Recently, after having read this thread on Greek (bar) pizzas, I decided to try to make one. As a kid growing up in Massachusetts, Greek pizzas were what I knew best—from places that all seemed to be called “[fill in the blank] House of Pizza”. It wasn’t until I moved about the country that I discovered other types of pizza to add to my pizza portfolio. Reading about the Greek pizza at this thread prompted me to renew my acquaintance with that style of pizza after a period of time that seemed about a lifetime.
So, following all the hints and tips that our other members offered on this style of pizza, and particularly the helpful tips and comments from scott r, I decided to modify the basic Lehmann NY style dough formulation to fit the profile of the Greek style dough. To do this, I increased the thickness factor to 0.11 (to yield a slightly thicker crust), increased the yeast (IDY) by about 50% (to provide a more pronounced rise), and added some sugar (which seemed to be a common ingredient for the Greek style dough). In a sense, the dough had attributes of both the NY and American styles.
My original plan was to try to find a 10-inch pan to bake the pizza--in the name of authenticity. However, I decided instead to use a 14-inch cutter pan (with a 13 1/2-inch diameter bottom) that I already had on hand, having purchased it from pizzatools.com. It seemed to have all the desirable attributes. It is dark, made of anodized aluminum, and the pizzatools website says that the pan will retain oil for a buttery flavor, produce a chewier crust, and is suitable for medium and thick crusts. I have seen the Greek style pizza described as being thin, but my recollection is that it was more like medium. So, the cutter pan seemed well suited to the task.
The formulation I ended up with as a result of the modifications I made to the basic Lehmann formulation was as follows:
100%, High-gluten flour (KASL), 9.37 oz. (265.46 g.), 2 1/4 c.
63%, Water*, 5.90 oz. (167.24 g.), a bit less than 3/4 c.
2%, Sugar, 0.19 oz. (5.31 g.), 1 1/3 t.
1%, Oil (extra virgin olive oil), 0.09 oz. (2.65 g.), a bit over 1/2 t.
1.75%, Salt, 0.16 oz. (4.65 g.), a bit less than 7/8 t.
0.40%, Instant dry yeast (IDY), 0.04 oz. (1.06 g.), a bit over 1/3 t.
*Temp. adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of 75 degrees F
Thickness Factor (TF) = 0.11
Finished dough weight = 15.75 oz. (446.38 g.)
Pizza size = 13 1/2 inches (the diameter of the cutter pan bottom)
Note: all measurements U.S./metric standard
The dough was prepared using the basic procedures outlined at Reply 8 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.msg19563.html#msg19563
. The only change was the addition of the sugar, which I dissolved in the water contemporaneously with the salt. The finished dough was lightly oiled and put into a metal lidded container and then into the refrigerator. The dough remained in the refrigerator for almost 48 hours. Upon removing the dough from the refrigerator, I dusted it with a bit of bench flour, covered it loosely with a sheet of plastic wrap, and allowed the dough to rest for one hour. I then shaped and stretched it out to 13 1/2 inches (the diameter of the bottom of the cutter pan) and fitted it into the cutter pan, which I had coated, with about one tablespoon of olive oil. I pushed the dough out to the edge of the pan, without trying to form a rim. I couldn’t recall whether the pizza makers of my youth covered the pans, or whether they were stacked, so I covered the panned dough with a sheet of plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. I then allowed the dough to proof for an additional 2 hours. All of the foregoing steps were handled with ease.
The sauce I elected to use was made from 6-in-1 tomatoes, which I heated gently in a pan to reduce some of the liquids (but not to the paste stage), and to which I added granulated garlic, some sugar, freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and a fairly copious amount of dried imported Sicilian wild oregano. For the cheese blend, I used shredded part-skim low-moisture mozzarella cheese (Frigo/Saputo), white cheddar cheese, and imported Provolone cheese, in a ratio of 50/30/20. The hardest part was finding white cheddar cheese. It took me 4 stores to find it, ending up with a white cheddar cheese from Vermont costing about double the price of the mozzarella cheese on a per-pound basis.
After the dough had proofed and just about doubled in volume, I sauced and cheesed the dough, being sure to push the sauce and cheeses out to the edge in the hopes of getting a brown/burned and crispy texture at the edge. I then added pepperoni slices (Hormel). The pizza was baked in the pan on a pizza stone that had been placed on the lowest oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at around 500 degrees F. The pizza baked for about a total of 10-11 minutes. Part way through the bake, as the cheeses started to brown up, I checked the bottom of the crust to see if it was browning properly. It was, and I let the pizza continue baking until the top of the pizza looked as I had remembered it in my youth.
The photos below show the finished product (in the pan, out of the pan, and a slice). The pizza was everything I had hoped for. Not only did it bring back fond memories, it was soft and chewy, with a nice porous crumb and very good crust flavor and color, both top and bottom. And the cheese blend was exceptional, both in texture and flavor. The pizza was one of the best that I have had in a while, and I have had some really good ones. I know I will make this pizza again. I might seek out a 10-inch pan and a cheaper white cheddar cheese, but I didn’t see anything from the results I achieved to suggest that I should make any other changes. Now I can see why Kim, scott’s wife, yearns for the Greek/bar type pizza that she so enjoyed on the Massachusetts South Shore.