I am getting ready to go on Xmas break but I did not want to leave you hanging on your questions and make you await my return.
On the matter of the Grandma's Original molasses, the amount I used was 12.5% but the corresponding sucrose equivalent number was about 5.2%. I actually worked backwards on this one in that I started with the sucrose equivalency number that seemed to be in the range that would manifest itself as sweetness in the finished crust and then determined how much of the Grandma's Original molasses would be needed to produce that sucrose equivalency number. I wanted sweetness but I did not want to end up with a dough that was too dark because I had to add so much of it.
With respect to the chewiness of the finished crust, if I were to list all of the things that affect that characteristic, it would be a very long list. But, the obvious ones that seem to apply in the MM project are the type of flour, the hydration of the dough, the way the dough is kneaded, the amounts of sweetener and oil, how the skins are formed, and the bake regimen. Normally, when I am working on reverse engineering/cloning projects alone, I am more scientific about how I proceed. That usually means changing only one variable at a time. But on a communal project such as we have been engaged in here, I have often changed a couple or more of the variables at one time in order to save time. But, even at that, I am now up to the 22d MM clone dough formulation. In the most recent example, I changed the flour blend, used a different amount of molasses, and a different oil. I don't know which of these changes affected the finished crust texture the most, if at all, but I would say that the amount of molasses, and the tenderness it imparts to the crumb, was perhaps the major factor, along with the different flour blend, but possibly in a rather minor way since the amount of VWG was not a great deal different than used before.
The hydration and moisture content experiments were indeed fun and interesting. However, after I calculated a moisture content of 25% for the Steen's 100% Pure Cane Syrup, I recalled that Narris Duhon at Steen's had given me the moisture content for the Steen's product. It was 23.13%. When I tried to explain the disparity to myself, I concluded that my little digital scale isn't accurate enough. I would need to use a scale with an accuracy of 0.01 gram to get more accuracy in my numbers. For example, a fraction of a gram could throw the numbers off by a couple of percent.
You may have to explain to our younger members who or what a Rube Goldberg is. In this vein, I was reading an article recently (on a political matter) where the author said that he increasingly found himself using expressions in his writing or references to people that young people perhaps never heard of and wouldn't understand. I have found myself guilty of the same thing, yet the expressions I use have become part of my DNA and seem so natural to me to use. Maybe we will have to pay more attention to how young people express themselves so that we don't send them to dictionaries or Google for them to understand what we are saying
. Maybe we will have to start using terms like "Dude/Dudette" and "bro" more and to refer to Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez and their ilk (there I go agian with another archaic expression) just to show people how cool and hip we are
By the way, yesterday I made another MM clone dough to use upon my return from vacation. It is based on using all Steen's 100% Pure Cane Syrup. However, this time I tried to achieve the desired dough color by adding the Steen's product to the processor bowl gradually rather than all at once and accepting the final dough color. I then calculated the amount of the Steen's product that was needed to achieve the targeted dough color, by percent. It was about 17%. I hope to run one of my hydration experiments on this dough upon my return, even though the numbers may not be as accurate as I would like.