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eavila 03-26-2012 10:58 AM

Pizza dough shrinks
Hi there, tutto a posto?

I live in Costa Rica and I built an 106m oven a few months ago. The area in which I live is quite rural and near the pacific ocean by Jaco. Here, there is not much of a job oportunity so I started a pizza express out of my house and so far I'm still trying to get accepted by the comunity. I have made the pizza dough with three different flowers (I have the limitation of only being able to get the flower the local store brings): i first tried Golden medal and it worked good but I cant get it any more. Also a bread flower that I found a bit hard and often it shrank once I placed the pizza in the oven. Lastly I got a finer flower (winter flower) but I still get the same result, it shrinks in the oven and a 12" pizza becomes a 10" one. That does not look good to customers since it comes in a 12" box. Do you have any advise you can give me?. It would be greatly appreciated.

Im making the dough recipe that comes on the pdf "How to Make World-Class Artisan Pizza In Your Forno Bravo Pizza Oven " downloaded from Forno bravo. Im using an 8 quarts (7.6 lt) mixer.


mrchipster 03-26-2012 03:07 PM

Re: Pizza dough shrinks
If you are happy with the flavour of the crust, How about rolling out the dough to 14 inches and end up with a 12 inch pie?:)

Another thing are you cold rising your dough in the cooler over night or making your dough for use the same day? A cold rise should give better gluten development and more stability.


horrocks007 03-26-2012 06:34 PM

Re: Pizza dough shrinks
There might be too much moisture in your dough if I had to guess. Your high humidity makes everything wetter, your flour will have a higher percentage of moisture content just based on where you live. Try reducing your water in your dough a percent or two and see if that makes a difference. Out of the mixer, pizza dough should feel drier than bread dough, but after an overnight ferment, the yeast will gobble up protein and release some water making the dough feel right.

cobblerdave 03-27-2012 05:30 AM

Re: Pizza dough shrinks
Just tought I'd put in my too bits...Hope your not using a rolling pin... it only overworks the elastic glutin in the flour. The dough needs to be stretched into shape by working the edges gradually and cant be forced by basically squashing it witha rolling pin. There are quite a few good clips on U-tube and no you don't need to do any fancy dough throwing to get a good pizza

Regards Dave

eavila 03-28-2012 05:01 PM

Re: Pizza dough shrinks
Thank you all. I will try to reduce the water bit by bit and see what happens. As mrchipster suggests, I figured to do a larger pie on a 15" tray that doesn't come out as round but its very presentable and delicate. I have not changed the pie weight (270gr) yet.
After preparing the dough I divide it into 6 bons of aprox. 270gr each and then place them in the refrigerator. I take the pies out as people call to order, same day or the following. Either way I let it rest for, at least, an hour before working it into a pizza.

When I'll get it to work just right, i will post my finding.

All ideas are welcome.


hKane 03-29-2012 02:18 AM

Re: Pizza dough shrinks
When I come to face the same problem, I cover the dough with something clean (a towel or plastic wrap will do fine) and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes without touching it, just as my mother taught me to do.The gluten should relax and you can go back to shaping the crust again. If that doesnt solve the problem, then its likely that you need to knead the dough longer in the beginning phases of your recipe.

Hope that helps :)

eavila 03-30-2012 05:14 PM

Re: Pizza dough shrinks
Thank you hKane, I will try it out.

texassourdough 03-30-2012 06:02 PM

Re: Pizza dough shrinks
There is a "delicate dough" mentality that seems to permeate this forum that is IMO simply misplaced. While I would agree with Dave that using a rolling pin is hardly the epitome of good dough handling, properly made and proofed dough can be handled amazingly roughly and still give great results. I have deliberately used rolling pins and rough handlng to see how much degassing of the dough I could achieve. And with great dough it can be surprisingly difficult to tell the difference.

As a result, I have taken this position before and I will take it again. If you are having problems with your dough and pies and want to use a roller, feel free to do it. If your dough is great it will survive. If it is mediocre or over the peak it won't do as well. But that has more to do with the dough than the roller.

That said, dough that can be easily rolled is naturally mediocre for it will tend to be too low in hydration. Still, really wet doughs can be rolled, just as they can be shaped by hand. Learning to deal with wet dough is part of the game. IMO all is fair while you are struggling to learn the game!

So I could hardly care less if you use a rolling pin, hands or a hydraulic press. All pies shrink to some extent. Coping with shrinkage is part of the game. And in a commercial setting a far bigger element of the game than in a backyard.

As others have suggested, flours are differnt and have different needs. And unless you are using a BIG VOLUME flour like Gold Medal, KA, or Pillsbury, you are likely to see variation over the seasons that demands adjustments. You cannot, in a commercial environment, fix on ONE formula and method and maintain consistency. YOU have to learn what works and alter that formula as the flour changes.

Good Luck!

texassourdough 03-31-2012 08:50 AM

Re: Pizza dough shrinks
There is a tendency, I think, in this forum to equate proofing time to flavor. And while that is valid at least for the most part, focusing solely on flavor and extended proofing tends to ignore some of the negatives that come from extended proofing - one of which is that the dough loses its resiliency.

My bread background long ago taught me that well made dough would have oven spring even if you treated it rather roughly. That lesson was heavily reinforced at SFBI where we vigorously degassed dough while forming loaves - and made loaves with beautiful, open crumb. Dough near peak proof has substantial CO2 and volatile alcohols dissolved in the dough that come out of solution and migrate to pockets to contribute to oven spring. Overproofed dough tends to have relatively little gas in the dough as it has mostly migrated to the pockets or out of the dough. As a result overproofed dough is far more fragile such that you don't want to lose any of the remaining gas. Use of a rolling pin on overproofed dough will tend to create a flour tortilla rather than the puffy crust we tend to want.

Ultimately IMO there is nothing wrong or right about any of this so long as you get a crust that you like/want. And if you aren't getting what you want, then you should explore other techniques/methods to get something you like better. And if, as a commercial kitchen you want really round pies, that tends to push you in different directions than someone who wants max flavor - especially if your staff doesn't know how to or have the skill to make a pie by hand! I would personally push the staff to learn to make great pies by hand but.....I think there is plenty of room for each of us to have our own quirks and methods!

Bake On!

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