewhere recently that someone saw a bag of Caputo 00 flour at DiFara's. Usually Dom Demarco uses Delverde 00 flour, but it is possible he has switched, or possibly he uses both brands from time to time. I believe I have a small amount of All Trumps high-gluten flour on hand and could use that with the Caputo 00 flour. I have found little evidence of significant use by pizza operators of the Bel Aria 00 flour, so I would not be inclined to use that brand in a DiFara clone. I think I would be inclined to try a non-autolyse approach first, and possibly use a future experiment to try out the autolyse. I don't know if Dom Demarco uses an autolyse but it wouldn't surprise me if he did because it is fairly common for Neapolitan style doughs using 00 flour. I am somewhat skeptical, but who knows?

    BTW, Friz, the other day I took about a teaspoon of SAF active dry yeast (ADY) and added about 1/4 cup of warm water (at 95-105 degrees F, as recommended on the yeast packet), together with a fair amount of salt on a relative basis--about 1/2 teaspoon. I whisked everything together continuously for about 4 minutes, pretty much as I believe you did when you made your DiFara dough clone. I did not notice any deleterious effects, and when I checked back a few more times later also saw no noticeable harmful effects (although, to be fair, the better test would have been to then try to use the yeast mixture in an actual dough making exercise).

    As you might guess, if Tom Lehmann saw what you did in mixing in the salt with the yeast and water, he might have mildly but politely scolded you :). But I think he knows quite well that the strains of yeasts manufactured today by commercial yeast producers are quite hardy and much more tolerant of things like salt, sugar and water temperature than the older strains of commercial yeast. But if he (Tom) told pizza operators that it was OK to mix yeast and salt, then for sure all kinds of problems and abuse would surface and he would be spending all of his time diagnosing their problems.

    It's far safer to lay out ground rules that are least likely to lead to problems. Tom Lehmann's rules are fairly simple and straightforward: Use a proven dough recipe where all of the ingredients are in balance, weigh the ingredients, don't mix salt or sugar with yeast, don't mix the oil with the water, temperature adjust the water to achieve a specified finished dough temperature, don't overknead the dough and, where appropriate (depending mostly on the style of dough to be made), scale, oil and get the dough into the cooler as soon as possible and allow for long fermentation and, finally, let the dough warm up enough before shaping. If everyone followed these rules, diagnosing and pinpointing problems would be a far simple and easier task.

  • #50 by duckjob on 20 Mar 2005
  • I used friz's percents for the flour and water. I used 16 oz of flour total, 60% KASL and 40% KA00 and a 65% hydration percentage. I used just under 1/2 tsp of salt and a tsp of ady proofed in all of the water for about 5 minutes. I poured the water and yeast into my mixer followed by all of the flour. I mixed on speed 2 for about 30 seconds , then added the salt in and mixed for another 5 minutes. I split the resulting dough ball into two balls and allowed to proof for 24 hours in the fridge. I was pretty happy the results. A different taste than I am used to, but it was good. The crust was great, nice and airy. The second picture is a little blurry, and unfortunately the pizza is gone so I can't take another picture :) .


  • #51 by friz78 on 20 Mar 2005
  • Duckjob,
    That's a heckuva nice job and quite a nice looking pizza.  Thanks for joining us on DiFara experiment.  It was a pleasant surprise to see your attempt at this today.  And a mighty fine attempt indeed.

    Can let us know a few more details about your experience with this recipe?  How did the dough handle?  How was the flavor of the crust (sounds like the texture was very good)?  Is there anything you (or one of us) would like to adjust with the recipe in the spirit of experimentation to perfect the recipe better?
    Thanks again for getting on board with this experiment.
  • #52 by duckjob on 20 Mar 2005
  • Friz, the dough was pretty easy to handle, especially considering the high hydration percentage. It had the perfect combination of elasticity and extensibility. I was able to toss it as opposed to streching it out on a work surface like I end up having to do with some high hydration recipes. Definately had a different tast, a little tangy actually. The crust itself is what really impressed me though. It was chewy, airy, and slightly crispy on the outside, which is just how I like it. This is my first attempt, but the recipe you have come up with is pretty solid. I may tinker with the percentage of KA00 and KASL just out of curiosity, and might try adding some sugar to the recipe to aid in browing since I'm stuck useing a conventional oven that won't go much past 550. I'll probably give it another go later this week, I'll post my results. If anyone is interested in how I cooked it, I pre heated the oven to 500 for 1 hour, placed the pizza on a screen and cooked on a pre heated stone for 6 minutes. I then moved the pizza directly onto the stone and turned the broiler on for 3 minutes to brown both sides a bit.
  • #53 by friz78 on 20 Mar 2005
  • I made another DiFara pizza on Saturday night using the same recipe as outlined earlier in this thread.  I used a 40 hour refrigeration and, once again, the results were quite good.  I did, however, experience difficulty in shaping the dough, as it was quite extensible. 

