The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need more flavor in pizza dough

Crush's picture

Need more flavor in pizza dough

Hey guys,

I was hoping you can help with me getting more 'body' and flavor intot his dough recipe. It's pretty standard:

High Gluten Flour - ~6.5 cups
Water - ~2.66 cups
Salt - 1.1 tbsp
IDY - 1.19 tbsp
Oil - 3.69 tbsp

My main issue is that my dough isn't 'smelling'. I remember making indian naan years ago and it would smell up my fridge and had lots of odour and flavor when I made it. Not sure if it used yoghurt or not.

In my home city of Ottawa Canada, most all the pizza places were Lebanese owned. Often the dough would have this 'smell' to it. It had flavor.

What I'm fidning on the forums is extrememly tasteless, bland pizza dough. I cold fermented dough for a full week in the fridge and was not able to get the smell and flavor in the crust. I warm fermented for in room temps for 24 hours in the oven, opened it and yes there was a smell, but not good enough.

Here is a pic of the pizza I made tonight. The dough came out amazing on everything except that missing 'flavor'. This sour sort of fullness nutty thing I can't describe. Please help!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

What kind of oil are you using?  Have you tried brushing with cooked crushed garlic in olive oil?  

Have you thought about adding an acid note to the dough?  (lemon or vinegar or wine)

Are you using any Lebanese spices?  Just a little, not enough to be noticed outright but rounding out the taste?  Could also use an infusion for some of the liquid.

Try adding a little rye flour (5%) to the dough.  

That pizza looks really good!  Thanks for the pics!

cranbo's picture

I agree your pizza looks great!

For nuttiness, try adding 10-15% whole wheat flour and/or 5% toasted wheat germ.

For increased flavor, try incorporating a pre-ferment (sourdough, sponge, poolish, etc) into your final dough. If you keep your pre-ferment hydration close to that of your final dough, you won't need to adjust water, but you will need to increase your salt & oil somewhat. 


intelplatoon's picture

try making a sourdough starter, and using that. it may take a few weeks to months to get some deep flavor, but if you regularly bake pizza with homemade dough, it would be a great inexpensive investment.

SalesPro's picture

I noticed you are not using sugar, you may want to add a little sugar into the yeast, it serves the purpose of feeding the yeast, does wonders for the dough color, and it lets the flavor of the salt come out so you get some flavor in your dough.

clazar123's picture

It's simple to do. Just take a small portion of your flour (1-2cups) and a goodly portion of the water (2 cups( and just a pinch of yeast(don't subtract this from the total yeast-this is extra). Mix and let sit out at room temp (70F or higher) for 12-24 hours. Mix this with the rest of your ingredients and see if this will give you the flavor you want. You may need a touch more water when you do this for the final dough since you are really allowing the flour to soak up and hydrate. I use this technique to punch up the flavor on all my breads-works great with bland flours like white whole wheat.

I really like Mini's idea of adding a little rye flour. It might increase the texture of the dough towards stickiness but the yeasties really like the rye.They devour it and produce all kinds of good flavors. I've put rye in the preferment and it really takes off.

Another option is to convert to sourdough either for flavor or for rise. You can use sourdough starter and the commercial yeast so you get the flavor and the faster rise-best of both worlds.

It occured to me that a real Lebanese baker may be using some old dough in the new batch. This usually punches up the flavor,too. "altus" is the german word. There are many posts on it. Mini may jump back in about this.

Another thought is to change flour brands and see if another flour gives more flavor.Different brands are different blends. That might do it,too.

Beautiful crust! Yum!!

nicodvb's picture

not old dough:)

jcking's picture

I too was curious about the smell you're speaking of. I bake my pies, assempled on parch, at 550F. Removing the parch after 99 sec and baking for an additional 7 mins, Yet I was missing that pizza joint smell. The smell I was missing turned out to be cornmeal. Always thinking I didn't want the cornmeal to make a mess in the oven I avoided it. Now I sprinkle some cornmeal on my parch, then dough on top. The smell is back.


ross.s's picture

Hi From Montreal

For flavour - King Arthur sells a Pizza flavour enhancer - I'm not saying you should purchase it - but check out the added ingredients to see what they are putting into their dough enhancer to give that pizza parlour flavor.

How do you bake it?  I notice you use a mesh - do you find that this helps?

Would love your recipe with instructions - it looks like great pizza. 

seeburg220's picture

Unfortunately, the very fist ingredient in that pizza flavor enhancer, is Autolyzed Yeast Extract, AKA  Monsodium Glutamate - MSG.    It's the same junk that Chik Fil A uses (twice in the same sandwich) for their chicken sandwich.

MSG is predominant in many many foods these days.   Too many, in my opinion.

Crush's picture

Ok here's how to make that pizza. It is a work in progress though. Technique in baking and rolling the dough is 60% importance of how it will turn out. It all starts with a special flour from Italy. If you can't find this flour, use Five Roses best for Bread Homestyle White in Canada, or King Aurthur Bread Flour in US. Some say the Sir Lancelot is too protien rich for this recipe.


Caputo Pizza Flour (100%):
Water (58%):
IDY (1%):
Salt (2%):
Oil (5%):
Total (166%):
Single Ball:
995.94 g  |  35.13 oz | 2.2 lbs | ~6.5 cups
577.64 g  |  20.38 oz | 1.27 lbs | ~2.66 cups
9.96 g | 0.35 oz | 0.02 lbs | 3.31 tsp | 1.1 tbsp
19.92 g | 0.7 oz | 0.04 lbs | 3.57 tsp | 1.19 tbsp
49.8 g | 1.76 oz | 0.11 lbs | 11.07 tsp | 3.69 tbsp
1653.25 g | 58.32 oz | 3.64 lbs | TF = 0.11
551.08 g | 19.44 oz | 1.21 lbs

-Take out mixing bowl from kitchen aid.
-Add water, flour, salt, yeast and mix with dough hook for 2 min or so.
-Add oil slowely
-Mix for 10 min on low.
-Take dough out, break into 3 even sized balls.
-mix each ball for around 7 min or until it passes the window PAIN test:
-Place dough in bowl, lightly oil the top with a kleenex, and place that dough in a grocery store bag and tie it shut. Put in the oven. Old school style all the way.
-Wait 24 hours.

METHOD (the important part)

Ok I have a new fangled oven with the heating elements below the interior sheet metal so you can't see them.

-The tiles you see are 6x6 Terracotta tiles unlgazed and are available from Rona in Canada and Lowes in US. Do not wash these with soap. Only rinse with water at when you bring home. Alton Brown from good east recommends to put them directly on the bottom of the oven.

-Above those tiles, I put TWO cheap round pizza stones (contrart to this picture I know). One has already cracked so this is not a good long term solution.

-I put the oven to max temp of 550. It needs to heat for 45 minutes. A long time if using 2 stones at bottom. You can use one stone at bottom or just tiles from what I read.


-I then create an oven within an oven by using a ceiling of tiles. This helps me get the temp over 550. My heat reading from my infrared gun is over the 600 limit so I'm guessing it's reaching temps of 650. Ovens are all meant to withstand 800 due to the cleaning cycle so don't worry about thoes temps. It will eventually crack you cheap stone though if you have a $10 round stone.

-The dough needs to be stretched by hand very carefully. Take your time. Do whatever you can not to disturb the crust area. Keep all the gasses in.  Afterwards let it rise for 20 min.

-Put some oil around the crust to help it brown. This type of flour from Italy does not like to brown.

-Dress the pizza, but do NOT put too much ingredients on or it will not cook properly. Resist temptation.

-Put your cheese on COLD from fridge. As cold as you can. Do not let it get warm. The cheese will seperate from the oil if it's low quality cheese or overcooked. Get Grande 50/50 in US and get anything other than grocery store cheese in Canada as high fat as possible.

-I like flour for my bottom. I use a metal pizza paddle and place the pizza directly on the stone at the bottom of the oven.

-In about 1.5 minutes, lift it up to check on it. If you are using Bread Flour, you may have to check in 1 minute. If it looks cooked and a bit stiff, I take it out of the oven, put it on a screen and place it back down for another 5 min or. We aren't using pro ovens so need to do this step. Too many people try to do the whole thing on the oven. I've burned my crust at the bottom putting it directly on the stone for the whole length of the cook so always take it out aftre a minute or two and put it on a screen or tray with holes in it from walmart.

-If the dough came out more flat and too thick and tough, it's because you didn't roll it properly and gently. You likely re-kneaded, flattened it, and weren't gentle with it. I should make a video showing how we do this step.

A large part of this is the cooking technique.

andythebaker's picture

great looking pizza.  i'm green with envy!

just to clarify, after you mix the dough, you retard it in the refrigerator, correct?  right now, you have it as put it in a grocery bag, tie it shut, and put it in the oven.

(which i first thought meant you had a low low low amount of yeast which you don't)

JPMonette's picture

Hi...I'm from Ottawa Canada also...would you know where I can find High Glutten Flour in my region...I can't find it anywhere.


Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss


nicodvb's picture

is an average soft wheat flour. It's very different from the high gluten flours you included in your list as alternatives.

