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The Dough

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  • The Dough

    I have to still do my pizza in the kitchen oven while I wait for my backyard upgrade. About dough.... Recipes seem quite simple. Flour, Salt, Oil, Yeasted water. But the same recipe has yeilded different results from various handeling practices. When I first started doing pizza I would mix the dough, Let it rise once, smash it down and weigh and shape the dough. On the second rise I would form a shell with great difficulty because it had the elasticity of an innertube. Not to mention the crust tasted like corrugated cardboard. I soon learned that just making dough, weighing it, and tossing it in the refridgerator the day before made a great tasting, relaxed dough for making pizza. I cook on a stone at 550 degrees and the pizza is awesome. But I have difficulty handforming the shells. With every batch I give one an unsucsessfull try before rolling them out with a pin. Why am I having trouble in the handforming department? Am I not kneading the dough enough when I make it? Ideas... Comments?

  • #2
    The Dough

    Howie-Go on the web site. They have an incredable amount of information about N.Y. Pizza, Deep Dish and any other type you might want. I've made N.Y. pizza following the Tom Lehmann recipe, and it is the best pizza Iv'e had since I left N.Y. in 1965. I also use a stone and cook at 550- the pizza takes about 7-8 minutes. I just started to build the base for a Forno Bravo Oven and am looking forward to cooking at high heat. On the web site, just ask a question as to the type of pizza you are trying to duplicate and they will respond. Hope this helps---Mel


    • #3
      Ideas on pizza dough

      Hi Howie,

      I can think of a couple of things to try -- don't know how many of these you are already doing. :-)

      1. How moist is your dough? I think it should be almost tacky to the touch and very moist and stretchy inside. Try to keep working more water into your dough to get it right up to where it's so sticky you can't work with it. A dry dough is hard to work wtih.

      2. What about your flour? All bread flour might be a little heavy with high glutine. Heavy to work with and heavy to eat. I think all pastry flour is too delicate. Try 3/4 stone ground bread flour and 1/4 pastry flour. King Arthur is nice.

      3. Or, try Italian pizza flour. More to come on that.

      4. Make your dough first thing in the morning.Give is a 90 minute bulk fermentation, then shape your pizza balls. Keep them cool and moist all day in a proofing box and under a damp towel. The time lets the dough relax and become more stretchy. It's hard to throw a pizza right after you shape the ball -- it needs to rest.

      5. Try not to use a rolling pin. It gives you a thin crust, but a tough dough and crust. I don't think dough likes being handled roughly and it lets you know it.

      6. Flip your pizza ball over before you start to shape it. The side that has been on the surface is nice and fresh, and doesn't have a skin.

      Things to try!

      Pizza Ovens
      Outdoor Fireplaces


      • #4
        The Dough

        This is great information. I stumbled on the Pizzamaking website last night. Sure has it's share of "Pizza Heads" there. I have been using King Arthur all purpose flour. The crust tastes good and It's thin with nice bubbles. I'll do a bit of experimenting with the flours. The goal I would like to achive is to be able to handform a 14" thin crust pizza by hand. The local ethnic pizza emporiums do it all the time right in front of you and they're almost perfectly round. These poeple arn't majicians...I know it "can be had".. I'm going to do a 3 pizza batch right now and step up the moisture content and see if that helps. Another comment/question I have is I have been able to form a 14 inch pie with about 13.5 oz of dough. Formed with a pin (that I'm trying to loose) it's almost too big for the stone. Any thoughts on the weight of the dough? With the new oven I'll have the privelage of making a larger pie. I can remember as a child when the "Boulavard" was still functional you could get a slice that was so big it looked like if you tied a string on it you could fly it like a kite. I'm driven to reproduce the pizza of childhood memory. I'm certain that I'll be looking into smaller more "artisain" type pies like a Gorgonzolla/Radichio masterpieces as well. I've got six weeks till I get my oven and I'm looking at my watch. I guess I'm hooked!


        • #5
          The dough

          Howie- A rough formula for the weight of the dough ball is: pi[3.14]x radius squared x .1--- 3.14 times 49 times .1 = 15.38 ounce ball. This would be for a N.Y crust. Dough has to be refrigerated over night and taken out 2 hours before you use it.
          12.65 oz King Arthur Sir Lancelot high gluten flour
          7.95 oz Water
          0.2 oz kosher salt
          3/4 teaspoon olive oil
          .03 oz instant dry yeast
          I uaually doudle this recipe and end up with 2 fourteen inch pizza's and 1 ten inch pizza. Go to the pizzammaking web-site on how to knead the dough.


          • #6
            The dough

            Don't use a rolling pin----Mel


            • #7
              I haven't had any trouble with a rolling pin as long as I didn't use 100% bread dough in the recipe. I've used half bread flour and half all-purpose, rolled it thin, and cooked it in a very hot cob oven with a firebrick floor. It came out crispy, tasty -- perfect.

              I don't have much experience with this, but I suspect the heat of the oven was important. I had the coals directly on the spot where I was going to cook the pizza, and swept them out of the way about two minutes before sliding the pizza in place. It cooked all the way throught in under three minutes. I had to wear a big leather glove to turn the pizza with my short paddle, or it would have singed my hand.

              Note that the brick floor sat directly on a layer of sand on the ground, which is a heat sink, so my floor cooled off faster that it will in my new oven built on an insulated hearth. Depending on your construction, you'll have to adjust your cooking methods.

              Still, if dough is the issue, the point is that it can be done with a rolling pin, given the right handling and cooking technique.


              • #8
                I too agree that good results can be had with a rolling pin. The pizza I have been turning out with a pin exceeds the quality of many shops in the area. Wich I think is not really hard to do. I just want to be able to hand form pizza like everyone else and I'm bent on developing the skill. My last attempt seemed not much different than before.. even with the increased hydration. But after 48 hours in the fridge the dough "gave way". This was my first experience where you could feel the dough streaching as it began "falling away" from the held edge. I was able to create my first 16" hand formed thin crust pizza with 12 ounces of dough. I'm beginning to think that the King Arthur "Special" flour and others will begin to "loosen" a bit earlier than the "all pourpose" flour I'm using. I can feel success just around the corner!