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dense pizza dough- need help!

so i'm having cooking disasters one after another tonight. first it's dry caramelized onions and now it's dense tight pizza dough.

i followed a recipe in the cheeseboard baking book to a tee and the crust is dense and crunchy on the outside with no air bubbles in the dough whatsoever!

i know home oven temps don't get hot enough but i've bought dough from a local pizza place and baked a pizza to perfection so i'm pretty certain it's the dough.

i'm also an avid bake and was churning out perfect loaves of bread on a weekly basis so it's not my first attempt at using yeast/flour.

does anyone have a good dough recipe?

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  1. Can you tell us the recipe you used?

    This is typically what I use for my pizza doughs:

    4.5 to 5 cups of unbleached bread flour, chilled
    1-2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon instant yeast
    About 2 cups of ice cold water
    Semolina flour for dusting

    Bake on a pizza stone.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      very similar recipe--

      3-4 cups of bread flour
      1.5 cups of water
      1 tbsp of yeast
      2 tbsp of olive oil
      salt

      baked on a pizza stone.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        so i screwed up. now that i read the recipe i think i skimped on the water by a 1/2 cup. could that make the difference?i was looking for more air in the dough and crust like a pugliese bread. now after some research pugliese has a super wet dough...i think i need to re-do!

        1. re: trolley

          Well, a dry dough would certainly make for a dense one.

          1. re: trolley

            I agree, dry dough = dense product. Minus a half cup of water would make a big difference.

            1. re: trolley

              are you saying you used only 1 C of water or you used 1.5 C when it should have been 2 C? I'm guessing you only used 1 C.

              The 1.5 C is appropriate for your recipe so yes that explains your dense crust. Also, I would increase the Olive oil to 3 Tbs. Although, olive oil is not in a traditional crust, but I rather have a better tasting crust than a traditional one.

              A good recipe to try is from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice".

          2. This can also happen when dough is punched down too much, without giving it enough time to re-proof.

            I don't know the exact recipe instructions, so I can't really comment on this.

            1. about the dried caramelized onions:
              they need liquid and slow low heat.
              the pizza dough I like best is from David Rocco's show. a little gramma showed him how to do it.
              it's the usual suspect ingredients but hers always contains white wine and olive oil.
              it's soft and tender as a baby's bum.

              2 Replies
              1. re: iL Divo

                haha! thanks for replying about the onions here :)

                i just tried the leftover pizza and it's not bad. the taste is pretty good but the dough is about the same consistency as frozen pizza dough or the pre-made dough that i got at Trader Joe's once. not terrible but certainly not ideal. i'm gonna have another go at it later this week. the onions are certainly a work in progress. we feel pizza'd out now. back to eating soy sauce based foods!

                1. re: trolley

                  caramelized onions (and I see you have a thread about just the onions) is that they (to me anyway) take some paying attention to. for me if I'm gonna do a batch, I do a big batch cause the only thing extra is slicing many more onions. they wilt down so much any way.
                  I'm wondering if there's a thread dedicated to the art of carmelizing onions. < if not there should be. the best result I ever had with caramelized onions did not contain anything it should have called for. I won't even report the ingredients as they'd make no sense to anyone except me.

              2. i'm assuming you've made sure your yeast is good...
                the water thing is really key.

                also, how much salt did you use... and how long did you let the dough ferment? salt, of course, contributes to flavor, but it also helps with texture, and controls the rate of fermentation of the yeast. too much will slow the yeast significantly. too little, and you'll have air pockets and toughness.

                i generally just wing my recipe -- something like 140-150 g bread flour, 30 g or so of fine cornmeal, 1/4-1/2 tsp yeast, 3 g salt, sometimes a tbsp of olive oil, and water (i tend to just cast it in until it's fully moistened but not too sticky). i let it sit for 2 hours; punch down, knead, let sit another half an hour. preheat my stone, roll it out, top it, voila.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Emme

                  http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                  although this is for pizza bianca it breaks down the water=flour ratio thing pretty well...

                2. Buy new yeast. Use more water.