Pizza Dough Struggle

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Dextersmom

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question...i do a lot of cooking and lately i've been wrestling with pizza dough. has anyone here worked at a pizzeria and might be able to offer some recipe tips? My issue here is no matter how i make the dough it never comes out as crispy on the top and chewy on the inside as pizzeria pizza / garlic knots / doughballs.

check out the outer texture on in the picture here



i do realize that pizzerias tend to use different flours than the normal person has access to and uses a hotter oven but if anyone has a work around for these issues and can offer any advice it'd be much appreciated.

Thanks!
 

avaserfi

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When I want a simple pizza dough I use this recipe. It is easy and doesn't require a lot of preparation time.

The key to good chewy dough is gluten formation. Use a high quality flour, I recommend King Arthur all purpose because it consistently has good gluten levels.

Work the dough well and let it rest to help aid in gluten formation. Try to make sure you can form a windowpane with the dough, this is a sign that there is enough gluten to form the dough properly. Also, never roll out the dough, always stretch, but be careful not to tear it. Rolling out the dough doesn't allow proper gluten alignment.

Lastly, make sure your oven is extremely hot and you are using a pizza stone.
 

The Blow Leprechaun

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Your problem is probably the heat of your oven. How hot are you cooking it at? It really needs to be as hot as your oven can possibly go, and even then you're only in the pale shadow of real pizza oven territory.

Also, how thick is your dough when you shape it? If it's too thick, that could cause this, too.
 

Beerrific

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I base my pizza off Alton Brown's method. Pretty simple.

[youtube]-BhVPgllLW8[/youtube]

[youtube]H_-o0q3a2w4[/youtube]
 

nealf

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I worked in a pizza place for about 3 years and I have to say that the main key to chewy bread is using high gluten flours. Also we would let it rest at least overnight in a fridge before cooking it on a stone (obviously) and the ovens were always set at 550*. Let me know if there is any other pizza knowledge I can help you with!

Neal
 

ChshreCat

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A pizza stone really helps. Get it nice and hot and then slap your pizza directly on it. Helps crisp up the crust without petrifying it all the way through.
 

avaserfi

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I worked in a pizza place for about 3 years and I have to say that the main key to chewy bread is using high gluten flours.
Yes, the real secret as mentioned earlier :mug:.
Also we would let it rest at least overnight before cooking it on a stone (obviously) and the ovens were always set at 550*.
The overnight rest can help provide flavor, especially if yeast growth is slowed by refrigeration, but it doesn't hugely aid in the chewy inner texture.

As far as 550 degrees goes that is the minimum temperature I cook at. If I can go hotter I would with 800 degrees most likely being my top point.
 

Tonedef131

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Three things make great pizza dough, and all three of them have already been mentioned in this thread but I am going to reitterate them.

1. Choose the bread flour with the highest protien content you can find, I use the King Arthur in the blue bag and it works great.

2. Get a pizza stone, you will not make good crust without one.

3. Heat. Get your oven as hot as you possibly can. Mine is old and broken and the heat is not very steady, but it makes great pizza because it goes way hotter than it should. I have a thermometer in there that tops out at 600 and it is pinned WAY past that when I have it all the way up. So heat it up for at least a half an hour so that stone is all the way up to temp and slide that dough right off of your peel onto the stone. Close the oven and don't open it for 4 min or so, mine never takes more than 5 min to cook. Cool for a few minuets and eat, everyone who has it is in love with it.

I remember reading on the internet a few years ago about a guy who disabled the latch on his oven so he could open it during the self cleaning cycle...he was cooking his pizzas at like 900F.
 

avaserfi

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3. Heat. Get your oven as hot as you possibly can. Mine is old and broken and the heat is not very steady, but it makes great pizza because it goes way hotter than it should. I have a thermometer in there that tops out at 600 and it is pinned WAY past that when I have it all the way up. So heat it up for at least a half an hour so that stone is all the way up to temp and slide that dough right off of your peel onto the stone. Close the oven and don't open it for 4 min or so, mine never takes more than 5 min to cook. Cool for a few minuets and eat, everyone who has it is in love with it.
I had this same trick as well at my old apartment. 700 degrees when set to max. It was great, then I moved :(.

I remember reading on the internet a few years ago about a guy who disabled the latch on his oven so he could open it during the self cleaning cycle...he was cooking his pizzas at like 900F.
I tried this it can be dangerous as a word of warning.
 
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Dextersmom

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wow responses like crazy in no time!

ok well one of my big issues here is i usually roll out my dough. next is i don't have a stone. I usually have the oven cranked to 500. This weekend I will try out a higher gluten flour.

also the reason for my rolling out the dough. I usually use a rectangular cookie sheet that has raised edges. In the past i've rolled out and topped the pizza then realized i had to get it in the oven. I don't have a pizza spatula so this was a very taxing endeavor. should i get out and grab a big pizza spatula when i get myself a pizza stone?
 

Tonedef131

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I don't have a pizza spatula so this was a very taxing endeavor. should i get out and grab a big pizza spatula when i get myself a pizza stone?
Absolutely, they are like $10-15 and also work as a place to cut it without ruining your pizza cutter. By the way they are called pizza peels.

