EDIT: For a roadmap/index and a brief summary of several of the Lehmann NY style dough recipes on this thread, please see the related thread "Pete-zza's Roadmap to the Lehmann NY Style Recipes" (under "New York Style", at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1453.0.html).
I recently decided to make a home version of Tom Lehmann's New York style pizza dough using the recipe posted in the recipe bank of the PMQ site.
In the past I have experimented with Tom L.'s recipe on several occasions but usually I departed from his instructions by using a lot less yeast (around 1/8 teaspoon), staging the ingredients in a different sequence, and sometimes even using an autolyse period. And occasionally I would use a food processor. The pizzas usually were quite good with a thin, chewy and leathery crust characteristic of a NY style pizza crust, but I am not sure that by changing the recipe as much as I did I was really making a "real" NY style pizza. So, over the weekend I decided to try to take Tom L.'s recipe and scale it down for home use and follow as closely as possible the instructions he set forth for his recipe. I determined that I wanted to make a single 16-inch pizza, and, using the standard expression W = Pi (i.e., 3.14) x R x R x 0.10, I concluded that I would need a dough ball of around 20 ounces. I also decided to use instant dry yeast, at the lower end of the range recommended by Tom L. (converting from cake yeast to IDY), and the highest hydration percentage recommended by Tom L., about 65%. Adding together all the baker's percents, I calculated that I would need 11.80 ounces of high-gluten flour (KA Sir Lancelot). The final list of ingredients and their amounts came out as follows:
High-gluten flour, 11.80 oz. (about 2 1/2 c.)
Water, 7.70 oz. (about 1 c.) (about 65% hydration)
IDY, 0.20 oz. (1 1/2 t.) [Edit: See Note below]
Salt, 0.20 oz. (3/4 t.)
Olive oil (light), 0.12 oz. (3/4 t.)
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.10
To prepare the dough, I first put the water and the salt in the bowl of my stand mixer and stirred them a bit. I then combined the flour and the IDY and added them all at once to the water in the bowl. Using the paddle attachment, I mixed the ingredients in the bowl for about 2 minutes at #1 (low) speed. At the end of the 2 minutes, the flour was fully taken up into the dough. I then added the olive oil and, continuing to use the paddle attachment, kneaded the oil into the dough at #1 speed for about a minute or two (I found the paddle attachment to be better than using the dough hook as called for in Tom L.'s directions). After the olive oil was fully incorporated into the dough, I switched to the dough hook and continued kneading the dough, at #3 speed (out of 10), until the dough was sufficiently smooth and elastic and capable of passing the windowpane test. This took about 7 minutes. The dough was soft and a little bit damp to the touch--no doubt due to the high hydration percentage--but held together well and was not particularly soggy or sticky. As Tom L.'s recipe calls for, I had adjusted the temperature of the water at the outset to achieve a finished dough temperature of 80-85 degrees F. The dough logged in at 84 degrees F. Its weight was around 20 ounces.
As soon as the dough was done, I oiled it lightly, put it into a plastic bowl, covered the bowl, and put it into the refrigerator. From time to time, I checked the dough while it was in the refrigerator and noted that it tended to rise fairly quickly, expanding by about 50 percent within an hour or two of being put into the refrigerator. After several hours, the dough expansion seemed to peak and stabilize at about double the original volume. I left the dough in the refrigerator for exactly 24 hours, following which I brought it out to room temperature to let it warm up (it was about 52 degrees F at that point and still a little bit damp to the touch but not in need of any flour addition).
Exactly 2 hours later, I shaped the dough into a roughly 16-inch pizza round. The dough was quite extensible with moderate elasticity and was quite easy to work with. If anything, it was a little too extensible and a little too inelastic, making it somewhat difficult to toss the dough once it had been stretched out to about 12 inches. I suspect that this condition was attributable to the high hydration percentage.
It's important to note that Tom L.'s recipe does not specifically call for sugar for those situations where the pizza is to be baked on a deck (or, by extension, on a pizza stone or tiles in a home environment), but allows for the possibility of using sugar for other bake applications (as on screens or disks) where it is unlikely that the dough will come into direct contact with a heat source and prematurely brown. I had decided to use a 16-inch screen in combination with the use of a pizza stone preheated for about 1 hour at the maximum temperature of my oven, about 500-550 degrees F. Under the circumstances, I chose not to use any added sugar in the recipe. Maybe the lack of added sugar can become a problem after a few days, but it didn't seem to be after 24 hours.
Once the pizza was dressed, I baked it on the screen for about 5 minutes, following which I slid the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone for about 2 more minutes to increase the browning on the bottom of the crust. I then removed the pizza from the oven to my cutting board and took the photo shown below (and in the following post). For those who are interested in knowing what was put on the pizza, it included some 6-in-1 tomatoes right out of the can and combined with some crushed, canned San Marzano tomatoes, dried basil and dried oregano, crushed red pepper, sliced deli mozzarella cheese (County Line), provolone slices, pepperoni, partially-cooked hot Italian sausage (removed from their casings), a swig or two of olive oil, fresh basil and freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (added after baking).
I don't fancy myself an expert on New York style pizza by any means, but this one struck me as exceptional. The crust was chewy and leathery, as I like it, and the rim was light and airy with a lot of large, irregular shaped holes and without being bready tasting. And the rim was huge. I had commented in another thread about how high hydration levels used by ciabatta breads results in large, irregular shaped holes, and this characteristic was apparent in the rim of the pizza I made. In fact, the holes were bigger than in any other pizza I have ever made. I have made Tom L.'s recipe before using a much lower hydration percentage, around 57%, and it did not turn out nearly as well as the one with the 65% hydration. The dough in that experiment was clearly drier and not quite as extensible but with somewhat greater elasticity. As between the two, the one I made yesterday was clearly superior.
(Note: The amount of yeast recited above is more than called for by the basic Lehmann dough recipe, by a factor of about 10. The results will still be good but see later postings below for correction of yeast amount.)