What's the affect of flour hydration on overall hydration in pizza dough?

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Senior Cook
May 15, 2020
Prior Lake
I'm trying to get into making a great pizza (I've made like a pizza every 2-3 days trying to perfect the dough for the past 2 weeks or so) and I'm trying to get a really nice thick, deep dish chewy dough (I grew up on lots of Dominoes pizza and Pizza Hut so I'm trying to replicate that.)

I think/hope my best bet for a chewy dough is to go under 3 percent for oil in my dough and about 64 percent water. I'm wondering how much my flour hydration affects my water percentages. If the average hydration content of flour is about 12 percent, do I need to take this into account when doing my hydration percent calculations? Or if the humidity is up, should I decrease my water percentage by 1-2 percent?

Flour -376 gram (100 percent)
Water- 214 gram (right now it's 57 percent)
Instant Dry yeast - 1.5 gram (0.4 percent)
Salt - 6.6 gram (1.8 percent)
Vegetable oil - 18.8 gram (it's at 5 percent but I think it hinders gluten and about 3 percent could be better for a chewy pizza?)
Sugar - 5.7 gram (1.5 percent)

I'm using a standard 500 degree oven and heating a large stone in it for about an hour before throwing the pizza in. I haven't yet looked into buying a proper pizza oven, but I'm just trying to figure out how to make my dough chewier if it's possible. I'd love any help or advice!!
Your numbers look decent and it's really about preference anyway. Personally I like to use bread flour and I'm talking about using a regular oven, mine goes to 550 and that's what I use with a stone. Anyway, the bread flour has a little more protein which I prefer and results in a chewier crust. I'm also talking your basic Neapolitan and not Sicilian style dough.

Hydration is one to fiddle with and no you don't take the natural hydration found in flour to influence the amount of water added. Generally speaking and when getting away from the higher temp traditional wood burning ovens, more hydration is needed and helps to create steam during the baking process, contributing to a better rise and a chewier, more tender crust. 57% is pretty low and can effect the moisture content leaving the crust dry and brittle. I'm in and around the 68 to 73% depending on the humidity, time of year scenario, it does fluctuate and talking to a few pizza guys I know they all say the same thing, the longer the cooking time the higher the hydration. This has been my experience from when I used 60% all the time.

I'm down around 3% for oil and I think 5% is pushing the limits but it is a nice mouthfeel that's for sure. I try to keep the sugar down as much as possible, around 0.5 I don't like sweetness in my pizza, but that's just me and I cold ferment so that helps as well. Keep in mind I'm not a pizza cook and just letting you know how I tackle the wonderful world of pie.
No oil for me and relatively low hydration.
But then I like thin crusts and got a pizza oven that I can get to 400 oC, probably more.
Bottom line is: play.
Hydration, temperature and time amongst others.
Try a biga or the other one (name is escaping me) or sourdough and you probably find a slow rising dough more satisfying (I do)
If you want a chewier dough, you can bump up the hydration percentage to 64%, like you mentioned. That'll add more moisture to the dough and help you get the texture you're after. Just be careful not to add too much water, or you'll end up with a dough that's too sticky or a pain to work with.
Cold fermentation of the dough for 2-3 days in the refrigerator gives me the best results and allows me to get the messy work out of the way at my convenience.
Do you make the dough in a bread machine then place in fridge for 2-3 days?
Do you make the dough in a bread machine then place in fridge for 2-3 days?
No, I mix it by hand, knead it by hand, let it rise once, punch it down, slip it into a plastic bag with a bit of oil , and refrigerate it until I’m ready to use it.

When I take it out of the fridge it is sometimes a little difficult to work with. When I try to form a crust it shrinks back so I let it rest a few minutes while I’m preparing the toppings and then continue stretching.

I’m almost to the point where it’s more practical, and less expensive, to buy a ball of dough than it is to maintain a pantry with fresh ingredients.
I use a recipe for NY style crust I got from Serious Eats. I mix a batch in my FP, divide it into portions and refrigerate it overnight in plastic bags. The next day I use one and freeze the rest. I shape it into a ball and let it sit on the counter until evening. It's a dream to shape into a crust.

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