In Lehmann’s Terms Tom “The Dough Doctor” Lehmann
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from Tom Lehmann.
and Sauce-Free Pies
Tom “The Dough Doctor” Lehmann describes
the challenges—and advantages—of
experimenting with dough and sauce alternatives.
I’ve made pizzas at home using high-absorption dough, often exceeding 70%.
Why don’t I see more pizzerias using
We are seeing more pizzerias, especially the newer “artisan” pizzerias, using
high-absorption dough. These doughs
are quite soft and more difficult to handle than standard doughs, which are
made with absorption values in the 50%
to 60% range. Baking them in ovens can
be problematic; they require the use of a
baking disk or screen, as the dough may
flow into the openings under the weight
of the ingredients during the early stages
of baking, effectively locking the crust
onto the screen/disk.
There is a learning curve for handling
these doughs as well as a difference in
the pie’s finished quality characteristics.
So high-absorption doughs aren’t right
for all pizzerias, but they’re compatible
with the new artisan-type pizzerias in
which stone hearth and wood-fired ovens are all the rage. These pizza makers
aim to produce a pizza that’s different
from the norm in both appearance and
I’ve noticed you prefer to use tomato
filets or slices of fresh, ripe tomatoes
rather than a conventional sauce on
your pizzas. Why?
I’ve grown tired of run-of-the-mill pizzas
and figured it was time for a change. I’ve
been using drained tomato filets or fresh
slices for several years now, and I’ve seen
some advantages to it. Unlike a tradition-
al sauce, the filets or slices don’t provide
100% coverage of the pizza, and I find
that the pizzas bake out more thoroughly.
I also get better control of the moisture
that’s released from the toppings during
baking. Additionally, I’ve noticed that the
bottom of the pizzas get a stronger bake,
sometimes even with a little char, which,
to me, is a good thing. And the tomato
slices and filets add a certain texture to
the pizza, as well as flavor and eye appeal.
Tom Lehmann is the director
of bakery assistance for the
American Institute of Baking
(AIB). Need more dough advice?
Visit the Dough Information
Center at PMQ.com/dough.
16 PMQ Pizza Magazine – The Pizza Industry’s Business Monthly