Also keep in mind that a pizza peel and a baking stone are the key to great bread as well.
 
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Dextersmom

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lol thanks yeah i knew it couldn't just be called a pizza "spatula" thanks again everyone for all the help. I'll give ya an update and pics after this weekend with the results.

thanks!
 

JesseRC

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You know Alton might be on to something about the cold rest. I've done big batches of dough and have refrigerated them and froze some. The freezer and fridge portions have always come out better.
 

avaserfi

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I wouldn't bother with a peel to be honest. Read the link I originally posted (this one and this has the trick I talk about next). The author talks about using parchment paper to cook the pizza on. I have found it to be easier and less messy than a peel, plus you get the same results...
 

avaserfi

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You know Alton might be on to something about the cold rest. I've done big batches of dough and have refrigerated them and froze some. The freezer and fridge portions have always come out better.
The slowed yeast growth allows for more flavor development. It is a common practice in baking.
 

JesseRC

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I place parchment paper on a thin baking sheet, form my pizza, then add toppings . When the oven is ready i take the baking sheet over to the oven , then pull the parchment paper over to the cooking stone. I guess its kinda like a peel , but easy cleanup.
 

Bobby_M

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I prep my pizza on a large cutting board thoroughly floured and corn mealed. If you're fast with toppings, it will just slide off onto the stone. I keep meaning to go to a marble/granite countertop place and try to score a cutoff/scrap. The pizza stones I have are only 3/8" thick and I feel like the cold dough pulls the heat out too quick.
 

dataz722

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I got a thing that came with a stone, peel, metal rack for moving the stone, and a chintzy little pizze cutter at kitchen and company for like 15 or 20 bucks. Just make sure you dont soak the peel water. I made this mistake then it split straight down the middle.
 

Opherman47

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okie doke, im in commercial real estate and one of my clients is a pizza dough manufacturer, wholes sale etc, learned alot about dough from him, just to give you some pointers, (and i am obsessed with pizza)

1. one thing is make the dough let it do an initial rise, then punch it (yes literally punch it down) then put it in the fridge and let it rise over night (in a saran covered bowl) you cant get near the commercial results if you dont allow a cold rise (all the big chains get their pizza dough in each day made off site, and allowed to rise cold.... BIG KEY!!!! allow over night cold RISE!!!!

2. next thing a really hot oven is great, you can put a remote temp probe in the oven, clip the oven lock and use the clean cycle of most modern ovens, this will allow you to get your temp up real high and still be able to open the oven, (just dont allow any water or cold stuff to hit the glass when you open it... it will shatter your glass... you have to clip the lock because on clean cycle the oven locks itself on most ovens) aim for 700+ degrees, the hotter the oven the more wet your dough needs to be you can do it at 500 to 550 just make sure your dough is a little dryer and has more time

3. I do this for my artisan breads as well.....go get unfinished clay tiles at home depot break or cut them into the shape of your oven, then cover the top and bottom rack with the clay tiles (2 bucks a tile = way cheaper than 20 bucks for a craptastic pizza stone that will break at some point anyways ive broken like 2 expensive pizza stones) make sure they are raw red clay tiles you dont want any chemicals baking off or leaking into your pie..... place the one rack on the top rack and cover it with clay tiles, and place the bottom rack on the middle slot and cover it with clay tiles....... these tiles will hold in the heat when you open and close your oven..... if you have to use a pizza stone, make sure you have several on top and on bottom to hold heat, and preheat the oven with the stone in it

4. screw the peal unless you have a wood fired oven and go get or order a pizza screen..... the bigger the better..... make sure its a screen not just a circle pan with a bunch of breath holes in it, the screen helps you to stretch out your crust while your still learning to work with dough, and allows the dough full contact with the preheated tiles, giving that great crunch to the outside of the crust.....

5. learn to work with dough..... seriously brewing beer is harder than dough, you have yeast, salt, water, flour, and sometimes oil....... no specialty grains etc..... sometimes sugar, surely with some minimal experimentation you can figure out, l what kind of dough you like etc..... keys, high gluten flour, cold overnight rise, and proof your yeast (its like making a starter to wake your yeast up, sugar and warm water do the trick till it starts bubbling then add that to your dough) best to use a sourdough starter...... but thats more advanced...

all thats some basic stuff....

here is the advanced crap.....

bakers instant yeast gives kind of a bland tasteless flavor to doughs use a sourdough starter here is a link that you can order a sourdough starter, then just keep it alive forever Sourdough Cultures

still do the cold rise with the sourdough starter but learn how your yeast culture acts so you know how long you need to let it cold rise 1 to 3 days max

slow long mixing, use the dough hook on your mixer

here is a good link to a way of doing it right, there are many other ways, just depends on where you want to take it Jeff Varasano's NY Pizza Recipe

i dont know why i spent this much time on this who knows (i do love pizza)


cheers to all!! my ADD has kicked in and i dont have the attention span to finish this post, oh yah, pizzarias dont have some super flour you can make great restaurant style pizza with any flower, technique is what hits it
 
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Dextersmom

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wow who knew ya'll were this crazy about pizza

truth is homemade pizza is like homebrew. no matter how it comes out its still better 'cuz you made it!
 

