Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Pizza crust blah


Foam Pants
 Share

Recommended Posts

I really enjoy baking pizza at home but the crust I make is completely white bread blah. I am using the basic french bread recipe from Julia Child's Way to Cook with some olive oil mixed in. One rise, punch it down, let it rest, roll it out, brush it with more oil, top it, bake it in a relatively hot oven.

It comes out like I have slapped some sauce and cheese on a slice of Wonder. I think it is crazy to go to the work of making dough to have it turn out so boring. I am no baker so I have tried improving what I am putting on the pizza but I know that I am at a dead end until my dough improves. Is there anything I should be doing to the recipe I already have to improve it or do I need to abandon it in favor of another?

I am open to anything. I adore pizza and want to make a worthy pie at home.

Edited by Foam Pants (log)

9 out of 10 dentists recommend wild Alaska salmon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What type of flour are you using?

Are you using fresh yeast?

Also, don't roll it out. I did that alot when I first started baking pizza. Unless you have a really, REALLY wet dough, though, it compresses it to an unacceptable consistancy. Learn to stretch it into an ugly oval, then progress to something closely resembling a circle. You'll get better at it. I did.

Edit: If it is truly comparable to bread, stretch (or if you must, roll) it thinner and use an HOT HOT HOT oven.

Edited by Lyle (log)

Rice pie is nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 Cups high-gluten flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup cool water

1 package yeast (Red Star preferred)

1/4 cup warm water

Dissolve yeast in the warm water and proof (10 minutes).

Sift flour and salt into large bowl.

Stir honey into cool water in a small bowl.

Pour honey-water mixture and olive oil into flour and work dough.

Add proofed yeast-water.

Work dough until combined (add flour if too sticky).

Remove dough from bowl and place on floured surface. Kneed until smooth.

Put dough in a well-oiled metal bowl and allow to rest (covered) for about 1/2 hour.

Divide dough into two parts. Roll each into a firm ball. Put the balls on a oiled sheet pan and cover with a damp towel. Refrigerate.

About an hour before cooking, remove dough from refrigerator and let come to room temp (still covered).

Stretch (on a lightly floured surface) the dough into the traditional pizza round (avoid using a rolling pin if possible). Crimp/roll the edges.

Lightly oil the surface of the dough, spoon a small amount of sauce (tomato or bianca) on the top and spread, add a topping if you want (be sparing) and a small amount of mozz and bake at 500 degrees.

fanatic...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am using Gold Medal Bread flour which is relatively high in gluten. I could try adding some gluten to the mix. I think you might be on to something, my dough never seems to work itself up to that really stretchy, rip-resistant stage I am wanting even if I knead the stuff to death.

I am using fresh yeast, maybe a little too active. My house recently switched to a quick rise yeast (boyfriend's idea) and we keep it in the freezer. It is a fairly fresh bottle of granular quick rise yeast, Red Star brand.

Edited by Foam Pants (log)

9 out of 10 dentists recommend wild Alaska salmon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well if you're shooting for something more crispy, less bready, you may not want to have that fully elastic "rip-reistant" consistancy. For a crispier crust, I've had more success with a wet dough, overloaded with yeast, that is a pain in the a** to deal with but has a thin cracker like consistency when baked in a hot oven. If it's the lack of 'fresh' taste, I've noticed that almost every cookbook recipe for pizza dough grossly underestimates the amount of salt necessary to bring out the taste of the crust over more agressive toppings. Try kicking that up a notch (sorry). Also, if it's thin crust you're after, try adding a small amount of whole wheat flour to the mix, maybe, at most, one part in ten.

What exactly are you shooting for? Thin crust or a more doughy neopolitan style?

What's your flour/water ratio?

Rice pie is nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I guess I am trying for something at either extreme. Either a nice crispy pizza that isn't too dry OR a nice thick and chewy one. I think that the thick pizza appeals to me more. I am mostly thinking about taste. I want a wonderful, heady shot of really great bread taste, the kind you get when you have great focaccia or ciabatta ( pardon my spelling). I have thought about finding a good recipe for one of those but, after a few tries, I can't even get focaccia to turn out much better than Wal-Mart bakery quality. I refuse to throw in the towel. I will master good bread starting with pizza crust!

