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jamorgan3777 08-10-2007 06:58 PM

Pizza okay, but wanting better crust, need help
Okay, Here is the deal. I make pizzas tonight. They were pretty good. One was pesto artichoke and goat cheese, one was tomato cheese and anchovies one was pepperoni olive and cheese, and one was just tomato and cheese. All were good, but the crust was not what I thought it should be. I need suggestions. Here is what I did.

500g flour (not the good stuff, 250g all purpose, 250g cake flour)
325g water
1tbsp EVOO
1tsp salt
1.5tsp active dry yeast

kneed in KAM for 10minutes
let rest in fridge overnight.

the dough was a joy to work with, extensible, easy worked, but the final product was a little tough and didnt puff like I thought it should

I cooked on a weber gas grill with my pizza stone (which has served me well in the past). Temp was >550F and the pizzas cooked in ~4minutes. But the crust was too thin in the middle, too flat at the edge and a little tough.

Suggestions? Caputo flour needed?

Thanks in advance.:D

DrakeRemoray 08-10-2007 07:59 PM

Re: Pizza okay, but wanting better crust, need help
How long before cooking the pizzas did you take the dough out of the fridge?

james 08-10-2007 11:49 PM

Re: Pizza okay, but wanting better crust, need help
How long (many turns) did it take to get your pizza base? Do you think you still might have handled it a little too much?

Also, try it without the EVO.

You might want to give the Caputo a shot, to see if it makes a big difference for you. Just watching the gluten develop in the mixer (or in your hands) is worth the cost of the first few bags. :-)


james 08-10-2007 11:52 PM

Re: Pizza okay, but wanting better crust, need help
A couple more thoughts. 10 mintues might be too long. Try the recipe where you just mix everything until moist, then let it sit for 20 minutes. Finish with a 5 minute knead.

Make your dough balls following the instructions in the Wood-Fired Pizza e-Book (the mini boule technique), and store the balls individually in the refrigerator overnight.

Lots's of little things might add up to make a bigger improvement.

Dutchoven 08-11-2007 04:19 PM

Re: Pizza okay, but wanting better crust, need help
When we first started doing pizzas we struggled in the same fashion. I had not found the forno bravo forum to help and it was some serious trial and error. We had our share of underdeveloped and overdeveloped, etc, etc and on and on. We were from New York and so had verry particular taste, my wife especially. Truth be told we are still learning.

So some suggestions from someone who had his share of troubles. First, flour probably did not have enough gluten(in the event you cant get better bread flour you could add some vital wheat gluten which is available at specialty stores, brands like Bob's Red Mill).

I concur with James in that 10 minutes in the mixer was probably too long. Unless all the ingredients were cold it probably made the dough too warm from the friction. Check the temperature of the dough when it comes out of the mixer with a probe thermometer. It should be in the mid to high 70's. Much warmer than that is not good.

I also agree with his observation of trying without EVOO and hand kneading. The feeling of the dough is important to your evolution as a pizza maker.

Consider a short bench rest after mixing and kneading(to allow the gluten to relax, or you may consider a 1-2 hour bulk fermentation at room temperature), then divide the dough into balls and refridgerate over night. It sounds like you did a bulk fermentation in the fridge and then divided and tried to work with cold dough.

As Drake alluded to you should remove the dough from the fridge about 1 hour prior to cooking to allow them to warm slightly(the will still feel a bit cold when you work with them).

The wood fired pizza e-book is a great resource...and it's free.
Hope this helps!


jamorgan3777 08-12-2007 06:36 AM

Re: Pizza okay, but wanting better crust, need help
Thanks for all the tips and suggestions. Here is an update

In the first batch, I did let the dough come to room temp well before it was worked. I did divide the dough into 4 individual balls before the overnight ferment. Was this wrong? (the non-bulk ferment?)

I tried again last night and had much better results.

First, used king arthur bread flour. I think this was the biggest improvement.
Second I used a little less water. My first dough was so sticky I couldnt work it without getting it all over my hands, even after the 10 minute kneed.
I used more yeast, 1.5tsb instead of 1
I made bigger dough balls ~550g instead of 220g made into 14" pizzas
I didnt do the overnight, this was more for time than anything. I agree with the overnight ferment
I didnt touch the outside rim of the dough. I made my pies in three steps. A, for bulk into 2 smaller balls let rest for 5 min, B, stretch into about a 8" disk with raised edge and let sit for another 5 min, C stretch to final width and let set for 5 more minutes.

These pies were much better, although I got the stone a little too hot and burned the first one, but it tasted supprisingly good in spite of the char. The second pie was AWESOME (pesto, tomato, goat and moz cheese)

Thanks again for all the help. I'll keep experimenting.

Dutchoven 08-12-2007 07:15 AM

Re: Pizza okay, but wanting better crust, need help
No it was not wrong. It just sounded different the way it was written. The bulk fermentation is probably a matter of personal preference. It will help in development of gluten especially if you fold it once during the fermentation. We use quite cold water when making the dough, then a short hand knead, rest, divide, shape into balls, and overnight in the fridge(at least 12 hours). The overnight proof in ball shape is also not necessary, some fine pizzerias make their dough first thing in the morning and it is never refridgerated. If you should try the overnight proof in the fridge I might recommend cutting back on the yeast, might suggest doing that anyway, 1.5 tbsp is a pretty significant amount in a couple of pounds of dough.

wlively 08-13-2007 02:15 PM

Re: Pizza okay, but wanting better crust, need help
Not world biggest dough expert, but I noticed you said cake flour. That means low gluten flour. I would think that is the last thing you want in your dough.

Have you looked at Jeff's blog? Jeff Varasano's NY Pizza Recipe
Very informative reading.

I have used 50% King Arthur AP and 50% Caputo with great results.

Experimenting is definitely the fun part.

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