This is a serious rant, so I apologize in advance.
It is incomprehensible to me why someone who is in the pursuit of a perfect pizza, wouldn't use a scale each and every time for each of the ingredients. If you're going to spend 1/2 hour mixing, 1-2 days retarding, and an evening entertaining and tossing, why wouldn't you want to maximize your chances of success or at least reproducibility. The amount of something is measured by its mass. We donít have ďmassmetersĒ, but here on earth we can substitute weight as a very,very,very good approximation. Use a scale. A good one. Weigh your ingredients. Every time.
I have a close friend who I turned on to Pizza Making ten years ago. He starts with three and a half cups of flour, and eyeballs everything else. He makes Pizza, and sometimes it is good. But he always rolls it in a greased pan. He's asked me to show him how to hand form it, and get it from a peel and a stone, but I just can't. His dough is either so dry that it won't stretch, or so wet that it tears. Even if he does get the hydration close, he wonít plan more than an hour or two ahead of time, so itís never retarded.
Heck, I have another friend (an M.D. no less) who assembles a pizza on a cold stone covered in cornmeal and slides the whole thing into a preheated oven. Yech.
I started making pizza as a hobby in the 70's. For Thirty years, I made mediocre pizzas, good pizzas, and sometimes great pizzas. But never the same pizza twice, even though I was using 'basically' the same recipe. Then in 2005 I "snuck" into a pizza convention. Took an all day class entitled "Pizza Dough boot camp".
This is what they hammered into our heads:
1. Use a scale and a thermometer to improve the process
2. Retard your dough (except in an emergency, and then there was a special recipe)
3. Learn and use baker's percentages <a totally non-intuitive -at first- way of communicating recipes>
The quality and consistency of my Pizzas has risen dramatically. (This board has helped as well)
Something to think about: whatís the difference between French bread, Ciabatta, Bagels, and Pizza dough ? Not much. Slight changes in the ratios of the very same ingredients. Slight changes to process. Totally different results.
I respect the fact that Jose and others can make a decent Pie without a scale. But I would never try one of his recipes unless it was expressed in weight. And like another poster, I always skip any recipe expressed volumetrically. I may read it to see how they ran their mixer, or combined there ingredients, or setup their oven, but thatís about it. How much does a cup of flour weigh ?
Donít Know. Donít Care.
And finally, if youíve indulged me this far, hereís another question that will give you something to think about: How much does a cup of water weigh at tap temperature? If you answered 0.5 lbs / 8 oz. / 227 gms, I donít want any of your recipes.