I am going home to look up my recipe. Right now I am cheating my employer out of the time they pay me for. I would feel guilty if I wasn't so obsessed with eating.

9 out of 10 dentists recommend wild Alaska salmon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pizza crust should only rise once. Otherwise, the grain is too fine and it comes out too bready. I would try Malachi's recipe, minus the honey. Plus you don't have to proof the yeast, so sub 1 cup warm (100 F)water for the water in his/her recipe. You might wish to try cutting down the yeast and giving it an extra long rise in the fridge. Half a package should make that recipe rise. You'll get a purer flavor that way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some suggestions:

1. Lose the olive oil.

2. For thick, crispy pizza, try whacking the hell out of freshly made dough. A rolling pin works fine for this.

3. For crispy, thin crust pizza, try keeping it in the fridge for a couple of days before using it.

4. Don't know what flour you are using, but try to find the really hard, high protein stuff usually labelled "baker's flour."

5. If you aren't using a stone, do.

6. Eventually you'll get it the way you want it.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3. For crispy, thin crust pizza, try keeping it in the fridge for a couple of days before using it.

I've tried this and I do get a proper texture, although I can get the same by making a wetter dough in shorter time. Fresco, don't you taste a bit of bitterness with the dough left to age in the fridge? I always have.

Rice pie is nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would try Malachi's recipe, minus the honey.

I thought the yeast needs the sugar to feed upon?

I *love* Jacques Torres' pizza dough recipe from Dessert Circus at Home and use fresh compressed yeast.

Foam Pants: The amount of water needed for your dough will depend upon your humidity -- being in the Southeast year round rain season..... :rolleyes: (you are just over the mountains 20 minute hop from my hometown, right?)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Fresco, don't you taste a bit of bitterness with the dough left to age in the fridge? I always have. "

I wouldn't keep it for more than, say, two days. But yes, you can get a bit of a sourdough effect. Don't mind it myself. It is important to keep the dough in a sealed container so that it doesn't pick up flavors from anything else in the fridge.

Edited by fresco (log)
Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For a thicker chewy crust, try using King Arthur Bread Flour (or anyone's bread flour). I also agree with the comment to kick up the salt. I usually follow the recipes and find the crust grossly undersalted and bland tasting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For flavor, let the dough ferment in the refrigerator at least overnight and up to three days. The fermentation period also allows a chemical reaction to happen that makes the dough bake up into a more crackly, crispy, blistery crust.

The other things I do are (1) use bread flour; (2) use a high ratio of water to flour for a wet, soft dough; (3) stretch out into a circle over the knuckles of my hands, then press out further on a cornmeal-dusted wooden peel with floured fingers; (4) preheat a pizza stone in the center of the oven to a temperature of 550 (the highest my oven reaches) for a period of 20 minutes, since the stone takes longer to heat up than does the air in the oven; and (4) slide the pizza off the peel onto a pizza stone and bake for 5 to 7 minutes until the bottom of the crust is well-browned and crisp -- lift the edge with a spatula to check.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to try Malachi's recipe. I've been using one I got off of the KAF site. As far as technique at home goes, I use the food processor with the dough blade. I put all the dry ingredients in the work bowl and pulse a few times to combine. All the wet ingredients are combined together and then poured slowly into the processor with the motor running. It works great.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My pizza method (from an old Usenet post):

I've spent a fair amount of time in Italy and have developed the

following recipe for pizza dough after watching, eating and learning

from Italian cooks.  Please note that my recipe is for the true

super-thin-crust, almost-burnt-on-the-bottom pizza one finds in

Rome.  This is fairly different from American pizza.

General suggestions:

1. Use very little yeast and give it a *long* fermentation

24 hours or more is best.

2. Use a pizza stone and turn your oven up as hot as it goes.

Traditional wood- or charcoal-fired pizza ovens get way hotter

than a home oven, so you don't have to worry about the

temperature being too high.  If it is a gas oven, put the stone

on the floor of the oven.  Get the thickest stone you can find.

3. Pre-heat the oven for at least an hour.

4. Roll/stretch out the pizza dough as thin as possible and go

*very* easy on the toppings.  True Italian pizza has way less

toppings than an American pizza.  This means that the cheese

will not have a thick layer over the whole pizza, just a few

pieces here and there.  Only the sauce will be present

everywhere in a *very* thin layer (spread it out with your

hands like fingerpainting).  Alternately, you may put thin

slices (not shreds) of cheese on the dough and drizzle sauce

and olive oil on top of the cheese.

5. Don't let the crust rise after you roll it out.

6. It is sometimes a good idea to "pre-bake" the crust for three

minutes or so with no toppings at all -- just a little brushing

of olive oil.  Then take it out of the oven, top it and put it

back into the oven until it is done.  This ensures that the pizza

won't stick to yor peel as you try to slide it onto the stone

(wet pizza doughs are the best, but they do tend to stick if they

sit on the peel for more than a minute or two), and it also makes

sure that you get a nice crisp crust without burning the cheese

topping.  Only do this for thicker pizze that will have a more

American amount of toppings.  Thin, Italian-style pizze will

cook too quickly for this technique to be of any value.

7. A low-gluten flour will give an authentic crust that is more

tender and pliable.  Use around 25% cake or pastry flour and

75% all purpose flour to mimic Italian "OO" flour.  If you can

get your hands on some genuine "OO" -- all the better.

A very thin crusted pizza dough with sparse toppings baked on a stone

at very high temperature will give you an authentic Italian pizza in

less than ten minutes.  The crust will be crisp, thin and bubbly.

One of the great things about this kind of pizza is that, due to the

thinness and the small amount of toppings, it is not very filling.

This way, one can have several pizzas with different toppings at one

meal without getting filled up.  My recipe follows below.

2 Cups water

4 Cups all purpose flour

1.5 Cups pastry or cake flour

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tsp salt

0.5 Tsp active yeast (proofed in the water)

Combine all ingredients in a mixer and knead for ~10

minutes.  Place in a large bowl, cover the bowl with

plastic wrap and allow to ferment as long as possible

(12 - 24 hours).  Punch down the dough from time

to time when you get the chance.

Preheat the oven to the highest temperature.  Take a fist sized

hunk of dough and shape it on your peel or baking sheet.

Stretch/roll the dough as thin as possible (roll, flour, flip

and repeat until desired thickness is attained), and end up

with a shape that is around 90% as long as your baking stone.

Make sure that the cookie sheet or peel is well-floured so that

the pizza dough does not stick.  Top the pizza quickly and slide

the first bit of the pizza onto the back corner of the baking

stone.  As you slowly withdraw the peel or baking sheet the

pizza dough will stretch to cover the whole baking stone, making

the pizza even thinner.

Bake until done -- around 5 minutes for a super-thin pizza.

Don't be afraid to roll the dough until it is almost paper-

thin... this is exactly what you're going for.

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Use the sourdough in the sourdough bread recipe. Stretch out very thin

Bake very hot.

Interesting... I have never particularly liked sourdough pizza. I feel that the sour flavor doesn't really go well with the other toppings.

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I, myself have had wonderful results with Wolfgang Puck's recipe on the Foodtv.com website. Stretched out super thin, it gets REALLY crispy, and when it's a bit thicker it has a good chew.

1 package active dry or fresh yeast

1 teaspoon honey

1 cup warm water, 105 to 115 degrees

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing

Toppings of your choice

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4-cup warm water.

In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt. Add the oil, the yeast mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and mix on low speed until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes. (The pizza dough can also be made in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse once or twice, add the remaining ingredients, and process until the dough begins to form a ball.)

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer. The dough should be smooth and firm. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled).

Divide the dough into 4 balls, about 6 ounces each. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times. Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

To prepare each pizza, dip the ball of dough into flour, shake off the excess flour, place the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface, and start to stretch the dough. Press down on the center, spreading the dough into an 8-inch circle, with the outer border a little thicker than the inner circle. If you find this difficult to do, use a small rolling pin to roll out the dough.

I also have another recipe for a super thick and chewy "Pizza Hut" style dough (I know, I know, it's NOT gourmet :raz: ), I'll post it if you'd like. It's really quite good if you like that kinda thing.