    I would suggest to anyone trying this recipe that you need to take extreme care in shaping this dough because of the great extensibility of the dough.  Actually, if anyone has any insight as to why the dough is so extensible (outside of the obviously high hydration %), I would love to hear your thoughts.  I'm thinking that it might have something to do with the low salt content and long refrigeration, but I can't say for sure.  Anyway, it's worth the extra care that is required in shaping this dough, as the end product is quite good.

    Another idea I have for addressing the extensibility issue is to reduce the size of the dough ball and, thereby reducing the diameter of the pizza.  Pete, if you would be so kind, I would be most appreciative if you could give the baker's measurements for a 14 inch and 13 inch diameter pizza, as adjusted from my 15 inch recipe.  A smaller diameter pizza will definitely make handling this dough a bit easier without having to adjust any of the recipe (although if we continue to experiment that may happen anyway).

    Also in the spirit of Dom DeMarco, I got really creative with my toppings for this pizza and it made a huge splash with my wife and our dinner guests last night.  I noticed in some pictures of DeMarco at work, that he does not add some toppings before baking, but waits until after - particularly with mushrooms.  So, for this DiFara knockoff, I sauteed some mushrooms in butter, added a little salt and pepper and, after the pizza was cooked, I distributed the sauteed mushrooms on top of the cooked pizza.  In addition, I also cooked some Arugula in a saucepan, similar to the way you would cook spinach (just washed it, rinsed it, and heated it in the saucepan until cooked).  After the arugula was cooked, I drained all the excess water from the saucepan and then drizzled extra virgin olive oil and one clove of chopped garlic on top of the cooked arugula.  I covered the saucepan and just let the olive oil and garlic infuse the arugula for two minutes.  I then draped the finished sauteed arugula over the DiFara knockoff.  So, in the end, I had a Dom DeMarco special with sauteed mushrooms and arugula.  This baby was special.  And the beauty was that the crust maintained its crisp and overall texture because all of the toppings were added after the baking was complete.  I think Dom would've been proud if he saw me in action last night.

    Nonetheless, this recipe and preparation techniques can be improved upon, I'm convinced.  I welcome any and all assistance in elevating the DiFara knockoff from good to great!!  Also, allow me to apologize for not having any photographs to support this post.  My digital camera was left in Florida last week while on a business trip and I won't get it back until later this week. >:(
  • #54 by duckjob on 20 Mar 2005
  • Your theory of a smaller dough being easier to work with is probably true. I started with 16 oz of flour, and ended up cutting the dough ball in half. It yieled two 12 inch pizzas. I let them warm up on the counter for about an hour and a half. I had dusted the counter with flour, so some of that ended up getting mixed into the dough as well, but like I mentioned in my last post I was able to toss it, and didn't find it to be overly extensible, which is not what I was expecting.
  • #55 by friz78 on 20 Mar 2005
  • Duck,
    This is great feedback. 12-14 inches seems like it would be ideal for this dough.

    Now that I am thinking about it, the one thing I did notice that was a bit different than normal is that, before refrigeration, my dough ball temperature was about 87 degrees.  This is about 7 degrees higher than normal.  If anyone has any feedback of the possible ramifications of a warmer than recommended dough ball before refrigeration, I would love to hear it.   Could this be a reason for the extra extensibility I experienced but Duck clearly did not?
  • #56 by pftaylor on 21 Mar 2005
  • Friz,
    I promise to try my hand at your Di Fara clone as soon as my travel schedule permits. I am in travel status the next four weeks:
    Asia Pac

    Judging from your pictures, I can sense you are proud and rightly so. I only wish I could participate more in the coming days. However, I will try and keep up with your success through reading.

  • #57 by Pete-zza on 21 Mar 2005
  • Friz,

    I'd be more than happy to work on 13-inch and 14-inch versions of your DiFara dough clone. But I'd like you to consider another possibility before considering the 13-inch and 14-inch approaches.

