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My dough is tough.

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  • My dough is tough.

    What's the secret to crispy crust and not tough crust? My pizza crust has great flavor but the dough isn't where I want it to be as for it's texture.

    I use a stand mixer for the dough but I'm wondering if maybe I should need it by hand instead.

    When it comes to actually making the pies I don't have the confidence to hand toss so instead I press out (no rolling pin) and spin the dough by hand on a dusted surface. Often times the middle is very very thin and the outside is much thicker. Consequently the outer edges are a tough chew. Should I just bite the bullet and toss it? Are there any good tutorials (online video's) o how to do this?

    One other thing, following the recipie on this site the dough seems incredibly sticky.....


  • #2
    Re: My dough is tough.

    What flour are you useing?
    Gives us a general rundown of what the recipe is and what you are doing.


    • #3
      Re: My dough is tough.


      From what I understand is that you can over-knead the dough. Doing it by hand it sounds to be impossible but you are using a machine. How long are you running it?
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      • #4
        Re: My dough is tough.

        Thanks guys, I'm using Caputo Tipo 00 flour and it's the basic recipe from this site; 500 gr flour, 325 gr water, 10 gr salt & 3 gr dry active yeast.

        The recipe and machine technique can be found here;

        The pies actually have great flavor, it is mainly the edges that are tough. I found a youtube video that seems to address my problem in that there probably isn't enough (or any) air at the edges.
        Neapolitan Pizza Making with the Masters! Part 2 - YouTube

        I wish there were video's available to help teach proper technique for making the pies themselves.

        Would you concur that this "tough problem" is most likely a technique issue in making the pies themselves?


        • #5
          Re: My dough is tough.

          I'm with Les, I THINK you may be over kneading the dough.

          Yes, the dough is sticky; all my doughs are quite sticky. That's usually a good thing, it means you didn't under-hydrate which is a sure fire way for tough crust or crumb. Although, I do always knead by hand and it just barely leaves "the sticky stage" during the 'bulk fermentation'. By the time I'm dividing them into balls after a 2-4 hour rest (depending on how much yeast I use) it's very smooth.

          I actually don't know anyone who really "tosses" the pizza dough (a-la-I Love Lucy-style....boy, does that age me) I do what you do: a little stretching on a counter, but mostly pulling it along the back of one hand and pulling the edges with the other hand as I twirl or rotate it while it's drapped over my wrist or back-of-hand. When I take my 280 gram doughs out of the ref ridge, I let them come to room temp, THEN do the gentle stretching on the back of my hand. I will gently pull (not push out) the dough to help make it round or thin out a thicker edge.

          I've had equally good results with both Caputo 000 flour and King Arthur All-purpose.

          If you are using the full amount of yeast, you may be overly rising and in turn, trying to flatten too hard to make them into flat discs. I usually use half the yeast called for (on these basic dough receipes on Fornobravo) but then retard overnight

          But tell us what kind of flour you use, is this a home oven or pizza oven, pizza stone or pan-on-rack or wfo? What oven temp?

          Good luck, you'll get it figured out.
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          • #6
            Re: My dough is tough.

            I am with Dino and Les as well. With the use of a machine, it is very easy to over kneed the dough - though with the 62% hydration this is somewhat hard to believe unless you are mixing for 10+ minutes. I use the same recipe and only mix for about 2 minutes, autolyze for 15 minutes and mix again for about 4 or 5 minutes (I end the mixing by what the dough looks like on the hook.) If you read Master Jedi Peter's books, a target temp of about 78 to 80F is where you should be. Let's take a brief stroll though my convoluted mind...

            Let me AKS a question - define tough. Seriously. If you are defining it against lil cesars/Costco/Shakey's (dating myself) you will have some challenge.

            Your stretching method is similar to mine as well, and my crust has - tooth - firm and not bready. Pull it apart and taste just the crumb (no crust) - is it tough? The tougher outer crust sometimes masks things.

            Even the Master Jedi in one of his books described his pizza dough spread in the same way (thin in the middle and thicker towards the edges.)

            As a thought - after stretching the skins, why not let them rest for a few minutes - let the gluten relax a touch.

            Hope this helps! Now, go make a few pizza's and torture yourself and report back.

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            • #7
              Re: My dough is tough.

              Are you doing an overnight refrigerated proof? You might try that. If you are doing anymore than 15 minutes of mixing in the mixer, you definitely are over mixing. It should just pull away from the sides of the bowl. Once it pulls away you should be done.

              "Opening the dough" is the term for preparing the pies. Yes it is a technique thing. You know what helped me was; having someone who knows what they are doing show me. Go to a pizza place and watch them. Maybe they will let you try and they can help you. There are very subtle things that you may be missing.
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              • #8
                Re: My dough is tough.

                I had the same problem...and I am by no means an expert.

                Here was my solution: After mixing the dough (I use a stand mixer) and letting it rise for a few hours, try kneading it (by hand) for a few minutes before forming into balls. This extra kneading step seems to loosen the bonds inside the dough. Dough will be very elastic and stretchy and easy to form.

                ...and I use plain old Pillsbury all-purpose flour....not the caputo.