-Elizabeth

Mmmmmmm chocolate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm curious--how often do people manage to make pizza? I bake bread pretty well every day, but probably average much less than once a week for pizza.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

there's no need for oil in the dough. just make sure it is fairly sticky from plenty of water (baker's percentage c. = 75, or more), is made with very little yeast and rises for at least 8 hours. don't rework it, just pour from bowl onto flour dusted counter top. don't roll; press or stretch (dust flour on top, too). don't prebake. top sparsely.

tipo 00 gives you a rather soft crust, however hot you bake it. mix in, say, 15% of durum semolina for a more ciabattaesque crust.

baking stone/tiles. hottest attainable oven.

i bake pizza once a week. 9 out of 10 times, it's probably the best in town, and certainly the best i've had any place. but then, i've never been to napoli...

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

there's no need for oil in the dough.

This one has always baffled me. Every pizza dough recipe I've ever seen calls for olive oil, but my experience is that if anything, it adversely affects the texture. Is this one of those things that just gets thoughtlessly copied or does someone have a compelling reason for adding oil?

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

there's no need for oil in the dough.

This one has always baffled me. Every pizza dough recipe I've ever seen calls for olive oil, but my experience is that if anything, it adversely affects the texture. Is this one of those things that just gets thoughtlessly copied or does someone have a compelling reason for adding oil?

I've seen a few recipes purporting to be authentically Neapolitan, and they do not call for any oil in the dough. I believe the recipe that America's Test Kitchen settled on after much experimentation (for thin-crust pizza) also uses no oil.

I have tried both oil and no-oil in the dough and prefer no-oil: the crust is definitely crisper, cracklier without oil. The only time olive oil touches my dough is when I brush it on top before adding toppings; I feel it contributes to a good crisp exterior.

I bake pizza about once a week, by popular demand. The kids wouldn't have it any other way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have tried both oil and no-oil in the dough and prefer no-oil: the crust is definitely crisper, cracklier without oil.

My experience exactly. Thanks.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

there's no need for oil in the dough. just make sure it is fairly sticky from plenty of water (baker's percentage c. = 75, or more), is made with very little yeast and rises for at least 8 hours. don't rework it, just pour from bowl onto flour dusted counter top. don't roll; press or stretch (dust flour on top, too). don't prebake. top sparsely.

tipo 00 gives you a rather soft crust, however hot you bake it. mix in, say, 15% of durum semolina for a more ciabattaesque crust.

baking stone/tiles. hottest attainable oven.

i bake pizza once a week. 9 out of 10 times, it's probably the best in town, and certainly the best i've had any place. but then, i've never been to napoli...

My friends who run a trattoria/pizzeria in Italy sure must be doing a lot of things wrong, then...

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have tried both oil and no-oil in the dough and prefer no-oil: the crust is definitely crisper, cracklier without oil.

My experience exactly. Thanks.

Yea... my recipe calls for a minimal amount of olive oil. One thing fat does, besides tenderizing the dough, is "grease" between the strands of gluten and inhibit cross-linking between strands to a certain degree.

From Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking:

The gluten proteins are thought to form large, thin sheets that are separated both by water and by very thin (two molecules thin) layers of lipid material.  This layering allows slippage on a large scale and, together with thiol interchanges, would make an important contribution to the phenomenon of plasticity in dough.

It has been my experience that a small amount of oil does help to make a dough more extensible and easier to stretch/roll thin (this is over and above the effects of using high hydration, long fermentation and low gluten flour). I have never had any problems with the dough being too soft, but this may have very much to do with differences in the temperature of our ovens and the massiveness (i.e., heat-accumulating property) of our baking stones. I tend to preheat for around an hour on broil, and I have a huge soapstone (at least 100 lbs) on the floor of my gas oven. By that time, the stone is considerably warmer than 550F and is holding a ton of heat.

My experience in Italy, BTW, is that pizza Napulitana is not necessarily all that thin or crisp. Roman-style pizza is often paper-thin and crispy, but I have often found the pizza in Napoli to be crisp on the bottom, but more puffy and soft in the middle, and in general thicker. Of the various formulations I was able to get from Neapolitan friends or by striking up conversations with pizzaioli there, many included a fair amount of olive oil. YMMV, of course, and desirable results may not be possible using a lot of oil in a home oven on a regular pizza stone.

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...