Author Topic: Gotta give it up to Mr. Lehmann  (Read 2431 times)

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Offline jsaras

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Gotta give it up to Mr. Lehmann
« on: November 01, 2012, 10:57:14 AM »
My pizza making journey began approximately 9 months ago and I stumbled upon this website last April.  My initial impression regarding the Lehmann recipe was skeptical.  Since Tom Lehmann is the American Baking Institute's consultant to the "pizza industry" I naturally thought his recipe was responsible for the mediocre pizzas I've been eating at most restaurants.  So I avoided trying Lehmann's recipe for that reason.

After trying many formulations with varying degrees of success, but never achieving nirvana, I broke down this week and I tried the Lehmann formulation using 63% hydration and Lehmann's sponge method described here: http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=38304#38304  FINALLY, I achieved all the qualities I've been searching for in a crust and the taste was spectacular even with just an overnight refrigeration.  I can't wait to try a 3-day dough!

So, three cheers for Mr Lehmann and anything he says is gold! 

P.S.  Can anyone explain why there is so much crummy pizza out there? Is no one calling the Dough Doctor? 

Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Gotta give it up to Mr. Lehmann
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2012, 11:35:05 AM »

Several years ago, when I first started to seriously study pizza dough and pizza making, Tom was one of the few people who wrote about the subject. There were others, such as Evelyne Slomon, John Correll, Big Dave Ostrander and a few others, but it was Tom who was the dominant force. And still is. I have been reading Tom's stuff for years and I still learn things from him. I have always thought that one of Tom's greatest strengths was keeping people out of trouble, and far preferable to trying to diagnose and fix peoples' problems because they did not listen.

As for the dough formulation you mentioned, that is one that is known on the forum. For example, I adapted the methods of that formulation to modify JerryMac's NY style dough recipe, as I discussed at Reply 28 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6515.msg62814/topicseen.html#msg62814. I have also referred other members to Tom's dough formulation, for example, at Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8558.msg74024/topicseen.html#msg74024 and Reply 2 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8601.msg74478/topicseen.html#msg74478.

There will be a big hole in the world of pizza making when Tom hangs it up. That is one of the reasons why I cite his work so often, both here and from the PMQ Think Tank and his articles for different publications over the years.


Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Gotta give it up to Mr. Lehmann
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2012, 12:37:35 PM »
I'm honored!
Here at the American Institute of Baking/AIB International we are very research oriented, but even more importantly we are educators in that we disseminate the findings of our research to the general public (unless it's gained through private contracted research) through publications, our seminars/classes, and participation in other programs such as the NAPICS Show, PMQ Pizza Show, and Pizza Expo. I have also traveled quite extensively on the International circuit teaching and demonstrating all aspects of making pizza (science, technology, function and interaction of ingredients, processes, etc.) all to spread the good word. The things that I cannot do as you have correctly stated is make people listen, follow known successful practices, and to take our advice. This is even in light of the fact that there are some amazingly large companies out there making and selling pizza on a scale that most of us can only dream of, that don't have a technical staff knowledgeable in the science and technologies of pizza formulation or processing. It is a lot like complimenting the pilot of a Boeing 747 on a great, smooth landing under adverse conditions, and having the pilot respond back to you "thank you, after I get my pilot's license I should be able to do even better".
As for the quality of commercial pizzas, well, lets just chalk it up to pride (we have made and sold the same pizza for X-years), fear of rocking the boat (it took us 20-years to get to where we're at and we ain't going to change anything), and economics (we provide a product that a certain segment of the population finds to be acceptable (mind you I said acceptable, not great) at a price point that they are willing to, or can afford to buy it at). There are a bunch of other reasons, but I see these as the major ones, with my job being to help then achieve their goals, whatever they might be.

Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor