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Pizza Dough: Tips, Troubleshooting, Storage


markf424
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The pizza dough recipe derived from pain a l'ancienne in RecipeGullet is actually quite nice. The dough is of course best if you retard the dough overnight in the fridge, but it's quite tasty even if you don't have time for that. If you would like thin crust pizzas, it does require some technical practice to get nicely stretched pizzas. For a Chicago deep dish style pizza, I find approximately one batch of dough makes a fine deep dish crust in a 9*13 baking dish.

I also find it makes very good cibiatta style bread.

The Pizza Cook-off is a great thread to check out.

Emily

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Check out the website www.pizzamaking.com

There's an almost overwhelming abundance of information on everything to do with pizza.

I'ts also a very friendly forum, much like egullet.

Steve

"Tell your friends all around the world, ain't no companion like a blue - eyed merle" Robert Plant

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After years of searching, I have settled on this one from the July/August 1995 Saveur, modified with some of my notes. I've given this to many, many people who have also successfully used it, so it appears to be fairly adaptable to climate, oven variations, etc.

Saveur Pizza Crust Recipe

1 7-gram packet active yeast

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups cake flour

1 tsp salt

extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup corn meal (to prevent crust from sticking to baker’s peel)

~1 cup water

To prepare the crust:

Dissolve yeast in ¼ cup lukewarm water in a bowl. Set aside until yeast begins to activate and foams a little (10 minutes).

Combine flours and salt in a small bowl and sift together.

Add 1 cup flour to yeast and mix well with wooden spoon or hands.

Mix in 1/2 cup water and then add another cup of flour and continue to mix

Add remaining cup flour, then gradually add in 1/4 cup water & mix well. The dough should be fairly soft and not too wet.

Turn out dough on a lightly floured workspace and knead until it has a smooth, uniform texture - about 10 minutes.

(Note: I do all of the above in a stand mixer; first with the mixing paddle then, after it comes together, I switch to the dough hook and let it do the kneading.)

Divide into two even balls.

Coat the inside of two bowls with a little bit of olive oil and then place dough in bowls. Cover with warm, damp towels.

Let rise for 2 1/2 - 3 hours until doubled in size.

To assemble and bake the pizza:

Place baking stone in oven and preheat to 500 degrees.

Punch down dough and flatten, either with a rolling pin or by hand. Sprinkle a little cornmeal on a baker’s peel or other flat surface. Apply sauce and toppings somewhat sparingly – if you overdo it with toppings the delicate, crunchy crust will be soggy. I like to spread sauce to the edge, then fold a half-inch or so to create an edge.

Slide onto a baking stone to cook and cook for 8-12 minutes.

Remove to a cooling rack for a few minutes before slicing.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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After a lot of experimenting and a few years of waitressing an Italian restaurant and hanging out with the pizza cooks I finally developed a pretty fool proof method and recipe. It is as much the method as the recipe when it comes to pizza dough.

A few things that you need to keep in mind regardless of the recipe are:

- don't overwork the dough

- don't knead the balls of dough after they have been portioned, shaped, and rested

- always work with room temperature dough

- try to work with relatively soft (high water content) dough

- bake at the highest possible temperature (within reason of course)

- bake on a low shelf

- use a pizza stone if possible

- never put the pizza in the oven right after taking a pizza out, give it a few minutes to reheat

- for less than perfect ovens use a pizza screen (it works on the rack or a stone), this is a recent discovery for me and I have never had better results. Standard pizza pans only work if you have a really hot oven and gas not electric because electric ovens are too damp.

- adjust for climate, damp climates might need less liquid, dry climates might need more, although I think you would have to move to the Sahara Desert to get any dryer than Winnipeg in the Winter.

I have had a lot of success with the following recipe adapted from the KitchenAid stand mixer cookbook/manual:

5 cups flour

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons sugar (or honey)

1/4 cup olive oil (or canola)

2 1/4 cups water for crispy crust (or 1 c. milk 1 c. water for less crunchy more tender crust)

2 scant tablespoons active dry yeast (not the instant kind)

In a stand mixer:

Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the warm water (~ 115ºF). Add the remaining water, salt, olive oil, and most of the flour (you can set aside a 1/2 cup portion if you live in a dry climate and knead it in later if needed). Turn to speed 2 (kitchen aid) and mix until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl (2 to 3 minutes).

In a processor (using the metal blade):

Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the warm water (~ 115ºF) in a 4 cup bowl.

In the processor Add the flour and salt and give it a whiz to combine.

