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Getting the "chew" in pizza dough???

I've got my pizza dough pretty much down, except it's still missing that great "chew" factor... Any ideas on how to achieve this last important element?????

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  1. Have you tried a low-yeast, refrigerated, 3 day rise?

    1. You need to let the dough rest, or ferment.

      I usually let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 3 days before using.

      Also, its important to stretch the dough; rolling is no good.

      10 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I let mine rest in fridge 24 hours, but haven't tried the 3-day length yet....
        I used 2 teaspoon yeast for approx. 2c. flour...
        should i reduce yeast amount with the longer resting time?

        1. re: sjpjefe

          Id keep the amount of yeast the same, but it doesn't make that much of a difference when you have a ferment that is more then 24 hours. Depending on the kind of yeast used they will replicate a generation completely in 4-6 hours.

          I've been experimenting with using the Bittman "no knead" bread recipe/method to make pizza dough. Ive added 2 TBL of olive oil and increased the flour by 1/3-1/2 Cup, and the results are quite promising.

          1. re: Kelli2006

            sjpjefe, listen to Kelli2006.

            (Kelli2006 - when you say the no knead dough has been quite promising for pizza, what do you mean?)

            1. re: ipsedixit

              The no-knead bread technique and the dough it produces is proving quite promising for making a pizza dough. I have added a bit of bread flour and the olive oil for a of flavor and chew. I was hesitant to add more flour, but it unworkable w/o it.

              1. re: Kelli2006

                I've used that dough as well, and it is definitely better as pizza dough during the second week.

                1. re: Kelli2006

                  How much more flour do you use? Does it make a thin crust?

                  1. re: chowser

                    I usually add 1/3 of a cup of bread flour and use a bit more bench flour instead of adding 1/2 cup. It will take the 1/2 cup to make a thin crust because the dough has to be handled more then a thick crust. I also like to add 1-2 tsp of both garlic and onion powder to the fermenting dough, but that is a personal choice.

                    One recipe of Bittman bread will make 2-3 pizzas.

                      1. re: chowser

                        The four you add in by dusting the surface you are kneading on. Depending on the dough it can be very little or alot.

                        1. re: Stuffed Monkey

                          Thanks, I didn't know there was a word for it.

        2. The chew factor comes from developing the gluten. There's two ways to do it: Either a long rest as people have already mentioned, or kneading it more. Letting the dough rest for a long time in the fridge is the better of the two options because it also gives you a more flavorful crust. If you aren't keen on waiting three days, knead it for 15 minutes in a stand mixer.

          6 Replies
          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

            Totally concur. The issue with kneading it more is you have to know when to stop. Overdo it and you end up with ... a flat bagel.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              We buy plain pizza dough from TJ's and I discovered that you can get a really great chewy crust by placing the refrigerated pizza dough in a roomy (olive) oiled stainless bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the oven or microwave prior to using.

              I typically leave it out in the morning before leaving for work and use the dough later that evening. I haven't let the dough sit out overnight, but plan to do so the next time we make pizza at home. My guess is that it will develop a taste profile similar to a sour dough crust if I let it sit out overnight.

              Good luck with your dough!

            2. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

              In addition to the rise, which gives you a better flavor, you could use a higher protein flour, like bread flour or add a little vital wheat gluten to it.

              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                In an Alton Brown episode on pizza he recommends using bread machine flour, which is the highest in protein for more gluten development.

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  I agree with chowser, adding vital wheat gluten will up the protein and make it chewier. The amount added depends on the initial flour.

                  1. re: alwayscooking

                    King Arthur bread flour works just fine.

              2. The Chez Panisse crust recipe has just a little rye flour which ads a great chewiness.

                Would cooking at a slightly lower temp do it, the way it does with cookies?

                1. Use bread flour. Knead dough for a long time and then put it in the refrigerator overnight. Take it out 2 hrs before you need it.

                  1. Has anyone had success with pizza dough in a bread machine? I would never be able to do a 3 day dough with the best laid plans, and I sadly do not have a standing mixer.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: TampaAurora

                      Every pizza I make has begun with the dough done in a bread machine. Imho, it's the only way to go.

                      1. re: TampaAurora

                        You can mix the dough in the bread maker but still use a long rise. RLB in the Bread Bible has good information about using the bread maker, just for mixing the dough but not rising in it. So, you still need to plan ahead, but her pizza dough recipe can rest for 6-24 hours so you don't need 3 days.

                        1. re: chowser

                          Definitely use less yeast, way less. Look at the New York pizza recipes at pizzamaking.com ...

                          [This was meant to be a post to sjpjefe's second post, above!]

                      2. Can I have your recipe for pizza dough? I want to get the italian-style dough. I nearly have it with this mix stuff, but the first one I ever made was like those bready ones. Very disappointing, as I'd spent a fortune making the perfect marinara sauce.

                        1. Here's the recipe I use in my bread machine for (2) 14" pizzas. I split into 2 balls as soon as it comes out of the machine and place them, lightly oiled and covered with Saran wrap, into covered pans. They go in the fridge for 3-5 days and are taken out to sit at room temp for 2-3 hours before using. The dough can be used after 24 hours.
                          NOTE: Flour and water amounts are given in weight units. For consistent results, I find that weighing the flour is essential. Salt is Morton's Kosher and yeast is of the type used in bread machines.

                          Flour : 523.28 g | 18.46 oz | 1.15 lbs
                          Water: 329.67 g | 11.63 oz | 0.73 lbs
                          IDY : 1.57 g | 0.06 oz | 0 lbs | 0.52 tsp | 0.17 tbsp
                          Salt : 7.85 g | 0.28 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.64 tsp | 0.55 tbsp
                          Oil : 5.23 g | 0.18 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.16 tsp | 0.39 tbsp
                          Sugar : 5.23 g | 0.18 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.31 tsp | 0.44 tbsp
                          Total : 872.83 g | 30.79 oz | 1.92 lbs | TF = 0.1
                          Single Ball 436.41 g | 15.39 oz | 0.96 lbs

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: grampart

                            Ok, I don't have a bread machine - how long do you suggest I kneed it for?
                            I have yeast, I have some very strong flour (stronger than bread flour - more gluten I think), olive oil, sea salt (will that do, ground?)
                            I may filter the water, or even used bottled water as I heard that makes a difference...

                            And last question, what is 'kosher' salt?

                            1. re: Soop

                              Kosher salt is a pure salt with no additives that has a large flake texture. I don't tend yo use kosher salt for baking because of the large size, but bread kneads and ferments for so long that it doesn't make a difference.

                              Filtered water definably makes a difference when baking with yeast doughs because the chlorine in the water is extremely detrimental to yeast growth. Some people think that the water in NYC is the secret to great bagels and pizza crust.

                            2. re: grampart

                              What kind of flour? Do you use the entire dough cycle? RLB recommended taking it out after the initial mixings. Thanks!

                              1. re: chowser

                                I use King Arthur bread flour, sometimes 2/3 KA bread flour and 1/3 KA all-purpose. and I leave it in my Zojirushi for the full 1:50 cycle. I have never hand-kneaded a dough so have no info on that. I do know that high gluten flours can be VERY difficult to hand knead.

                                1. re: grampart

                                  Thanks--I'll give it a try, maybe make it today for tomorrow. I like hand kneading dough but have tendonitis in the elbow right now.

                              2. re: grampart

                                This was excellent. I did an overnight rise and used about the same proportions as you with bread flour and ap. I'm assuming you adjusted this recipe from a much larger proportion? My scale doesn't go to that level of accurancy, only to the grams or fraction as oz go. I do need to get a docker, though.

                                  1. re: LisaN

                                    That is shorthand for instant dry yeast

                                  2. re: grampart

                                    This was terrific! I have a few questions. I let it rest 3 days, will it be any different after 5 days? Can you go longer than 5 days? I mixed the dough sunday morning, cooked one tonight, am wondering if I can cook one on Saturday night, we have company coming over.

                                  3. Are you using bread flour? I let it rise once on the counter then over night in the chill chest, it hydrates the flour. Lastly, get the oven screaming hot, I find residential ovens to lack the ability to get to 550+.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: cstr

                                      Did you ever see Heston Blumenthal's perfect pizza? In an attempt to make the oven hot enough, he pre-heated the oven to further warm up the grill (on top), then heated a cast iron le creuset pan, and placed the pizza on the upturned pan, under the grill.

                                    2. I use a mix of bread flour and semolina, which produces a great crust with a nice chewy texture.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: lupaglupa

                                        I use AP and semolina and notice a marked difference with the semolina.

                                      2. Food processor. 2 c unbleached white flour, 1 c whole wheat flour. 1 tsp salt. Process. Add 1 c warm water with 1T yeast (one packet) and a little flour and a pinch of sugar for the yeast to grow, plus 1T olive oil.

                                        Pour in liquid ingredients to mix, adding water depending upon the weather. So not over-process. Pulse a few times after several minutes and place in covered bowl in draft-free place.

                                        This makes a resilient dough that fills two smaller cookie sheets for a thin and chewy crust. I take it out of the bowl, split it, punch it out and let both balls rise about 20 minutes before rolling. Sorry folks, I don't have the time or space for a three-day frig rise. dee@cookingwithdee.net

                                        1. I truly think the only way to know the gluten is developed properly is to knead it by hand. When you've made it enough, you'll just get to the point where you know it's right. A huge part of good pizza is having the oven or grill hot enough. When I do it for me, it's always on the grill, set as high as it goes. When it's for people who prefer the American style with a softer chew, it's in the oven at 450 F. But that's not about the chew at that point.

                                          High, high gluten flour. For 2 cups of bread flour, I add a tablespoon of gluten. Water to feel, not by volume. Try it out six or seven times, and it'll just feel good -- and your friends will think you're a genius!