    When I started to "deconstruct" your recipe for the 15-inch DiFara dough clone based on a dough ball weight of 16 oz. (it's actually 16.12 oz. when the weights of the salt and yeast are factored in), I discovered that the thickness factor TF was only 0.09 (TF = 16.12/(3.14 x 7.5 x 7.5 = 0.09).  A thickness factor of 0.09 is on the thin side--thinner, for example, than a NY style dough. If you used the roughly 16 oz. dough ball to make a 14-inch pizza instead of a 15-inch pizza, the thickness factor would go up to 0.105, which would be right in line with a NY style dough. That might solve the problem with extensibility a bit simply by having a slightly thicker dough to work with.

    As an alternative, I could calculate quantities of ingredients for a 13-inch or 14-inch DiFara dough clone as you have requested, but I don't think that would solve the extensibility problem. It may well be true that a smaller skin will be easier to handle, but the extensibility problem would most likely still remain because the thickness factor would still be 0.09 and the dough would still be as thin as your 15-inch version. But if you would like me to proceed nonetheless with the 13-inch or 14-inch clones, let me know and I will take a stab at calculating the required quantities of ingredients. But also consider the following analysis as you decide how you would like to proceed.

    As for the extensibility problem itself, I think you hit on some of the possible contributors to that problem--the high hydration, long fermentation time, and maybe the small amount of salt. But I think you may have hit on the most important one in your post last night--the high finished dough temperature, especially in combination with the other factors you had mentioned. As I was thinking about your problem last night, I recalled that you had proofed the ADY in warm water--the entire amount of the water. The recommended way to proof ADY so as not to elevate the finished dough temperature is to proof the ADY in only a small amount of warm water (95-105 degrees F), say, a few tablespoons, and to keep the rest of the water on the cool side. That way you properly proof the yeast and don't shock it with cold water, which it does not like, and you don't run up the finished dough temperature.

    You might also want to actually calculate the temperature of the water to use based on the temperature of the flour you are using, the room temperature, and the frictional heat produced by your stand mixer. The expression for this is WT = (3 x desired finished dough temperature) - (room temperature + flour temperature + mixer frictional heat temperature). If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, I would use around 10 degrees F as the frictional heat temperature. That number will vary based on the amount of dough that is made, the speed at which you operate the stand mixer, and so on. But it is a good number to start with and adjust it based on actual experience using it (that is, you may have to raise or lower it based on your personal experience). So, as an example, if the finished dough temperature you want is 80 degrees F, and your room temperature and flour temperature are both at, say, 72 degrees F, then the water temperature to use will be (3 x 80) - (72 + 72 + 10) = 86 degrees F. Of course, as the weather warms up or cools down on a seasonal basis, the required water temperature will go up or down accordingly, being higher in the winter and lower in the summer.

    I mention all of the above because if your water temperature was too high, you will in effect have expedited the fermentation process. And with the high hydration level and 40 hours of refrigeration, I am not surprised that the dough was very extensible. In the future, if you desire having a long fermentation time and less dough extensibility, you might consider using cooler water and also try to cool the dough down faster. You might do this by using fellow member Giovanni's trick of putting the finished dough in the freezer for a short period of time (I have used 30-40 minutes without harm) before putting it into the refrigerator compartment. You might also add a bit of sugar to your dough to begin with. That might not solve the extensibility problem by itself, but it will keep the yeast fed and prevent an overly slack dough. I still haven't figured out the effects of low salt on extensibility. Salt does play a role in regulating the fermentation process and it is a factor in gluten development. I just haven't figured whether the salt plays a role in controlling extensibility and, if it does, to what extent.

  • #58 by friz78 on 21 Mar 2005
  • Pete,
    You may recall that I increased the diameter of my pizza after receiving feedback from you earlier in this thread that you found your pizza to be a bit too thick for the quantities of ingredients you used.  Therefore, I just simply increased the size of the pizza diameter and kept the ingredient %s the same.  Admittedly this was a very inexact science.  Moving forward, I am not quite sure how to standardize ingredient %s, but I would be more than happy to accept your best guess, as you undoubtedly have an impeccable track record of success in this regard.  If you would be able to "suggest" some recommendations on this front for the DiFara clone, I would be very pleased to proceed with your suggestions and provide the feedback necessary on the desired thickness.

    Regarding my last attempt, I can't say the thickness factor was really an issue because I never measured the diameter of the pizza.  I just did the best I could to control the extensibility and, when it looked like it was spread to a reasonable size I transfered it to the peel ASAP.    But in the spirit of being as precise as possible, it would be great to get some standardized measurements for various diameters.