Add the remaining water, oil, and sugar to the yeast mixture.

Pour the yeast mixture into the flour with the machine running, and pulse a few times until the dough froms a ball or rough mass depending on the brand of machine.

For both methods:

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured counter and knead lightly for a minute or two.

Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise 1 hour, punch down split the dough into 5 portions (for medium thin crust pizzas) turn each portion into a nice round ball and cover and let rise a minimum of 20 minutes, or pop into the fridge overnight.

Bring the dough to room temperature if it has been refrigerated. Do not knead the dough. Take out the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Once you have a nice circle you can relax the dough and make it expand bythrowing/tossing it or stretching it by hand now and again, and then give it a final turn with the rolling pin for nice shape.

Have an oven heated to the highest temperature (500º or higher) for an absolute minimum of 20 minutes and the shelf set on the lowest rack. If using a pizza stone preheat for an absolute minimum of 30 minutes, preferably longer and on the lowest rack as well.

If you have a pizza screen simply lay the dough on it and dress it as you please.

If you don't have a mesh pan and own a pizza stone the easiest way to make a crisp crust is to actually pull the (hot) pizza stone from the heated oven, carefully lay the dough across the hot stone, quickly build your pizza directly on the stone and pop it in the oven. For the next pizza you need to give the stone a few minutes to heat up again post pizza baking (5 to 10 minutes). Obviously you want to make sure that you lay the pizza stone on a heat proof surface while building your pizza, be very careful when handling the hot stone.

As I mentioned above, you can buy these cheap (5$ or less) mesh pizza pans/screens that look sort of like they are made out of thick chicken wire if that make any sense, and in a less than perfect oven like my old electric kenmore with a maximum of 500ºF you can actually get a lovely crusty bottom of you bake them at the highest temp on a low shelf or a pizza stone set on a low shelf. They are a good cheat when you don't have a high end oven.

Good luck, and trust me with the method it will work.

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I use this super-simple recipe Fine Cooking's pizza dough, doing the overnight version. The overnight retard is the key to a flavorful crust, and the hot oven and stone will get you the right texture. I've never done the freezer version, but I keep meaning to try that.

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As many have already said, overnight in the fridge and your stone or oven as hot as you can make it are the keys to making pizza. Also, easy on the toppings, a little is all you need.

Any of the recipes above will work fine. Although the one with the cake flour sort of baffles me. I like Peter Rinehart's in American Pie. He has diferent recipes for different kinds of pies.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've made many different pizza dough recipes. One day recipes, two day recipes, even three day recipes, with various starters and retarding in the fridge, etc. And actually, the best recipe I've found is the one listed in the Gourmet cookbook (the big yellow one). It claims to be a variation of the dough used at Pizza Bianco in Phoenix, and it's really simple and good. Very chewy and flavorful, and it's ready to use in just a couple of hours. I don't have the book handy, but I recommend it highly. It's the only recipe I use now.

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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The pizza dough recipe in the latest Cook's Illustrated works reliably, has a great texture (crisp outside, soft inside), is ready to bake in no time, and is easy to form. It uses a combination of AP and cake flour, and does not include any fat.

gallery_23736_355_32774.jpg

I've also used their older recipe, which calls for bread flour and includes olive oil, and it works great as well, but is harder to get thin because of the higher gluten content.

gallery_23736_355_1838.jpg

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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  • 8 months later...

I'd like to whip up some pizza dough today (Friday) but I won't be able to bake it until Sunday. Any advice for how to keep it in the fridge until then? I think the recipe I use calls for one proofing, so should I pop it in the fridge after proofing or before? Do I need to let it proof again when I take it out to roll and bake?

Thanks.

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I always keep my dough in the fridge at least overnight before letting it proof. You get better flavour this way.

I find it easier to divide my dough before placing it in the fridge. I use one plastic box for each ball of dough.

Don't forget to take your dough out of the fridge well in advance as cold dough won't rise.

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My dough recipe makes enough for 3 pizzas. I let it rise at room temp for a couple hours, then punch it down and divide it. Then it goes in the fridge overnight. However, I like to let it sit even longer if possible. I think I've held it in the fridge for 3 or 4 days, and it seems to get better with the extra time.

So, I wouldn't worry. I coat each dough ball with a few drops of olive oil and cover whatever is holding them with plastic wrap.

