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Pizza problems (Dough, Oven?)

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  • Pizza problems (Dough, Oven?)

    Hello everyone

    I've been trying to make great pizza since I've been to Brooklyn NYC and I'm failing big time. Since I have tried many things already I though I may ask for some help which would be really appreciated.

    I'm using normal bread flour since Caputo Tipo 00 is nowhere to be found in Argentina, here is the recipe I'm following:

    306 grams of flour
    200 grams of water
    2 grams of dry yeast
    4 grams of olive oil
    8 grams of salt

    I mix this ingredients until they became a uniform mix and then I let it rest for 20 mins. After resting it, I knead the mix from 10 to 20 mins. While kneading the dough it's very sticky so when I finish I pour a little (very little) flour over it to form a ball, cover it with thin foil paper and get it into the fridge for about 24 hours.
    As my wood oven is still in the building process I'm using my kitchen electric oven that gets to 500F. I've also tried with my gas kitchen oven which gets much higher temps but the results are the same but with a brownier crust.

    Attached are pictures of the procedure and end result.

    I didnt make a pizza this time, just the crust and I didnt manipulated it much before putting it in the oven.

    The taste is fairly good but the density of it is horrible (as you can see it in the puffy part of the crust)

    Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Pizza problems (Dough, Oven?)

    HMM. Hard to diagnose dough from half a word away, but set's see.
    65% Hydration is about right.

    The amount of water depends on the flour. I use as much water as I can without screwing up the ease of handling. For the plain flour I use, 60% is good. For the pizza flour I buy from the wholesalers, 65% is good.
    It appears you put the dough straight in the fridge as soon as you mix it. Maybe the yeast doesn't get activated properly. There seems to be no pictures of risen dough in your post.

    Try mixing the dough, then let it rise at room temp. Salt and oil slow down the yeast - so you have to make sure the yeast is well and truly activated before you put it in the fridge to slow it down and let the flavours develop.
    So let it ferment at room temp, and when it is at least double in size, knock it down, then put it in the fridge for 24 hours. Properly activated dough tends to try to climb out the fridge and take over the kitchen, if not the whole house. Well, that might be an exaggeration, but you get my drift, I'm sure.

    Gotta get that dough saturated with gas. Should end up with a relatively large dough ball that is full of bubbles and cavities when you cut through the raw dough with a sharp knife.
    Then you need to cook it right. Can't recommend a stone highly enough. Preheat it and when you put the pizza on it, the gas in the dough will expand and swell the crust. You've got to set that bubbled up dough to hold the bubbles in place. That is where the stone helps supply a big dose of heat to the dough. If things are hot enough, the crust will cook before the dough collapses again.
    You can get a lot more technical than this, but these are the basics, in my opinion.
    Last edited by wotavidone; 03-31-2015, 04:57 AM.


    • #3
      Re: Pizza problems (Dough, Oven?)

      Could be a number of things. Not sure about the strength of your flour, but your yeast does not appear to be doing its job. Also, salt is an inhibitor of yeast. Mix just your flour and water into a shaggy mass and let sit covered for 20 min. Try reducing your yeast to 6gm (2%) and add to your dough along with the oil. After your cold ferment (up to 3 days) allow the dough to come to room temp before building your pies.


      • #4
        Re: Pizza problems (Dough, Oven?)

        Thank you guys for your replies. I've made a few experiments based on the replies I got before that got deleted somehow. In those experiments I did what you both suggest in relation to the yeast and and dough rising. Surprinsingly the result was the same so I tried reducing the humidity of the dough to 59%. The result was still bad but better.
        Another thing to consider is that the oven I have at my home in the US seems to get much hotter and the pizza I made there was considerably better. I have to conclude then that the problem lies in the oven and the amount of heat it can provide.

        Thank you so much for your answers. I'll finish building my WFO and then come back with the results.


        • #5
          Re: Pizza problems (Dough, Oven?)

          Your tempuratere is a problem too. Don't bother with 00 unless you're baking at least 750*. Use AP.
          Old World Stone & Garden

          Current WFO build - Dry Stone Base & Gothic Vault

          When we build, let us think that we build for ever.
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          • #6
            Re: Pizza problems (Dough, Oven?)

            When things don't go quite to plan it is sometimes a good plan to revert to an original recipe and go from there.

            I started with this recipe and then tweaked it over 2 years to work for me, my climate and my oven management.

            My present recipe is the same weights with some minor substitution of flours to incorporate 50g semolina and 100g wholemeal in a 500g flour batch.

            The heat you are cooking at will have a lot to do with your outcome and things will doubtless improve once your WFO is operational.
            Last edited by Greenman; 04-01-2015, 03:39 AM. Reason: Detail
            Cheers ......... Steve

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            • #7
              Re: Pizza problems (Dough, Oven?)

              is it possible that your yeast isn't active type?
              some dry yeast you have to activate it first, half glass of ~26C water, spoon of flour, stir it well till all is dissolved then cover it till it froths up and bubbles and grows up a bit
              also make sure your yeast is not past use by date and that it was stored correctly


              • #8
                Re: Pizza problems (Dough, Oven?)

                other thing is the temperature and like others said, don't expect quality pizza at ~500F
                i give you example of this weekend, saturday pizza party, perfect pizzas
                then on sunday i reheated oven but i got sidetracked so by the time i got ready to cook pizza it was around low 500F on the floor, same recipe, same sauce (left over from night before) same toppings, if i gave you to try slice to try from both days you wouldn't believe me that they were done same way and only difference was the temperature.


                • #9
                  Re: Pizza problems (Dough, Oven?)

                  I suspect the problem is with the proofing, not the recipe.

                  Bulk proof in the fridge - not balls. Then take it out and ball/form it and let it proof at room temp for about 2-2 1/2 hours.

                  As for cooking in the oven - here's a trick I have found works well. Put your stone on the 2nd level. Turn on the broiler and let the oven heat for about 30 minutes. It will get up to 650F or so. When you go to cook the pizza, turn the broiler off and keep oven at highest setting. Pizza should cook in about 5 minutes. Sometimes I will turn the broiler back on for the last minute or so to blister the top of the pizza. I can get product that looks as good as what comes out of my WFO using this method. Just not as fast!
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