ChshreCat

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Just make sure you dont soak the peel water. I made this mistake then it split straight down the middle.
LOL! My wife soaked one of ours. It didn't split... it just turned into a big wooden SPOON! Interesting thing is that as it dried, it flattened out again.
 

McKBrew

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I've been planning on making home made pizza again this weekend, haven't done it in awhile. Now after this thread, I'm going to take a whole new approach.
 

nealf

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On the same note, my apologies if I'm too off topic, what sauce are you guys using?
 

ChshreCat

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Often when I make homemade pizza, I just use a cast iron skillet. I like my pizza's of the pan style sometimes. :D
 

avaserfi

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On the same note, my apologies if I'm too off topic, what sauce are you guys using?
My sauce recipe

28 oz high quality ground tomatoes (San Marzano)
1/3 tsp basil
1/3 tsp parsley
1/3 tsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh chopped garlic

Mix and let macerate overnight.
 

boo boo

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Sourdough Cultures[/URL]

still do the cold rise with the sourdough starter but learn how your yeast culture acts so you know how long you need to let it cold rise 1 to 3 days max

slow long mixing, use the dough hook on your mixer

here is a good link to a way of doing it right, there are many other ways, just depends on where you want to take it Jeff Varasano's NY Pizza Recipe

i dont know why i spent this much time on this who knows (i do love pizza)


cheers to all!! my ADD has kicked in and i dont have the attention span to finish this post, oh yah, pizzarias dont have some super flour you can make great restaurant style pizza with any flower, technique is what hits it

Some great advise here but I DO use a peal. For the most part I use an overnight rise and use plain flour sometimes mixed with high gluten flour. I use a stone with the oven on max ( 550f ) for an hour before using.
Some great info here My american style pizza recipe with photo
 

thataintchicken

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Looks complicated, I think a pizza dough webcast is in order.
if I had wifi at work I'd do it.

I would do a dough and pizza prep video if there is really an interest.

We prep our buns ( pre-shaped pizza crust ) 24 hours or more in advance.
they are stored in a walk-in refrigerator to create flavor and retard expansion. well shaped buns roll out to perfect round pizzas. people like those.
They are then rolled out to pans and proofed for 2 hours before going into the oven with toppings.

I set my ovens at 450 degrees -- belt time is 5:30 min:seconds from in the oven to cut table and service.

dough recipe is proprietary... sorry.
suffice to say, it is a high gluten flour, baking powder and whatnot.
might even be some dried sourdough yeasties mixed in there.. one never knows. ;)

next to labor, pizza dough is my highest expense.

at home: King Arthur flour + Pizza Stone + Quality toppings = yummy pizza.
If you have a Big Green Egg... one can make OUTSTANDING pizza.
 

nosmatt

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subscribing for when i have time to read the whole thread.
i love makin pizza, and only made dough good once, but i screwed everything else up :(
 

hukdizzle

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Everyone here is on point with the pizza, I actually make my own sauce/dough from scratch and have had great success with both. The dough I make is a very thin crispy crust and the sauce is a thick zesty sauce. Here is the dough recipe if you wanna give it a shot.

4 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of filtered water.
4 tsp of sea salt
1 tsp of evoo
1 packet of fleischmans active dry yeast
1 tsp of honey/ sugar.
3 garlic cloves minced.

Take the flour and salt and mix it in a bowl, take the sugar/water and heat it up and oxygenate it. Make a yeast starter with the fleischmans and let it pop off. Mix everything together in a bowl and hand mix it down then pull off dough balls. Let em rise for 4 hours and then punch em down and reshape em and put em in the fridge. Use em tomorrow.

There is no doubt that ingredients make all the difference in a dough. High gluten flour is a must.

This is what I end up with.



Oh and turn your over as high as it will go and use a dense pizza stone. Pre heat the oven for at least an hour. Use a peel and course corn meal for transfer of the pie.
 

yermej

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This is an AWESOME recipe that I happened upon and I am SO pleased with it. I'll continue making this exact recipe for the foreseeable future.
Best Pizza Dough Ever Recipe - 101 Cookbooks
The book that recipe is from - The Bread Baker's Apprentice - is great for anybody into making bread and really learning about it. The author, Peter Reinhart, is a Johnson & Wales baking instructor and does an awesome job of getting bakery quality bread done in a home environment (where you don't have steam injected ovens and dedicated proofers/retarders).

It's more than just recipes too. He talks about the history of some recipes and styles of bread, some of the sciencey stuff, types and uses of starters (biga, poolish, barm), and covers sourdoughs and standard breads. He's also big on the importance of weighing ingredients and knowing how your environment (especially humidity and temp.) will effect the bread. He even explains and uses the baker's percentage system which makes scaling recipes really easy.

Some of the recipes can get a little complicated and need some planning - many take more than one day due to starters & cold fermentation. The results are totally worth it though.
 
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mosquitocontrol

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If you can't find high gluten flour, you can buy the gluten separately. Add about 4 tsp for a batch.
 
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