Are you certain of this? It's been a while since I've thought about reverse engineering Da Michele's dough, but I distinctly recall their dough balls being relatively tightly arranged in dough trays without any touching and involving very little spreading. Obviously, one can develop the gluten to prevent doughs with elevated hydrations from spreading, but, I think, without a late stretch and fold or re-ball a 64.5% hydration dough will generally spread a bit more than the balls in the photos I've seen.
Dear Scott, in regard to your statement, i.e., "I distinctly recall their [Da Michele's] dough balls being relatively tightly arranged in dough trays without any touching and involving very little spreading", I would like to post the picture, attached hereunder, which is, perchance, one of the best pictures of Da Michele dough balls available on the net. (The picture is by Pizza Pilgrims, https://www.facebook.com/pizzapilgrims
) Actually, I have personally witnessed their dough balls more dispersed than exhibited in the picture below. On the contrary, I have also personally witnessed their dough balls in a stiffer condition, in terms of physical constitution of each dough ball, than shown below. (Naturally, the fluid state of their dough balls change through the passage of time.) Nonetheless, to the best of my memory, they always had the same arrangement of 3 by 4 balls per tray. If you are aware of other informative pictures of Da Michele dough balls, please share them with us. I would really appreciate it.
It appears to me that Da Michele does things differently
in comparison to other pizzerias in Naples. I believe, if my beliefs are not illusory, that certain details of their dough-making process can open up new doors, new possibilities. Through my own failed experiments throughout the course of the last 12 months, I have grown to appreciate, more than ever, the level of their apparent dough-making skills, which I have been trying hard to develop. In my estimation, their dough is not easy to accomplish. Per Rick Steves' Da Michele video (
): "They [Da Michele] brag that it takes several years of practice to get the dough just right."
So true if one is a perfectionist! I wished I had more time to elaborate on my Da Michele experiments right now. After I am done with my experiments (whether I succeed or fail to any degree) and when I have the time and patience, I intend to do a post on my findings. Good night!