The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pizza Disaster: What was the problem

Ronan's picture
Ronan

Pizza Disaster: What was the problem

Hi Everyone,


Last night we had spectacular plans for pizza.  I used a recipe that I had great success with last week and my family all made got their favorite toppings ready.  The pizza looked great on top and even had a beautiful looking crust from the 550 degree baking stone, BUT the dough was raw and had no rise.  I used the same recipe and the same oven/baking stone, the same dough ingredients, and the same method, but in looking at my notes, I think I made (at least) two changes/mistakes:


1)  Following the recipe, I put the instant yeast with the dry ingredients.  I usually mix the yeast into the water, but I didn't do that.


2)  I think I forgot to fold the dough a few times before I divided it into pizza balls.


Other than that, I think everything was the same.  I will also add that the yeast I have been using is about a year old and has been kept in the freezer.


Any insights that you can share that will help me avoid this mistake in the future will be much appreciated.


 


Ronan

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

sounds like you didn't get a good gluten development...since you had success on your prior bakes, this may be the problem.


Sylvia 

topslakr's picture
topslakr

Do you pre-heat your stone?

Ronan's picture
Ronan

Yes, I pre-heated the stone for an hour at 550.


The lack of gluten development would be from the lack of folding the dough, right?


One other detail I forgot to mention, the dough kept tearing when I stretched it.  The dough last week was very resilient.  


Thanks, 


Ronan

wdlolies's picture
wdlolies

Hi Ronan,


I think the yeast might have been dead.  I never disolve my yeast in water and always, without exeption put the yeast straight into the dry ingredients and it works.  I suspect that for some reason or another your yeast was dead.  To find out whether it is still okay, you actually DO have to disolve some of it in some luke warm water with a bit of sugar - it should froth up. 


When you say you forgot to fold it, did you knead the dough?  I never fold my pizza dough, but I knead it once and than let it sit for a while.


All the Best from Ireland


Wolfgang

jackie9999's picture
jackie9999

Agree with SilviaH ...those folds don't seem like much but they make all the difference. With each fold you can feel the dough getting stronger..the dough ripping while shaping would seem to prove that.

Ronan's picture
Ronan

Thanks everyone.  It looks like it was a perfect storm.  I get what your are saying about gluten development and the dough getting stronger.


In addition, the yeast was dead or near dead. I did what Wolfgang suggested with a cup of water with some old yeast right next to a cup of water with new yeast.  The difference was striking.  The old yeast had a few pin sized bubbles.  The new yeast filled the entire surface area of the cup with froth!


Although I'm sorry that I wasted such valuable ingredients on the pizza and let my guests down with awful pizza, I'm glad that I learned how to test yeast and am reminded to take my time when following the instructions.


I have baked several loaves of bread in the last few weeks.  Some have them have been overly dense, but some have been decent.  I can't wait to taste the bread now with active yeast!


Cheers!


Ronan


 

wdlolies's picture
wdlolies

Hi Ronan,


Great news, you got to the bottom of the problem. Don't worry about wasting a few ingredients and keeping some friends on a diet - it's great to learn and move on, isn't it?  I'm a very keen baker and love my products and my friends and family just can't believe what they are confronted with at times :-).  Keep us updated.


Wolfgang