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Old 03-11-2009, 12:35 PM   #1
Assistant Cook
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Pizza Dough problem

Hi everyone, I'm making pizza from scratch and having a bit of a problem. The pizza comes out well and tastes good, but it's a bit thick, and thick on the crust.

My recipe is:
3 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 cup water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar (I use to start up the yeast)

I let the dough rise once then form it up. What I notice is that my dough tears pretty easily. I can't toss it up in the air like normal pizza, or even hold it with my fists to spread it out.

Does anyone know how to make dough like a pizza shop?

Thanks for any help, or even just reading this.


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Old 03-11-2009, 12:57 PM   #2
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Sounds like you are not kneading the dough enough to develop gluten. Kneading longer will give you a stronger dough that resists tearing when stretched. With the development of gluten, you can stretch the dough to make a thinner crust.

"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:22 PM   #3
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Thank you, I'll put a little more work into the kneading. I don't have a processor, or anything like that so it's all me. I probably took it too easy on the dough.

Great quote by the way, the Sagan one I mean.
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:47 PM   #4
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the pizza crust recipe I currently use makes (2) 15 inch crusts and calls for less flour than your recipe. I use a no knead pizza crust recipe. I have never thought it practical for me to try to hand toss a pizza crust....I use a rolling pin. You need to let the dough rest about 5 minutes before you start to try to stretch it.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:05 PM   #5
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Greg - what type of flour and yeast are you using? Is your dough pretty dry? I think you may need to increase your hydration a bit. I would recommend you try a this. First, add your water to your mixing bowl. If you are making your dough and using it in the same day, use room temp water, not cold. Add 75% of your flour to the water while mixing. Once it starts coming together let it sit for at least 20 minutes. (Up to a few hours) This is an autolzye. After the autolyze, add your yeast, sugar, and salt in that order. If you want to add some olive oil, you can add it to the water in the very beginning. Add in the balance of the flour until the dough is a little wet and a little sticky, but not too hard to handle. Also, if you are using ADY instead of IDY, you can take some of the initial water to proof it and add it in after the autolzye. You don't need to proof IDY separately. From there, you can follow your normal process of rising and portioning.

If you really want to change things up, get yourself a decent, cheap digital scale. (about $25) Once you start weighing your ingredients you can get very repeatable results and work in bakers percentages instead of volume. Different flours absorb water at different rates and have different densities. Plus, you can really control your hydration percentage this way. In addition, you can mess around with long, cold ferments in the fridge, although you'd have to decrease the amount of yeast your using dramatically. You can make your dough ahead of time, and let it bulk rise in the fridge for 1 - 4 days. The portion out the balls and let them rise to room temp the day you use them, shape, dress & bake.

In Bakers percentages your recipe would look something like this. (Flour is always 100%, if you're using 100 grams of flour, you would multiply the percentages below by the number of grams of flour or 100 in this example)

Flour - 100%
Water - 63%
Yeast - 2% (Which is a lot, my recipe are around .50%-.60%)
Salt - 1%
Sugar - 2% (If you using this to feed your yeast, you don't need it)

But for now, add somemore water and follow the steps above. Report back!

AND! When your kneading, I assume by hand, lay the dough on the counter and with the heel of your hand press the dough away from you. Once it flattens out, fold a 1/3 flap from the top towards you, then fold the 1/3 flap from the bottom away from you and the fold the left and right sides in. Turn seem side down, and rotate 90*. repeat!
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Old 03-12-2009, 01:56 AM   #6
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70chevelle is very knowledgeable; excellent. You might also try adding 2 or 3 Tbsp of oil to your dough recipe, and then KNEAD! I usually do about 7 minutes, giving a turn every three to four seconds. I just press, then fold and turn 90 degrees and repeat. It works.
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:39 AM   #7
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Pizza parlors use a high gluten flour, not all purpose.

This allows them to toss it and for it to hold together better. You can either buy high gluten flour or add gluten to all purpose. I'm not sure where to buy the gluten because it was given to me, but I think it came from a health food store.
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:56 AM   #8
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I was getting regular enriched flour and it wasn't working very well.

I switched to flour for bread machines, which had a higher protein content and gave it a good working over for about 30 minutes and it made a big difference.

I switched to a smaller pie, going:

2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 tbsp veg oil

I cooked it a bit less at 400 for 10 minutes and it came out almost perfect.

I've still got to work on forming it up. I had some lumpy crust areas and some thin.

Thanks to everyone for the help.
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Old 03-16-2009, 02:12 PM   #9
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I worked in a pizza place for a while. There was a thing we sprayed with oil and then put the pizza dough balls in it. Then we would pull a lever and the 2 parts of the thing would come together and flatten the pizza dough ball. Dont know if such and item is available in the shops or not. It would be good, because it prevents the need to handle the dough too much making it lose the air that makes its texture good.


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