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Pizza dough issues, need help

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  • Pizza dough issues, need help

    Need some dough help for a Neapolitan style pizza dough. I am making 65% hydration dough based on Roberta's pizza recipe found on NYTimes. Everything goes well until a day or two of proofing in the fridge, i.e. the final proofed dough. I mix the ingredients, knead the dough, shape it into a ball and put into a container where it rises at room temperature to almost double in size after a couple of hours. I punch it down, extract it from the container and make two equal sized balls. The dough is smooth and easy to work with, not terribly sticky, everything's good. Once the balls go into a container in the fridge, after a day or two they just sort of collapse into a round shape about a inch thick with lots of bubbles in it. The dough is incredibly tacky, difficult to extract from the container and just has no life to it, feels like it has no elasticity to is, i.e. if I lift it it would just immediately stretch thin. Scratching my head as to why this is happening, any ideas?

  • #2
    Since no-one else has answered you, I'm going to go out on a limb and attempt to diagnose your dough from half a world away.

    Your dough could be over-proofed.
    Several things can happen, I believe.
    1) if you leave it long enough the yeast can make so much gas that the air pockets are stretched beyond what the gluten can handle and the pockets rupture, leading to the dough collapsing.
    You can probably re-knead the dough to salvage it.

    2) if you leave it long enough, the yeast consumes all the available starches and starts consuming the gluten, weakening the dough. Since pizza doughs are not usually kneaded to full gluten development, you can possibly re-knead this dough to combine more proteins and make more gluten.

    3) The recipe I found had oil in it. Neapolitan dough has no added fats. I believe the oil content makes things internally slippery. Great for stretching the dough easily, but can lead to the gluten matrix sliding apart. Oil may interfere with the dough's ability to absorb water?

    Also 65% is high hydration for Neapolitan dough in my humble opinion, especially with a dose of oil as well. It's OK for the experts, but us amateurs will always find lower hydrations easier to handle.

    To be honest, I think people have a few misconceptions about Neapolitan style pizza.
    Many people think you have to very high protein dough. This is wrong in my opinion - I reckon too high and you'll be struggling to stretch it.
    The gold standard Caputo Flour is fairly high strength, but if you watch the Italian pizza masters on Youtube they caution against overworking the dough. i.e. don't make the dough too tough by developing all the gluten.
    They all say "NO FATS"
    They all say not too wet the flour will tell you when it has enough water.
    About the longest ferment time they will speak of is 24 hours.
    They call leoparding "measles pizza" and say it is from failing to let the dough reach room temperature before cooking it.

    My pizzas improved after watching this guy:

    I recently did a favour for a friend, cooking the pizzas for his daughter's birthday party:

    I made 4 batches of dough to the following recipe.

    8 pm Friday:

    600g cold water (temperature from the tap was 18C, it's winter here)
    4 teaspoons salt (about 25g)
    1 kg plain white flour (generic aussie flour about 11% protein at 15% water content)
    1 teaspoon of instant dry yeast.

    put water in spiral mixer.
    set going at low speed on both spirals and bowl.
    add salt and dissolve
    sprinkle in some flour to make a "batter"
    sprinkle in the dry yeast and start sprinkling in the rest of the flour until all added.

    Mix until all combined, then increase speed on the beaters to medium.
    Keep mixing until the friction has increased the temperature of the dough to 24C. This takes about 12-15 minutes in my wife's mixer. By then the dough is as kneaded as it has to be.

    Turn out into food grade plastic bucket.
    Did this 4 times in total - took just over 1 hour.
    Ended up with a bit over 6 kg of dough in the 15 L bucket.
    Snapped the lid on, carefully wiped down the bench, and went to bed.

    2 am Saturday:
    Rise for visit to bathroom.
    Wash hands thoroughly after toilet - dough has blown the lid off and is climbing out of bucket onto kitchen bench and needs to be punched down and put back in the bucket.
    Good thing the bench (and the outside of the bucket) was cleaned properly before I left the kitchen.

    2pm Saturday:
    Dough has nearly filled the bucket again.
    Divide into balls - enough for nearly 2 doz 280g balls. Use minimal bench flour.
    Spray plastic proofing box (long shallow tray with snap on lid) with just a touch of canola oil.
    Put balls in box and seal. Balls feel just the right moisture.

    6pm Saturday:
    Balls have blown up again so they are almost touching. Have flattened out and now feel wetter.
    Lightly dusted balls stretch out nicely on my mates marble bench.

    6:15 Saturday:
    Oven is at 430C on floor. Assembled throng wants to see a 90 second margherita. This is not the time to protest that I haven't used the right flour - just stretch it, top it, sling it and pray.
    Some one runs the stopwatch on their smart phone, calls 30, 60 and 90 seconds.
    Comes out so good at 90 seconds the crowd calls for more.

    9pm Saturday:
    All have had their fill of pizzas ranging from margheritas to fully loaded "Fat Aussies" and one full-on vegan special.
    All proceed to get uproariously drunk. After all, it is Australia

    Last edited by wotavidone; 07-21-2018, 06:13 PM.


    • #3
      It ended up being the yeast I was using. A quick rise pizza yeast that ended up relaxing the dough a bit too much. Tried regular dry active yeast the other day and didnít have an issue. Thank you for the great post though!


      • #4
        No worries. So probably the quick rise yeast took off fast, ate everything it could then started in on the structural elements of the dough, i.e. the gluten.