If your fridge is very cold probably no fermentation can occur and no aromas will come out. Did you try a slow fermentation outside the fridge but in place between 10° and 18°C? I suspect the results will be much better than with the same dough kept in the fridge.

jcking's picture

Pepperoni!! Your're the man!! Great pix, great looking pie.


tananaBrian's picture

My wife has been making very flavorful pizza by using a recipe she got from Cook's Magazine and "Power Flour" from Pendleton Flour Mills in Oregon (a high-gluten flour designed for pizza and other doughs that require high gluten and extensibility).  We buy the flour in 25# bags at just over $1 per pound... good deal.

Pendleton Flour Mills publishes a technical booklet that has formulae for pizza dough in it (intended for restaurant usage): Technical Book (link to PDF version).  It's an excellent reference...

I've also noticed that in pizza parlors, that they get completely carried away with both corn meal and oil.  I've seen them tip up a pizza after baking and drain olive oil out from under and around the pizza before serving it.  Remember ...for pizza, make it good, not good for you!  I love Julia Child's motto where she says to never compromise the food ...if it's not a food that's healthy to eat all the time, then don't eat it all the time it less often and don't compromise the food in order to make it 'more healthy'.



PS: Pendleton Flour Mills also makes a wonderful strong bread flour called Morbread that's really good (equivalent to KA and other premium flours) that you can also get for a very good price if you shop around ...our local natural pantry type of store carries these on nearly a regular basis.



bigyellowbandit's picture

A coworker of mine used to run a pizza place and instead of using oil in their dough they used bacon fat, not the healthies of choices but does add a good deal of flavor if you want to give it a chance.

AnnaInMD's picture

Italian, Zataar, Anise and Fennel, SALT !   :)


Maeve's picture

After using Bob's Red Mill Semolina in Jason's Ciabatta recipe and loving the taste I decided to add some to my pizza dough.  It really improved the taste and made it seem more pizzeria-y.  Then I bought some Durum wheat berries and I grind them with my Nutrimill and I like that flavour a lot more.  I have to remember to not be heavy handed with water during the initial mix because it becomes very sticky later.  If I pay proper attention I get a not too sticky, but still very extensible dough that I can hand stretch.  If I put too much water in it and it's too sticky, I just plop it on the parchment paper and stretch it out.


So my suggestion is, swap out a portion of your flour with semolina and see if you like it.  Your pizza looks fabulous by the way!

Crush's picture

Hey thanks for the replies. 

I'm going to try all of them.

Can someone tell me what adding maybe a tbls of yoghurt in would do?

Also can I take a chunk of my old dough, put it in the new mix with NO yeast, and eventually have it rise? How would I do this?

tananaBrian's picture

Yogurt?  I'll bet that if you use a low-dose of yeast for a long ferment and/or retard the dough for a day or so that you'll pick up some sourdough-like flavor in the dough.  Can't be bad...


Crush's picture

You mentioned retarding the dough for a day.. how do you do this?


Oh here's todays pizza!


cranbo's picture

Looks great. 

Retarding the dough simply means putting it in the fridge during fermentation for an extended period of time. 

cranbo's picture

Also can I take a chunk of my old dough, put it in the new mix with NO yeast, and eventually have it rise? How would I do this?


Yes, you can do this; yes it will eventually rise. The more old dough you put in, the faster it will rise. 

I would start with a piece of leftover dough about 10% of your flour weight; you could use more, but it might overferment in the 24 hour period that you plan to leave it out. Stir the piece into the water required by your recipe to dissolve it, then follow your recipe as usual.

Try it out, then bump up the amount of leftover dough if it's behaving too slowly. 

Crush's picture

Thanks I'm definatly going to try this..

smallaxe's picture

i put 1 1/2 tablespoons of malted barley flour to 2 cups bread the flavor

smallaxe's picture

i also have a hard time finding high gluten flour............i was having it sent to me from NYC but the shipping cost $6 and the flour was $'s only money but...........shucks

I have found using bread flour and adding 1 tbls of vital wheat gluten per cup (you should be able to find this (Arrowhead Mills) at many stores).

JPMonette's picture

Exactly... my Brother -in-law is heading to the states soon (New York) and I asked him to get me a 5kg bag of King Arthur High Glutten flour. Why the heck can't we have this product in Canada? I just do't get it.

mcs's picture

I realize this is an old thread, but I believe the flour called for by the threadstarter (Caputo pizza flour) would be closer to AP flour than high gluten flour, at least as far as protein content is concerned.  It's listed as having around 12% protein, which in the US would be the equivalent of Gold Medal "Better for Bread"/"Harvest King" flour.  This is basically the standard flour that you can get at a supermarket.