  • #59 by Pete-zza on 21 Mar 2005
  • Friz,

    Your memory is good. When I first made a DiFara dough clone, I used a thickness factor of around 0.10 for a 14-inch skin. And, as you mentioned, I thought that the crust was a bit too thick and that a thickness factor of 0.09 for a 15-inch skin was something to consider for a future experiment--which I did not do but you did. I had used a different flour blend and ratio of flours (50/50), and a lower hydration level (around 60%), whereas you chose to use the flours you had on hand (KASL and KA00), in a different ratio (60/40), and a higher hydration level (65%). Since you had good results with your formulation, I think it is best to stick with that formulation until better information comes along to suggest a need for changes.

    Today I went back and took another look at some of the DiFara/Demarco photos and it seems to me that the DiFara crust is indeed thin, and that my earlier notion of using 0.09 as the thickness factor may have been OK after all. So, for our purposes, I will stick for now with that thickness factor. To this end, I have set forth below the ingredients and quantities to use for a 13-inch skin and a 14-inch skin as you requested, along with my deconstructed version of the 15-inch version you have been using (to take the salt and yeast amounts in consideration when calculating all of the baker's percents). I have also given you a 16-inch version, in the event you choose to go in the other direction toward the size that DiFara's is said to use. (I have heard that the DiFara pizzas may be 18-inch, so if you can handle that size in your oven, I can create an 18-inch version should you wish.)

    I still believe that you should look at your dough management procedures along the lines I mentioned earlier today, with the view to reducing the extensibility of the dough. I would proof the ADY in a small amount of warm water separate from the rest of the water, I would temperature adjust the water to get a finished dough temperature of around 80 degrees F (or even lower if you want a long fermentation of, say, around 40 hours), and I would try to cool down the dough as fast as possible once it comes off the hook, however you should choose to do so. The toughest part will be to determine the frictional temperature of your stand mixer. The best way to determine this is to start with 10 degrees F in the expression I gave earlier today, calculate the necessary water temperature to get a finished dough temperature of 80 degrees F (or less for a long fermentation), make your dough as usual, and then actually measure the finished dough temperature. If the finished dough temperature is off from the calculated number, either way, increase or decrease the frictional temperature number by the difference and use the new number in the water temperature calculation the next time you make the same dough in the same machine. You should come pretty close to zeroing in on the right number to use.

    Here are the new recipes, along with the baker's percents (which are the same for all the recipes). I have intentionally not rounded off all the numbers so that I have a way of auditing my numbers should I ever have a need to do so for any reason:

    13-inch (12.11 oz. dough ball)

    Flour (100%), 4.37 oz. KASL (60%) + 2.91 oz. KA00 (40%) = 7.28 oz.
    Water (65%), 4.73 oz.
    Salt (0.507%), 0.037 oz. (between 1/8 and 1/4 t.)
    Yeast (ADY, 0.687%), 0.05 oz. (3/8 t.) (or 1/4 t. IDY)

    14-inch (14.04 oz. dough ball)

    Flour (100%), 5.07 oz. KASL (60%) + 3.38 oz. KA00 (40%) = 8.45 oz.
    Water (65%), 5.49 oz.
    Salt (0.507%), 0.043 oz. (a bit less than 1/4 t.)
    Yeast (ADY, 0.687%), 0.058 oz. (between 3/8 and 1/2 t.) (or between 1/3 and 1/4 t. IDY)

    15-inch (16.12 oz. dough ball--the one currently being used by Friz)

    Flour (100%), 5.82 oz. KASL (60%) + 3.88 oz KA00 (40%) = 9.7 oz.
    Water (65%), 6.3 oz.
    Salt (0.507%), 0.0492 oz. (1/4 t.)
    Yeast (ADY, 0.687%), 0.067 oz. (1/2 t.) (or 1/3 t. IDY)

    16-inch (18.34 oz. dough ball)

    Flour (100%), 6.62 oz. KASL (60%) + 4.41 oz. KA00 (40%) = 11.03 oz.
    Water (65%), 7.17 oz.
    Salt (0.507%), 0.056 oz. (a bit more than 1/4 t.)
    Yeast (ADY, 0.687%), 0.076 oz. (a bit more than 1/2 t.) (or 3/8 t. IDY)


  • #60 by Pete-zza on 24 Mar 2005
  • Last night I started a DiFara dough clone based on a 14-inch version of the DiFara clone recipe recently used by fellow member Friz with very good results.

