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Not happy with pizza dough outcome

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Made pizza last night, and I struggle with the dough all the time. I tried this Jamie Oliver recipe this time, mainly because I had '00' flour to use. Had high hopes because of this flour. The result was very bready, and still too thick, not enough bubbles. It did have a nice crisp base though.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ja....

I gave up kneading after a long time (like 30 mins). Never did get to window pane. mixed by hand, but then divided in half and kneaded half by hand, half with my kitchenaid dough hook. It rested, rose for about 2hours. Rolled out with rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thick, I can't imagine rolling much thinner. Used high heat (my oven goes to 550f) and preheated my stones for about 45 mins, used one pizza stone, one cast iron pan. Cast iron pan was slightly better.

I am looking for a chewy, thin crust, not crispy, not bready. Is this possible outside of a pizza oven??

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  1. I found I obtain better results (thin, tender crust that's not to bready) when the dough has a little more water, at least 60% baker's ratio.

    Assuming you're using 5 ounce cups of flour, I would up the water to at least 2 2/3 cups.

    Reinhart's recipe from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" is my goto recipe.

    27 Replies
    1. re: dave_c

      thanks, I will try this.

      1. re: dave_c

        "Rich ‘n’ Tender Crust" Pizza formula from the book, "Encyclopizza"

        16 oz oz Medium-gluten Flour (10 to 11.5% protein)
        8-1/2 oz Water
        2-1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
        1-1/4 oz Sugar
        3/4 tsp Salt
        5/8 oz Non-fat Dry Milk
        3/8 oz Egg Yolks
        1-1/4 oz Oil
               
        Yield 29 oz of dough, enough for two 12-inch pizzas.

        1. re: Antilope

          Milk, egg yolks, oil and sugar have no place in a decent pizza dough recipe.

          All you need is flour, salt, water, yeast, and time.

          1. re: Josh

            Of course you must be correct, because, after all, what does Pizzamaking.com know about making pizzas or recommending pizza reference books?

            Encyclopizza
            http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizza_link...

            1. re: Antilope

              pizzamaking.com is a great resource, no doubt. And I guarantee you will find many posters there who would agree about using those ingredients in pizza dough.

              1. re: Josh

                Pizzamaking.com has been, imo, the best source for all things pizza for quite a long time. The posters will debate/argue about almost everything. (sound familiar), but the thing that makes this such a great site is the fact that they will accommodate just about any request for information no matter how "crazy" it might seem to the traditionalists. Using egg yolks in a pizza dough is pretty tame when you consider the fact that folks have been known to request a copycat recipe for a particular Pizza Hut offering. They supply the info (many times in excruciating detail) and it's up to you to decide what's good. The Lehmann Pizza Dough Calculator is to me is the best tool out there for budding home pizza makers.

                1. re: grampart

                  Interestingly, the author of this highly-touted "Encyclopizza", John Correll, has a background that, to me anyway, explains some of the recipes I've seen here.

                  "John Correll’s work experience began in 1954 as a cook’s helper in a family business … his pizza career began in 1967 as the first hourly employee in the sixth Domino's Pizza to open."

                  Quite the pizza pedigree!

                  "Along the way he founded two unique pizza companies and pioneered a number of innovative firsts including conveyorized pizza-baking, 5-minute pizza-baking, personal-size pizza, 1-minute pizza, breakfast pizza, low-calorie pizza, the Super Sunday promotion, and World's Longest Pizza."

                  I know that I want to take my pizza making instruction from the guy who invented conveyor-belt pizza ovens.

                  Maybe the guy who invented Velveeta has a tome devoted to the arts of cheese food production.

                2. re: Josh

                  If my Italian grandparents, ever used eggs, a milk product or oil, they be excommunicated from the nationality! I don't want a brioche dough pizza.

                  1. re: treb

                    Looking at that particular website, it is obviously not necessarily "Italian" or "authentic" pizzas.... they have some of those, but it's a site that is about flat dough with toppings. Crazy kind of stuff. It's about making $ as the ads show, as well as the plugs for the POS system they are hawking. It's the kind of site where cookie dough topped with cream cheese and fruit is considered pizza.

                    1. re: treb

                      "If my Italian grandparents, ever used eggs, a milk product or oil, they be excommunicated from the nationality!"

                      *sigh*

                      This reminds me of a recent debate on SeriousEats about whether or not sugar belongs in pizza sauce. Many people claimed that "no Italian would ever do that." Then a bunch of people chimed in who said "my Italian grandmother, straight off the boat, used to add just a pinch..."

                      There is no right or wrong answer except what you like. Period.

                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                        and don't EVEN get into a discussion about what constitutes a proper carbonara recipe! ;-)

                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                          The OP's topic line states 'PIZZA DOUGH'.

                          *sigh*

                          There's no right or wrong answer except what you like. Period. That's life!

                          1. re: treb

                            Period, eh?

                            Well that settles that!

                          2. re: davis_sq_pro

                            The two things aren't analogous. A pinch of sugar might be added to sauce as a shortcut to make up for subpar tomatoes.

                            Milk and egg yolk in pizza dough is a rather more extreme alteration.

                            1. re: Josh

                              Define "pizza."

                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                I love living in the post-truth era.

                                What's the right answer here, that there's no definition of pizza? That anything flat with stuff on top should be called pizza?

                                If words mean whatever we want them to then why bother with a written language at all?

                                Maybe I should ask you to define "define"?

                                1. re: Josh

                                  And don't go down the road of pizza sauces cooked vs raw.

                                  1. re: Josh

                                    The right answer here is to stop thinking in absolutes. There are numerous different things called "pizza" by different people. It doesn't matter what you or I think it means, because there is specific context and someone in Hartford might think differently of pizza than someone in Los Angeles or someone in Naples. That doesn't mean any of them are wrong, or that the word doesn't have meaning.

                                    The same can be said of many other things. Try to define the word "chair" or the word "table" in absolute terms. As for your "post-truth era," it doesn't apply. These issues are nothing new. Plato's Theory of Forms is almost 2500 years old.

                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                      I somewhat agree, although I think the term 'flatbread' would be a better definition and open to placing anything on it.

                                    2. re: Josh

                                      I'm with you on this tangent.

                                      Or does "my favorite champagne is Budweiser" become meaningful too.

                                      :)

                        2. re: Josh

                          Absolutly correct...and one of the most important ingredients is time. The best pizza doughs (and the ones that will give the OP the desired result)are made at least a day in advance.

                          same-day pizza dough will make 'ok' pizza, but a slow rise/ferment is what the best pizza doughs great.

                          1. re: Josh

                            Josh, while I almost always side with purists/authenticists and I applaud your level of passion, I believe that you're painting with too broad of a brush here.

                            If you wanted to say something along the lines of "Milk and eggs have no place in the top two favorite styles of pizza- New York and Neapolitan," that would be an excellent argument. But you really can't restrict ingredients in a non-style specific discussion. You can't make the inference that any particular style of pizza isn't 'decent.'

                            Milk and eggs have no place in what most people would probably consider the best pizza (they definitely have no place in my favorite style), but not all.

                            1. re: Josh

                              double post. disregard

                            2. re: Antilope

                              It's funny how chowhounders alternate between being culinarily adventurous and stuck in dogma. Have any of the naysayers ever eaten pizza made with a crust containing milk and eggs?

                              I don't see any reason why it would be bad. Just different from the run of the mill "authentic" pizza, whatever that is.

                              1. re: kengk

                                Authentic pizza may be a nebulous concept, but it, for sure, isn't topped with cream cheese and fruit.

                                1. re: grampart

                                  Would you feel better if they called it a cream cheese and fruit tart instead?

                                  1. re: kengk

                                    Definitely!

                          2. I've made that recipe before and it turned out well but I use AP flour, not 00 flour. I don't knead it for 30 minutes though -- that seems excessive! The recipe calls for kneading until the dough is soft and springy. I use my KitchenAid with the dough hook. It's usually good to go within 5-7 minutes I'd say. Then you let it rise, punch it down, and use it. I don't roll it out -- I use my hands to stretch it thin on put it on my pizza peel. Top and transfer to my preheated pizza stone.

                            1. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/p...

                              This is the recipe by Peter Reinhart from American Pie. I have used this recipe without fail for years. I actually was introduced to the book by Peter himself. I went to a pizza class that he was the instructor. It's actually a good read. He studied pizza making all over the world...tough life!

                              Give it a try. It think his instructions will be helpful as well. I agree that 30 min of kneading is too much. You developed too much gluten. It was probably hard to roll out? Snapping back, not keeping shape?

                              29 Replies
                              1. re: pagesinthesun

                                Has anyone tried the suggestion of substituting half milk vs. all water to get a chewy crust?

                                1. re: monavano

                                  milk is a tenderizer. It would be a way to get a more cakey crust.

                                  1. re: splatgirl

                                    But the suggestion was to get a chewier crust, which I don't associate with cake.
                                    I'll give it a try for sh*ts 'n grins anyway.

                                    1. re: splatgirl

                                      Indian naan bread contains milk, and while the bread is tender it's certainly not cakey (not what my cake is like at least. YMMV!)... That said, I'm not sure it would work well for pizza. Wrong texture I think.

                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                        I actually think naan bread is close to what I associate good Neapolitan crust to be like, maybe slightly crisper though, but same chew and tenderness.

                                        1. re: cleopatra999

                                          If what you want is a Neapolitan type crust, milk (or the recipe you linked) is not going to get you there.

                                          Higher hydration would be my #1 suggestion. Technique improvements would be next.

                                          Part of your problem is the recipe, but that aside, 00 flour is incredibly sensitive to technique--moreso than any other flour I've ever worked with. (I have a wood-fired oven, I'm a Neo pizza fanatic, I've dedicated years to researching and perfecting my dough and I make hundreds of pounds of it a year.) It's also completely wasted in the recipe you linked. An astute eater would only ever notice the difference, and then in a dough that has been expertly constructed and handled, but since you have it, find a recipe that is in the 70-80% range for hydration, and scale your ingredients. The suggestions to try the Peter Reinhardt formula are sound.

                                          1. re: splatgirl

                                            A hydration level greater than 70% seems a bit high for pizza. But maybe you're doing something different; can you share your formula?

                                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                              Not for Neo style pizza.
                                              The Reinhardt recipe is 81%, IIRC.

                                              In my experience with Neapolitan style doughs in a wood-fired oven, my best results come from hydration in the 75-80% range. More than that and the increased difficulty in handling offsets the "better". Hydration is only one factor, though. I can't emphasize enough how much technique matters at every stage. The casual home dough and pizza maker way over handles dough almost without exception.

                                              My formula is sourdough based. Prior to developing that, or if I were having a dough emergency and were prevented from doing sourdough, my formula would be 75-78% hydration, Bobs Red Mill organic AP Flour OR King Arthur conventional or organic bread flour, 2% salt, 1% yeast (or less if time permits). 20 minute autolyse, add salt, a very brief mix, and then stretch and fold every 30 minutes x 2-3 hours, portion to 250g. and shape, let sit at room temp until just beginning to rise, then cold retard overnight. In a critical pinch, no overnight retard, and that would also change my working technique, but I try to avoid this scenario like the plague because the end product is that much inferior. We've got a very good VPN place nearby, and I'd rather just eat theirs at that point.

                                              I think it's worth noting that IME no matter what pains are taken with the indoor oven, the difference between that and a WFO-cooked pizza will be significant. One can produce an excellent pizza in a home oven, but it's a completely different animal than WFO-cooked pizza, even when every other variable is exactly the same. The same can be said of the results from an experienced pizzaiolo and a novice.

                                              1. re: splatgirl

                                                The Reinhart recipe I found calls for 20.25 oz of flour and 14 oz of water, which is 69.1% hydration. There may be others with higher hydration floating around, though. According to the Varasano's link, he gets better results with higher hydration at higher temps (and lower hydration at lower temps), so perhaps the Reinhart recipe I found was published with the lower-temp home oven in mind.

                                                This is such a fascinating topic - I really appreciate the input of all you experienced pizza bakers!

                                                1. re: biondanonima

                                                  Mine is 75%.

                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                    And just for the heck of it, here's a 75% Reinhart formula straight from the horses mouth:
                                                    http://www.fornobravo.com/pizzaquest/...

                                                    It's possible I'm pulling the 81% out of thin air, but I would swear that formula is in one of his books (that I obviously don't own).

                                                    In any case and in WFO or home oven, my experience has been that higher hydration dough greatly increases ones chances of achieving a satisfactory end product. Too little water will ruin a dough in a variety of ways and in almost every case. This is exacerbated by home cook recipes and tendency toward using volume measurements instead of weights. OTOH, high hydration almost always makes doughs better.

                                                    1. re: splatgirl

                                                      Very interesting. Did you cultivate your starter out of thin air, or start with a purchased one? The options at sourdo.com are intriguing...

                                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                                        I birthed and raised sourdough baby up from scratch. I have never worked with a purchased starter, but I would be interested to do so at some point. To know if/how those change over time...a much-debated subject in the realm.
                                                        If you're interested learning about and from natural leavens, pizza dough is the perfect experimental vehicle because of the few ingredients and uncomplicated rise/bake.

                                                      2. re: splatgirl

                                                        Interesting: "you can certainly use Italian flour, such as Caputo, if you want to make an authentic Napoletana dough. Just cut back on the water by about 2 ounces, since Italian flour does not absorb as much as the higher protein American flour"

                                                        That would cut it down to about 66% hydration.

                                                        I think it's important to balance the high hydration rhetoric against ease of handling, especially in a thread like this. The OP seems to be relatively new to pizza making, and jumping immediately into a super hydrated dough is in my opinion a recipe for frustration. Handling dough with ease, learning how to shape it without ripping, work with it on the peel, etc, takes some practice. Doing this on, e.g., a 75% hydration dough vs a 65% hydration dough, adds a tremendous amount of additional difficulty.

                                                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                          The fact remains that the simplest and most immediate route to an improvement based on the information presented is higher hydration. Whether or not that suits your status quo or the OP's presumed skill set is a separate issue.
                                                          How is one to ever develop the skill if one never tries? Handling 70%-75% percent hydration dough is well within the abilities of anyone who cares to invest in a little edible practice. I see this firsthand every time I have a pizza party. Even as a Neo style beginner I found this far easier than doing battle with the stiff, underhydrated doughs I was more familiar with.

                                                          1. re: splatgirl

                                                            Great point. High hydration dough isn't hard to handle once you try it a couple of times. It's actually much nicer to work with since once you have good gluten developed gravity handles the stretching for you. I think it's actually much easier to work with than a drier dough.

                                                            1. re: splatgirl

                                                              There's no such thing as fact when we're discussing someone else's subjective description of making food in an environment that we've never seen. We can only offer our educated guesses and opinions.

                                                              My opinion is that super high hydration doughs are an outlier, and I don't think high hydration is necessary given what we know of the situation, nor is it a guaranteed path to achieving the stated goals. Even on pizza-specific forums (e.g. at pizzamaking.com), it's rare to see mention of hydration over 70%. And in those threads it's common for people to mention that they're having some sort of difficulty with handling such liquid dough.

                                                              I am also of the opinion that positive reinforcement via success is a better driver for learning than negative reinforcement via failure. Given the difficulty that some people may have with working with high hydration dough, and given the fact that many pizza obsessives are perfectly happy with lower hydration doughs, it seems to me that the most probable path toward positive (successful) reinforcement is to start at a lower hydration and move up from there. If high hydration is desired, I believe that it will be easier to build up to it than it will be to jump right into the fire (or water, as the case may be).

                                                              YMMV, as always.

                                                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                In my own experience, higher hydration yields a better product, especially in a home oven where you will likely have longer bake times.

                                                          2. re: splatgirl

                                                            Reinhart has different iterations of many of his recipes; I think his recipes evolve. Mine do the same. Every time I try to put together any sort of book of my recipes, I am faced with the thought that as soon as I get them all typed, I will probably have changed most of them.

                                                        2. re: splatgirl

                                                          Thanks a lot for sharing your method.

                                                          I'm going to give it a try.

                                                          1. re: 1POINT21GW

                                                            Oh My, so much information here. I will definitely give these tips a try and report back. Thanks for all the information!!

                                                          2. re: splatgirl

                                                            Splatgirl, I reread this thread and I don't think you ever revealed your sourdough formula. Now that I have an active starter, I'd be very interested to hear what you do! I've looked at a ton of recipes that use starter recently, but many of them call for such a small amount (15g in a recipe that makes 600g of dough) that I can't imagine it makes a huge difference in terms of flavor.

                                                            I actually did an experiment of my own today - I needed to feed my starter, so I removed about 125g of it from its jar and instead of discarding it, I fed this portion another 125g of water and flour and let it sit at warm room temp for about 6 hours. It was nice and bubbly by this point, so I added enough water and flour to give me 600g of 75% hydration dough, plus a tiny bit of yeast and salt, let it autolyse for 30 mins and then kneaded for 5 mins in the KA. I let it rise for a couple of hours, then shaped and baked. It turned out really well (IMO), despite the shortish rise time (I would do an overnight or 2-4 night retarded rise next time). However, I used a LOT of starter in comparison to most of the recipes I'm seeing - I mean, technically all 375g of my pre-ferment was starter, right? Is there some reason NOT to use this amount of starter?

                                                            Anyway, I'd love some guidance on how to improve my dough - any tips you might have would be very much appreciated!

                                                            1. re: biondanonima

                                                              I generally start with 20g of starter out of the fridge, double it, and then double it again each 12 hours for 36 or 48 hours prior to making the dough. (All done at room temperature in order to wake up the yeast and get it ready to go.) So 20g yields 160g or even 320g when I'm ready to actually mix everything up. Most recipes that call for a very small amount do so in order to set up a preferment, so it's the same basic idea.

                                                              Too much starter is problematic because the starter is very rich in enzymes that can destroy gluten, especially if you do long retarded ferments. With your shorter ferment it's really not an issue, but if you left it for a few days you might notice that your dough was very weak and prone to ripping. To keep things safe it's usually advised to take less than 20% of the dough's flour percentage from the starter.

                                                              I usually shoot for around 12%, so for 1000g of a 70% hydration dough for which I was planning a multi-day retardation, I'd do something like:

                                                              141g starter (12% + 12%)
                                                              341g water (58%)
                                                              518g flour (88%)
                                                              12g salt (2.0%)
                                                              18g olive oil (3.0%)

                                                              == 1030g total (I don't count the salt or oil when I do the math, in order to keep things simple)

                                                              Best thing I've found recently to improve overall dough quality: Longer autolyse, sans salt and oil. I combine the starter, water, and flour, then let the whole thing sit for 2-3 hours prior to any further additions or kneading. This has made a huge difference in my recent batches.

                                                              (Excellent blog post on this topic, from which I got the tip: http://www.northwestsourdough.com/dis...)

                                                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                Davis - thank you so much for this post - VERY informative! I'll keep your tips in mind when I can plan for a long process, but for a quick dough I felt like the large amount of starter added a lot of flavor. The autolyse is somthing I nadn't tried before but I thought it definitely helped with gluten development. I'll try leaving the salt out of the autolyse next time.

                                                        3. re: splatgirl

                                                          Is that your vocation Splat? Creating and cooking?

                                                      3. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                        Not all naan recipes call for milk.

                                                        1. re: boogiebaby

                                                          Perhaps not, but it seems to be the predominant style. I just googled and every result on the first two pages contained either milk, yogurt (milk in fermented form), or both.

                                                    2. re: monavano

                                                      "Lean ‘n’ Chewy Crust" Pizza formula from the book, "Encyclopizza"

                                                      13-5/8 oz High-gluten (Bread) Flour
                                                      2-3/8 oz Semolina
                                                      8-3/4 oz Water
                                                      2-1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
                                                      2 tsp Salt
                                                      1/3 oz Egg Whites
                                                             
                                                      Yield 25 oz of dough, enough for two 12-inch pizzas

                                                    3. re: pagesinthesun

                                                      It was snapping back a bit, but not a ton. I guess I did overknead it, I just kept trying to get the window pane!

                                                      Am I reading your recipe correct, it has no kneading? I will try this recipe next time.

                                                    4. Yes, you can make chewy tin crust in a consumer oven,

                                                      What 00 flour were you using? The 00 designation indicates a fine milling, whereas the protein level, another matter entirely, is also important. For some reason, King Arthur markets a 00 flour in the USA, but it's protein level is lower than Italian 00 and not so good for pizza, I think, unless you want a cracker-like crust..

                                                      Try King Arthur AP flour or their bread flour.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                        I don't know what the specific brand was, but it was imported from Italy.

                                                        Next time I am in the states I will pick up some King Arthur.

                                                      2. Pizza dough usually comes out way better after a 2-3 day rest in the fridge. It improves flavor and texture.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Becca Porter

                                                          Do you have a recipe Becca?

                                                          1. re: cleopatra999

                                                            I usually use recipes from American Pie by Peter Reinhart, but I also like these: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                                                            1. re: cleopatra999

                                                              "All-purpose Dough for Retarding" Pizza formula from the book, "Encyclopizza"

                                                              16 oz oz High-gluten (Bread) Flour
                                                              9 oz Water
                                                              5/8 tsp Active Dry Yeast
                                                              1-1/8 tsp Sugar
                                                              1-5/8 tsp Salt
                                                              1/2 oz Oil
                                                                     
                                                              Yield 26 oz of dough, enough for two 12-inch pizzas.

                                                          2. It seems to me that recipes with less fat are breadier, and recipes with more fat are chewier. 4 tbsp for 7 cups of flour isn't a ton of oil. You might be happier trying a recipe that calls for more.

                                                            1. I think that just a straight french bread dough makes a nice pizza crust. Preferment half the flour overnight. About 67% hydration for the final dough.

                                                              1. I bake pizza every friday night. 1 pkg yeast proofed in .5 c warm water. Then add to 1 c water,2 T olive oil, 1.5 t salt. Mix in about 4 cups ap flour. Knead by hand until it comes together. Let rise for 2 or more hours. Divide into three balls. I freeze one or two for next week. I like to hand toss,stretch. Dough gets very thin. Minimal toppings and then baked on a stone in a 500 oven for 9 minutes. The stuff that has been frzn is easier to work with next week, also a bit chewier.

                                                                1. I highly recommend reading Jeff Versano's guide. It completely changed the way I make both pizza and bread (for the better):

                                                                  http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm

                                                                  His methodology for developing gluten is excellent, and he does a very good job of explaining dough retardation.

                                                                  Unlike Versano I do appreciate a small amount of oil in my pizza dough -- 2-3%, scaled against the flour's weight. I find that it creates a softer inner texture and a slightly crisper undercrust.

                                                                  I don't think that '00' flour is necessary for great pizza. I've played with it, in addition to King Arthur Sir Lancelot, King Arthur bread flour, and King Arthur AP. Today the latter is the only one I use -- I really found little if any benefit of the others.

                                                                  Something you should definitely stop doing is rolling out your dough. Hand stretching makes a HUGE difference. I wouldn't have believed it myself just a year ago, but I am really getting much better pies after ditching the rolling pin.

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                    This is a very informative link - thank you for posting!

                                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                                      Another good dough recipe you should try is Mozza's. It works really well in home ovens:
                                                                      http://foodieah.blogspot.com/2011/08/...

                                                                      As with the Apizza Scholls recipe, Varasano's method of dough production works very well here.

                                                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                                                        One more thing: don't bother with those BS yeast packets at the supermarket. Order yourself a bag of Instant Dry Yeast from Amazon. It lasts for a long time in the fridge and will give you much better results.

                                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                                          +1.

                                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                                            Even better: cultivate a sourdough starter :-)

                                                                            I haven't bought any yeast in a few years. What's the difference between the instant dry yeast on Amazon and the same thing in packets at the grocery? Just concern about how long it's been sitting on the shelves, or..?

                                                                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                              I buy large packages of instant yeast (mine comes from Sam's Club) because it is about 1/8 the price of the little packets. Also, it is better for measuring out out exactly how much you need.

                                                                        2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                          Big second to the Varasano link. I was going to post it here if nobody else did.

                                                                          I was in serious planning to start a pizza business last year and made a great many pizzas at home. Varasano is great for understanding the method of how to get good gluten and flavor development, and his approach can be used with other recipes.

                                                                          I adapted his approach to the Apizza Scholls dough recipe, which you can find here:
                                                                          http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...

                                                                          Skip the 00 flour. It's intended for making Neapolitan style pies, which are very difficult to make in a home oven because of temperature limitations. Getting a home oven to 800 degrees is extremely challenging, and Neapolitan pies are commonly baked at more than 1000.

                                                                          Lastly, it is possible to get the kind of crust you want out of a home oven, but it is a challenge. I did it all the time, but it took some experimentation.

                                                                          I had a gas oven with broiler underneath. I invested in three baking stones, including a Hearthkit fibrament stone, which is sadly no longer manufactured but can be sometimes found online.

                                                                          I suggest you consider purchasing one of these:
                                                                          http://bakingsteel.com/shop/baking-st...

                                                                          Serious Eats did extensive testing of these and its thermal conduction is really impressive. They were able to get proper crust browning in a home oven using this.

                                                                          You'll also want a wooden peel for moving your pizza into the oven, and a metal one for removing it.

                                                                          And definitely throw away the rolling pin!

                                                                        3. 16 oz. unbleached AP flour
                                                                          1 t. salt
                                                                          1 T. instant yeast

                                                                          Stir together. Add:

                                                                          1 1/2 cup purified water, any temperature at or less than body temperature

                                                                          Stir until all of the flour is hydrated. Place dough in a large glass or stainless bowl and cover. Let sit around for 2-12 hours.

                                                                          Divide and fold the dough into balls. Cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes; or set aside and let it rest for another hour or two for easier shaping.

                                                                          That's mine.

                                                                          EDIT: Sometimes I sub in up to 25% whole wheat.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                            thanks everyone! looking forward to trying all these different tips/recipes.

                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                              What brand was the unbleached all-purpose flour? I tried generic store brand, but the texture was bad and tasted aweful. Maybe it was my recipe, but I don't think so.

                                                                              I'm wondering if the brand of AP flour might make a big difference?

                                                                              1. re: amateurcook2

                                                                                It does for me, I used to just get the cheapest flour, and it was a struggle. I love working with Wheat Montana flours. I get much better results.

                                                                                1. re: amateurcook2

                                                                                  Gold Medal. Always check the date!

                                                                                  1. re: amateurcook2

                                                                                    Thanks for the info. I will try Gold Medal all-purpose flour (probably won't be able to find Wheat Montana brand easily) you recommended and check the date as well.

                                                                                    I worked at a pizzeria decades ago and very casually watched the Italian owner make the dough a few times. It seemed very simplistic, but it was hard to tell if he used AP flour or bread flour, not sure what brand either. To make a medium-thickness crust, he used a white flour (not sure if AP or bread; pretty sure not 00 because he was cost conscious), salt (regular table salt, not kosher), yeast and water, although I have no idea in what proportions.

                                                                                    From what I could tell, he did not use any oil or sugar in the dough like a lot of recipes you see on the internet. However, oil was used for lightly coating the dough balls to prevent drying out while they were rising in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

                                                                                2. I've been trying for years to get the perfect crust at home as well. I have a few that I like a lot but they still haven't been exactly right. I think much of this is because our ovens just don't get hot enough.

                                                                                  But that said, I just made some with 00 flour (imported from Italy - Antimo Caputo) - I used the recipe from Modern Cuisine at home which calls for the addition of Vital Wheat Gluten (I found it in my grocery store with specialty flours). You really add very little, I was surprised.

                                                                                  Wow was I surprised at how much chewier this dough was from all my other recipes. I wasn't thrilled with the crust in the end, it was almost too chewy which I think is a result of my 500 degree oven, but definitely something I'm going to continue experimenting with for that chewy crust.

                                                                                  16 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: thimes

                                                                                    Please keep me updated. My oven gets to 550, and my bbq hotter.

                                                                                    Do you use a stone? I heat mine up for a good 45 minutes. Also I just tested a cast iron pizza pan, results were better than my stone.

                                                                                    Do you have the Modern Cuisine recipe that I could try?

                                                                                    1. re: cleopatra999

                                                                                      Where are you putting the stone in the oven? And how long are your pies taking to bake? Does your oven have a convection feature?

                                                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                        I often cook 2 at once, so one would be closer to element. perhaps not the best choice? Do I want to be as close to element as possible? I have no convection. Not sure on time. Will have to pay attention next time (it's not long though)

                                                                                        1. re: cleopatra999

                                                                                          It's probably best to bake one at a time at the bottom of the oven on a pizza steel or stone.

                                                                                          1. re: cleopatra999

                                                                                            A lot of people have found that leveraging the broiler works quite nicely. Check out this video from America's Test Kitchen:

                                                                                            http://www.americastestkitchen.com/re...

                                                                                            ... personally I have better luck using the "convection roast" setting on my oven and keeping the "stone" (actually an aluminum plate in my case) a bit lower in the oven. But all of this depends on several factors -- the broiler method might work well for you. It unfortunately does limit you to one pizza at a time.

                                                                                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                              I had great results starting in the oven and finishing in the broiler. Nice bottom browning, and lovely charring and blistering.

                                                                                        2. re: cleopatra999

                                                                                          I do use a stone, it helps.

                                                                                          I will post the MC recipe next week - traveling right now so ill do it when I get home.

                                                                                        3. re: thimes

                                                                                          This, this this this. Using the Modernist Cuisine at Home recipe, with the small amount of vital wheat gluten added, took me from "I'll never understand how to get pizza dough thinner than an inch and a half post-cooking because it'll never get thin" to "holy WOW, this is restaurant quality, with bubbles and charring on the bottom." The first time I tried it.

                                                                                          I'm not willing to publish the recipe to copyrighted material, but google will get you there, and here's a start: http://modernistcuisine.com/2012/11/s...

                                                                                          1. re: enhF94

                                                                                            Here's a link to the champagne recipe, which also includes a link to a source for WRISE.

                                                                                            http://seattlefoodgeek.com/2012/07/no...

                                                                                            1. re: enhF94

                                                                                              No worries; recipes cannot be copyrighted. See:

                                                                                              http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html

                                                                                              With that in mind, here's the MC recipe:

                                                                                              500g 00 flour
                                                                                              310g water
                                                                                              10g honey or agave syrup
                                                                                              10g salt
                                                                                              2.5g vital wheat gluten
                                                                                              2.5g active dry yeast

                                                                                              - Mix in a stand mixer w/ dough hook until incorporated
                                                                                              - Mix medium speed for 5 min
                                                                                              - Rest 10 min at room temp, then another 5 min at medium speed
                                                                                              - Transfer to a floured surface, portion into 200g chunks, roll the chunks into balls
                                                                                              - Coat the balls lightly w/ neutral oil, cover w/ plastic wrap, rest at room temp for 1 hour

                                                                                              --

                                                                                              In my opinion this recipe was designed to favor time over flavor; I'd highly recommend adding an overnight retardation into the mix.

                                                                                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                Actually, if you read the link that you'd posted as well as the CH guidelines for this Board (linked here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/865812),
                                                                                                you'd know that the only non-copyrightable content of recipes is the list of ingredients. Instructions on how to prepare the dish using those ingredients are subject to copyright. Here is the key language from the CH guidelines on posting recipes:

                                                                                                -- Ingredient lists don't fall under copyright protection, so you're welcome to repost those verbatim. The instructions and any intro paragraphs are covered under copyright protection; these you should paraphrase in your own words. We will be obliged to remove posts containing recipes copied verbatim from published sources, even if you credit the source

                                                                                                1. re: masha

                                                                                                  Yes, I did read that, and yes, I did paraphrase. Thanks.

                                                                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                    Sorry. It was unclear from your post (and I don't have the original recipe) whether you'd paraphrased the instructions.

                                                                                                2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                  fascinating on all counts, and I agree with (my local bro/sis) Davis_sq_pro about the overnight retardation.

                                                                                                  1. re: enhF94

                                                                                                    Not as local as I'd like to be... I moved to Melrose some time back. Although I was lucky enough to spend some time in Davis earlier today.

                                                                                                    Any good pizza recommendations in Somerville these days? My favorite was City Slicker, which I really need to get back over to one of these days. Totally nontraditional, but greasy crunchy excellence none the less...

                                                                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                      If you ask me, I'm with you: it's still City Slicker by twenty lengths, followed by Pini's and Angelina's - but I admit I'm so in love with City Slicker I'm disinclined to Hound around on pizza.

                                                                                                      Oh, there's "Posto" now, which is fancier than corner-delivery, in the Carberry's/O'Natural's/Green-Tomato-Too's space. They sent someone to Naples to get a Neapolitan Pizza certification, and built a fancy oven in there. They're always so full I haven't been since they opened, but it was certainly good enough to eat try again (seasoning was a hurdle, but crust was crispy and thin).

                                                                                            2. For those who might be interested, I received a Super Peel (http://www.amazon.com/EXO-Super-Peel-...) for Christmas. Cook's Illustrated rated it the best baking peel in their latest tests.

                                                                                              I have used it several times so far and I must say that it is simply amazing. It handles even the wettest of doughs with ease. Perfectly shaped pizzas every time. No more sticking with this peel - no matter how wet the dough.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: 1POINT21GW

                                                                                                I had seen those. Glad to know you like it!

                                                                                                1. re: 1POINT21GW

                                                                                                  I have one of these too, takes all the drama out of getting a pizza in the oven, no matter how many people are watching! Great for pie dough too... I like making large gallettes

                                                                                                2. If anybody is interested I just noted a Food Lab installment on Serious Eats for a pan pizza cooked in a cast iron skillet. I'm going to try it this weekend.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: kengk

                                                                                                    Made this last night. Ridiculously easy and very good.

                                                                                                  2. For those who like to experiment, I've had good results with Reinhart's "stretch and fold" tip when I'm on the ball enough to make my dough at least a day in advance.
                                                                                                    In the video below he's using a much wetter dough than I do, but I still use the basic technique and think it really helps.

                                                                                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1timJl...

                                                                                                    For those who would prefer to read, here's his article that points to the video. While he says to pull the dough, I like to hold it in the air and just let gravity do its thing, but it's probably just a case of "six of one, half dozen of the other".

                                                                                                    http://www.fornobravo.com/pizzaquest/...

                                                                                                    .

                                                                                                    1. Here's a link to the online "Encyclopizza" at Archive.org. Nearly everything you need to know about pizza.

                                                                                                      http://web.archive.org/web/2011102803...

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                        Judging from the recipes you've posted I would describe it a lot differently.

                                                                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                                                                          Obviously for some, it's casting pearls before swine. The book is often referenced on Pizzamaking.com

                                                                                                          http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizza_link...

                                                                                                          1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                            Oink oink.

                                                                                                          2. re: Josh

                                                                                                            I would describe it a lot differently as well. I will defend this book's right to use strange ingredients in a non style specific perspective, but it's by far, not 'nearly everything you need to know about pizza.' Not even close.

                                                                                                        2. http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...

                                                                                                          this one I thought I'd already posted but it's so easy and the wine gives it that sourdoughie-ish twang that I appreciate in a pizza dough, even raw :;-/ (dare I saw or admit to?)

                                                                                                          1. Weigh flour. Stir in yeast and salt. Add water and stir well. Cover and let rise. Refrigerate. Use the next day or the day after. Or even three later.

                                                                                                            Water = 70-75% of flour by weight.

                                                                                                            Job done.

                                                                                                            p.s. don't use bleached flour. stupid stuff.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                              Unless you want to make authentic New York style pizza, in which case you should in fact buy bleached, bromated flour. (Don't believe me? Google it. :-))

                                                                                                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                My first hit came up with a recommendation to use King Arthur (not bleached). My second hit was Serious Eats, which said bread flour (not bleached). My third hit just said flour. My fourth hit said Caputo, and I looked around a little bit to see if it was bleached, and it doesn't appear to be, but I'm not positive. I stopped there. Oh, search terms: Flour for authentic New York pizza.

                                                                                                                Anyway, not sure I want NY-style, anyway..... :)