Robin Hood Unbleached White All Purpose is listed at around 13% protein, as is Five Roses Never Bleached All Purpose Flour.  Both are closer to high gluten flour if that's what you're looking for.


JPMonette's picture

Yes that's what I'm looking for...a high glutten content. The flour will be used exclusively for Pizza dough. I've have not reached the level of satisfaction with the flour I use. The photos of this thread are most convincing so I have written to Caputo to see if I can obtain some from them. Hopefully, they will ship some over to my address.

Thanks for your time Mark.


isand66's picture

FYI, you can read this article about the 00 Caputo Flour and their suggested recipe here

JPMonette's picture

Thank you isand66

ars pistorica's picture
ars pistorica

Pizza is another obsession of mine.  I have eaten quite a bit, and I have come to a few conclusions largely ignored by most good pizzaioli.  First, experience of taste matters more for a pizza dough than actual taste.  This is perhaps the most ignored principle.  Temperature significantly affects the perception of flavour, and every pizza (of the kind we are talking about here) is meant to be eaten at temperatures ranging from hot to really-really-piping-hot.  For example, cold increases the perception of acid in the mouth, while heat masks them.  These types of consideration should be taken taken into account.  Second, the type of bake also affects the flavours present in the final baked-dough, with shorter times and higher temperatures displaying a trend toward displaying less fermentative flavour and more those associated with the baking process (and its interaction with the grain, subsequent grain-based aromatic compounds unlocked by fermentation, etc.).  For example, in a blind taste test I could easily identify the difference between two doughs I know well, those of Anthony Mangieri and Chris Bianco, but the differences I would detect coming out of the oven would come down to texture (bake) and salt-level.

JPMonette's picture

First, I'm glad to have revived a dormant thread... it's an important one  IMO.

Second, thank you to all who have responded to my posts especially "ars pistorica" You have vocalized (in writing)  and you have described clearly what and how I feel about fresh Pizza dough. 

P.S./FYI  I'm an avid next-day-cold-pizza eating monster.

Thank you!!!

ars pistorica's picture
ars pistorica

I should point out I do not believe that there is only one road to Naples, which is to say that there are a whole lot of good pizza doughs out there (both in terms of methods and materials used), but none of them holds the key.  They are all good, in their own way, and should be appreciated from the perspective in which they are created.  Each home-baker on this forum has his or own perspective, and rather than copy a dough one-for-one, I would recommend looking at what all good pizza doughs have in common.  The end, in bread, is always the best starting point, as it can inform you which roads you can take to get there.

All the good pizza doughs (from those in Naples to those of the store-bought par-baked frozen variety) I have seen have the following three things in common:  first, they are very well-fermented, with an emphasis on "very;" second, all stress an extensibility that at least matches their strength at the point the dough is "ready" (i.e., when it can be made into a pie); third, and most confusingly, all promote tenderness (other slightly synonymous words would be "lightness" and "digestability").

There are a million ways to meet each of the three criteria.  Obviously, one has less choice once one choice has already been made, like the flour type to be used.   E.g., those using higher-protein flours have a much bigger obstacle to overcome on the last of three criteria, but the criteria can still easily be met.

Do not get stuck on flour types or any other such silly nonsense.  Focus on meeting those criteria, and use any wiggle room to create a dough that suits your tastes.

I should also note that none of these criteria has anything to do with the way a pizza dough is expressed during baking.  This is an entirely different subject altogether, and one that really is a very specialised consideration when thinking about pizza (versus bread).

The Loaf Oaf's picture
The Loaf Oaf

I would say its missing a pre ferment, try to incorporate a Poolish (that's what I use for mine).  I also like to use semolina flour in my pizza doughs

Dirts's picture

This is not your traditional pizza dough.  Its from a pizza place in Milwaukee and its full of flavor.My wife loves the crust.

One or can of beer bottle of beer  Use what you would think enhanses the flavor

2 Tblsp of butter

2 Tbsp of oil

2 Tbsp of honey

1 1/2 Tbsp  of yeast

4 cups of bread flour until it pulls from sides of mixer bowl

The above makes two 18 inch and I pre bake before putting on ingredients.  I like to brush with butter before adding ingredients after the pre bake.

I usually leave the dough sit on the counter over night in a covered bowl after I have kneaded it for 10 minutes with a dough hook.  Im am very much liking the french gluten method of four fold and not deflating.  I fold it every 30 minutes for a total of  2 hours and then place in bowl seam side down and I skip the dough hook completely.

Im very fond of Marcy Goldman's recipe for Near-perfect Hut style pan pizza  I make two pasty pans for that recipe.