This is a tale of two pizzas—my first serious attempts to make cracker-type crust pizzas. For these pizzas, I used the formulation I put together recently in an attempt to replicate the Round Table dough/crust. First, the formulation I used:
100%, Flour, 9.33 oz. (264.51 g.), (see volume measurements below)
48%, Water, 4.48 oz. (127.01 g.), (5/8 c.)
1.75%, Salt, 0.16 oz. (between 3/4 and 7/8 t.)
1.5%, Shortening (Crisco), 0.14 oz (3.97 g.), (1 t.)
1.0%, Sugar, 0.093 oz. (2.64 g.), (a bit more than 5/8 t.)
1.0%, Non-fat dry milk (Carnation), 0.093 oz. (2.64 g.), (almost 1 7/8 t.)
0.5%, IDY (instant dry yeast), 0.05 oz. (1.42 g.), (a bit less than 1/2 t.)
Water temp.: Adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of 80 degrees F
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.08
There were both similarities and differences between the two doughs I made based on the above formulation and their management. In terms of similarities, the quantities of ingredients were selected to produce enough dough in each case to produce a 14-inch dough circle, with a bit of dough left over. I wanted to be sure that there would be enough dough to fit on a 14-inch pizza screen and have a thickness of 1/8-inch, the size and thickness ThatOneGuy specified for a Round Table “large” standard pizza. To establish the requisite amount of dough, I used the weight given by ThatOneGuy for a 14-inch dough circle, 12.50 oz., and calculated that the corresponding thickness factor (TF) was 0.08. I used that thickness factor to calculate an amount of dough sufficient to make a 15-inch dough circle. The 1-inch difference would be the leftover dough (scrap).
The water that I used for both doughs was temperature adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of around 80 degrees F, which is apparently an objective used by RT. I used part of this water to reconstitute the Carnation non-fat dry milk and to disable any offending protein or enzyme that might negatively affect the dough. To do this, I combined part of the water with the dry milk and heated it to just below boiling, then let it cool down, and combined it with the rest of the water, which was then cooled to the temperature I calculated would be necessary to achieve the finished dough temperature of around 80 degrees F.
Both doughs were processed using a food processor. I simply combined all of the ingredients except for the water/milk mixture in the food processor, slowly added the water/milk mixture, and pulsed for about 40-50 seconds, or until the ingredients took on a cornmeal-like texture. I then gathered the dough and shaped it into a round ball. This is the technique that Steve used with very good results in making the DKM thin-crust dough. In both cases, the finished dough temperature was close to 80 degrees F.
The major ingredient difference between the two doughs was that I used bread flour (2 c. + 1 T. + 2 t.) for the first dough (which I will hereafter refer to as RT1) and King Arthur Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour (2 c. + 2 T. + 2 t.) for the second dough (RT2). I wanted to compare the use of the bread flour and KASL high-gluten flour since Steve and others had indicated a preference for the high-gluten flour for a cracker-type crust.
I used two diametrically different approaches to the dough management for the RT1 and RT2 doughs. The RT1 dough was refrigerated for about 12 hours. It was then rolled out into a large circle from which I cut out a dough circle of 14 inches, trying to simulate in a general way the process described by ThatOneGuy. I found this to be a challenge for the small amount of dough I had to work with. However, I was able easily to roll out the dough and cut out a 14-inch dough circle from the rolled out dough. The 14-inch dough circle had a 1/8-inch thickness. And its weight, at around 12.4 oz., was reasonably close to the 12.5 oz. mentioned by ThatOneGuy.
I docked the dough circle, put it on the 14-inch pizza screen, dressed it in the usual fashion, and put it in a 500 degree F preheated oven, in which I had also placed a pizza stone on the lowest oven rack position and preheated for about an hour. The pizza was baked (on the middle oven rack position) for about 4 minutes, following which I transferred the pizza to the stone for additional bottom browning of the crust. There were no bubbles formed at any time during the process.
By contrast, for the RT2 dough, I left it to ferment entirely at room temperature, for about 24 hours. This is the approach that Steve has used with good results. Unlike the RT1 dough, which did not rise noticeably during its 12-hours of fermentation in the refrigerator, the RT2 dough rose by about 25 percent, with most of the rise occurring during the first few hours. To roll out and shape the RT2 dough, I used a technique suggested by Tom Lehmann. I rolled the RT2 dough out to a large circle, folded it in quarters, and re-rolled it again, this time to around 15 inches. This is a technique that many of our members use in making deep-dish doughs. I then cut out a 14-inch dough circle, docked it on both sides, placed it in a 14-inch dark cutter pan, and pre-baked the dough for about 4 minutes in a 500 degree F preheated oven. There were many small to medium sized bubbles this time. I removed the pre-baked crust from the oven, dressed it in the usual fashion, and finished baking it at around 475 degrees F for another 5 or 6 minutes, or until the crust was browned and the cheeses were bubbling and just starting to turn brown.
The photos in this post are for the pizza made using the RT1 dough. The photos in the next post are for the pizza made using the RT2 dough. As between the two pizzas, the RT2 pizza was clearly better. The overall flavors were comparable for the most part, but what made the RT2 pizza better for me was that it was far crispier and much more cracker-like than the RT1 pizza. The RT2 crust also had better browning and flavor. Whether the differences were due mainly to the flours used, the dough rolling techniques, or the lack of a pre-bake for the RT1 dough, I don’t yet know, but the RT1 pizza was more chewy than cracker-like. In retrospect, I might have baked the RT1 pizza directly on the preheated pizza stone, as Tom Lehmann frequently recommends for a thin, cracker-type crust (he also recommends overnight cold fermentation of the dough). I might try that approach another time.
Another possibility is to bake the pizza on a perforated cutter pan or disk (neither of which I have at the moment), with or without a pre-bake. I am also inclined to lower the hydration ratio by a few percent for future RT doughs since a drier dough seems more likely to produce a more cracker-like crust. I’m fairly confident that from what I have already learned I will be able to improve upon my results.
Since I have never had a Round Table pizza, someone else who has eaten Round Table’s standard pizza will have to try the formulation specified above to tell us whether I came anywhere close to the RT dough/pizza.