    The starting point for the dough was the recipe that I posted at Reply #58 on this thread, specifically, the 14-inch version recorded there. My original intent was to follow Friz's basic recipe and techniques almost exactly, except for the brands of flours used. But, upon reflection, I decided to make some additional changes. First, and most importantly, I decided to use room temperature fermentation only--that is, no refrigeration. I did this inasmuch as all the best information we have on DiFara's suggests that Dom Demarco does not refrigerates his dough. Second, for convenience, I decided to use IDY instead of ADY, and mixed it directly into the flour blend. Third, since I did not want the dough to rise too quickly, I used a smaller amount of IDY than usual--a bit less than 1/4 t. The actual flour blend I used was a 60/40 combination of All Trumps high-gluten flour (14.2% protein) and Caputo 00 pizzeria flour. Those are the flours that DiFara's appears to be using at this time, if the intelligence we have been receiving from Di Fara diners is correct. The water used to make the dough was temperature adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of 80 degrees F. In all other respects, I was guided by the same instructions Friz used with very good results in making his own DiFara dough clone. The final recipe I used was as follows:

    5.07 oz. All Trumps (Genera Mills) high-gluten flour (about 1 c. plus 1 2/3 T.)
    3.38 oz. Caputo 00 pizzeria flour (about 3/4 c. plus 1 t.)
    5.49 oz. water (around 65% hydration) (a bit less than 3/4 c.)
    1/4 t. salt
    Slightly less than 1/4 t. IDY

    I started the dough last night at about 7:30 PM and had it in a bowl (covered) on my kitchen countertop by 8PM. What I was hoping to do was to replicate DiFara's dough production cycle by having the dough ready to be made into a pizza by 11:00 AM today. 11:00 AM is the time that DiFara's opens its doors for the lunchtime crowd.

    At first, the dough rose very slowly, but by 8:00 AM this morning, the dough had risen in volume by about 2 1/2 times. The dough itself was very soft, pillowy, wet and sticky. This alone suggested that DiFara's dough couldn't have those same characteristics since the individual dough balls in a dough tray would slump and run into each other and make a mess. That in turn suggested that DiFara's may not be using as high a hydration level as the formulation I used (around 65%). It's also possible that the small amount of salt called for in the formulation, around 1/4 t., was allowing the dough to ferment with very little restraint, resulting in significant dough expansion. So, if I had to guess, I would say that DiFara's quite likely uses a lower hydration dough and more salt.

    Once I had assessed the condition of the dough, I dusted my hands with some bench flour and reshaped the dough ball. It came together nicely and the stickiness and wetness subsided. I then let the dough (covered) rise for another 2 3/4 hours, also at room temperature. During that time, the dough doubled again and, while it was still a bit damp, a small amount of bench flour took care of that minor problem. What most surprised me when I started to shape and stretch the dough (at 11:00 AM today, just like at DiFara's) was that it was quite elastic. It had extensibility, but the elasticity was more dominant. However, after allowing the dough to rest for a minute or two for a couple of times, the gluten in the dough relaxed enough for me to be able to shape the dough into a 14-inch skin without any problem. The dough at this point exhibited a fair number of bubbles, which suggested that the finished dough would also have bubbling.

    The skin was dressed and baked on a pizza stone that had been preheated for about an hour at around 500-550 degrees F. The stone was place on the middle rack of my oven. I intentionally dressed the skin simply--basically Randy's Penzeys-based tomato sauce, shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese and grated grana padano and Parmigiano-Reggiano hard cheeses--so that I could better assess the crust without excessive interference from the toppings. The pizza took about 7 to 8 minutes to bake.

    The finished pizza is shown in the photos below. I thought it was exceptional. The crust was soft, yet chewy and crunchy, especially at the rim. And surprisingly light--in terms of weight--and delicate. The recipe formulation calls for a thickness factor of 0.09, which is a notch below "thin" (which typically is around 0.10), so the 0.09 thickness factor seems to be in the right ballpark. What also surprised me was that I didn't find the small amount of salt, about 1/4 t., to be insufficient. It seemed to be just right.

    Overall, I would rate the formulation I used a keeper. Possible areas for future experimentation include using a lower hydration level, more salt (mainly to curb the rate of fermentation), other blends of flours that are more readily available, and a shorter overall dough cycle (this may mean starting the dough later in the evening).