__Jason

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My dough recipe makes enough for 3 pizzas. I let it rise at room temp for a couple hours, then punch it down and divide it. Then it goes in the fridge overnight. However, I like to let it sit even longer if possible. I think I've held it in the fridge for 3 or 4 days, and it seems to get better with the extra time.

So, I wouldn't worry. I coat each dough ball with a few drops of olive oil and cover whatever is holding them with plastic wrap.

__Jason

Could you freeze it at that point (after punching down and dividing) if you don't plan to use it within a few days?

And, just curious, what does rising for that long do for it? My recipe calls for a one-hour rise.

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Yes, you can freeze dough right after dividing it. You then take out dough as needed, let it come up to room temp and let it rise as you would normally.

Pizza dough tastes nuttier and wheatier if you do a cold fermentation overnight or over a couple of days. I wouldn't proof it fully then put it into the fridge, though, because it might overproof.

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I'd like to whip up some pizza dough today (Friday) but I won't be able to bake it until Sunday. Any advice for how to keep it in the fridge until then? I think the recipe I use calls for one proofing, so should I pop it in the fridge after proofing or before? Do I need to let it proof again when I take it out to roll and bake?

Thanks.

A 2-day fermentation is just perfect. Let it rise for two hours, punch down to re-distribute the yeast, and place in veggie drawer in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap.

Remove Sunday a few hours before baking, form into balls, one for each pie, and let proof prior to stretching.

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Pizza dough tastes nuttier and wheatier if you do a cold fermentation overnight or over a couple of days.  I wouldn't proof it fully then put it into the fridge, though, because it might overproof.

I don't even give a first rise to my dough before puting it in the fridge. If you leave your dough in the fridge for over 24h, it should slightly rise, even if cold. Then, when you take it out of the fridge (say 2-3 hours before using it) it will rise again. When yusing a dough that is wet enough (like pizaa dough) I don't find it necessary to punch it down.

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Hmm, I make my dough in the breadmaker. Then I roll it out onto pizza pans ( for the shape) and stick it in the fridge, covered till I'm ready to use it, which could be a couple of days. Then I just bring it to room temp and go from there.

Marlene

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Take it ot of the mixer, divide it into suitable sized balls, lightly oil it ,and place in a plastic bag. Then to the fridge for three or four days...

Then flatten it out inside the plastic bag so its as thin as possible. Freeze.

When you take it out, since its so thin it will thaw more rapidly .let it sit till it starts to rise. ..Don't reform into a ball , just cut the bag off and form into a suitable shape/thickness.

Depending on your M/W, you can nuke it on the very lowest setting to thaw it even faster.Just don't get it over about 80º. Mine takes about 7minutes for a 400gram portion.

Bud

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  • 11 months later...
I would like to make an 18" pizza, but I'm not sure the amount of dough I need to get the perfect crust.

Any suggestions 16oz?

Depends on what sort of pizza you want to make... For a really thin crust I'd use a fist sized ball of dough maybe 250 grams. Thick crust twice that or more. Go with the tasty thin crust though :)

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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I use 400 grams of dough for a 14" New York style pizza. A 14" pizza has an area of 154 square inches.

That equates to 2.6 grams of dough per inch square. For an 18" pizza with an area of 255 square inches, you'll need 663 grams ~ 25 oz.

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I use 400 grams of dough for a 14"  New York style pizza. A 14" pizza has an area of 154 square inches.

That equates to 2.6 grams of dough per inch square. For an 18" pizza with an area of 255 square inches, you'll need 663 grams ~ 25 oz.

Thanks! Time to experiment!

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  • 2 years later...

I'm going to be grilling a lot of pizzas (15 to 20) and ill most likely be using trader Joe's dough. What I want to is roll the dough o. Thursday and then keep it rolled out so I can grill it on Saturday. On Friday and Saturday all ill have is a cooler for refrigeration and rolling the dough out on Saturdaoy is not an option. So should I...

A. Roll out the dough and separate with wax paper and cornmeal

B. Pregrill the crust partially

C. Roll out and freeze flat...letting thaw in the coolers

D. Scrap the idea of grilled pizza as it'll be a trainwreck

Thanks!

Scott

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If you must roll out in advance, I think a partial pre-cook is your best bet. Unless you plan on having each pizza base contained in its own pan, you risk ending up with an unlovely conglomerate of dough, paper and cornmeal. On the plus side this should speed up your production of the pizzas and transport will be easier.

The other option would be to have single-sized balls of dough prepared and stored separately (ie in greased takeaway containers) and have a helper roll/stretch them out on site (should that miraculously become an option!).

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