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Please help me with my pizza dough

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bocajr9's picture
bocajr9

Please help me with my pizza dough

Hello everyone,

I just started making my own pizza and each time they have been getting better. My only problem is that my pizza dough has a doughie tast after each bite. At first I thought it was because I wasnt cooking it long enough. Then I made a very thin crust pizza and toasty but it still had that after doughie taste. Why can't I make a pizza like the commerical pizza places do? I use the ingredients I'm told to use and it's not what I want. I usually prepare dough like this

2.5 cup of purpose flour

7 grams of yeast (.25 ounces)

.25 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of warm water

.25 teaspoon sugar

1 tbsp of olive oil

Kneat for 10 minutes

Let it sit for 2 hours

cutt in half just made half of the dough for a small thin crust pizza

made the shape of the pizza I wanted nice and thin. Put in preheated oven of 425 degrees let the dough cook for 15 minutes. Then Added the sauce and the cheese.  Put back in the oven for another 15 minutes and ready to eat. I make a killer sauce and use fresh cheese, but the dough came out really crunchy and the dough is like hard chewy then normal pizza. The doughie taste was still there. What am I doing wrong ??? Please help. Thank you

Frosty's picture
Frosty

I'm not sure how helpful this will be, but I've made pizza for years and thought it was pretty good.  Then I picked up and read Reinhart's "American Pie" and it really changed the way I looked at it.  My Pizza is much much much better than it was previously and I get great comments on it.

Doesn't really answer your question, but it's been a great resource for me.  Maybe your library has a copy if you'd like to check it out (pun intended :))

Frosty

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Frosty suggested a great book, I'll suggest a great forum: pizzamaking.com. There are plenty of good recipes there and knowledgeable people for troubleshooting.

That said, here are some immediate problems that come to mind:

1. Your rise time is too short with too much yeast; you're not going to get great flavor this way. Instead, refrigerate your dough overnight: cut your yeast in 1/2, make your dough, shape it into a ball, and put it in the fridge overnight (or for at least 8 hours, but preferably 12-24 hours). Let the doughball come to room temp for at least 1 hr before shaping. 

2. You need to bake your pizza hotter; 500F is minimum. At these temps a 14" pizza will take me usually 7-8 minutes total at most. Using a pizza stone will help with the crust browning. 

3. What size pizza are you making? My thin-crust 14" pizza uses a dough ball that's 450g. For "american style" (like PapaJohns/Dominos) my dough ball is about 550F. Depending on the size of your pizza, you may need to use a bit less dough. 

Again, pizzamaking.com will give you the best tips. Making pizza like a commercial place is not easy; it takes practice and patience, as well as the right dough recipe and techniques. Keep practicing, you'll get there. 

patnx2's picture
patnx2

Also try pizza Quest and look for his New York style pizza dough. Simple and makes a great pizza. As to making a pizza as good as the   shops it will take practice . But the information is out there. Enjoy the quest. Patrick  his country recipe is also good but in my opinion not as good as NY style recipe.

patnx2's picture
patnx2

Peter Reinharts site. Patrick

Syd's picture
Syd

Try this recipe.  It makes an excellent pizza.  If you have a sourdough starter, replace the yeast with it for an even better flavour.

Syd

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

It may be that you need to get true 00 pizzeria flour to get the flavor you are looking for.  Although I'm someone for whom saffron has no taste whatsoever, I really do taste the different wheats in the various flours. 

a_pummarola's picture
a_pummarola

For lower temperatures you want to use a lot more oil. Try doubling or even tripling the amount here. I would not be shy with it. Without enough oil it'll dry out at those temperatures for that long in the oven. Also, try putting the sauce and cheese later on if you are doing this par-baking method. Maybe 20 minutes par-bake and 10 minutes bake topped. It might help bake your crust through and get rid of that doughy flavor, and will also help protect the cheese from burning. I would personally crank up the temperature and use a good stone so you can bake the whole thing at once (no par-baking) for 6 or so minutes. If you don't want to use a stone, I've had good results with a screen, much better than with a standard pizza pan. They are very cheap online.

I would cut down the yeast a whole lot and increase the fermentation time as another user recommended. It's hard to tell with volume measurements but given the amount of water I'd guess between 1/4 teaspoon and 1/2 teaspoon spread out over 6-8 hours. You can also use about 1/2 teaspoon and put it in the fridge overnight if it doesn't work with your schedule. Too much yeast on pizza dough will lead to a strong smell and off flavor from dead cells. The same is true for bread but for whatever reason it seems to be more pronounced on pizza. (as an aside, yeast extracts like Marmite and such are made from dead yeast, to give you an idea of how strong the flavor is.)

Also, instead of kneading 10 minutes right away, try mixing everything together roughtly, resting for 15-20 minutes and then kneading a few minutes. After kneading, let it rest again and you should have a smooth, silky dough with no chunky bits of flour left.

I would let it rise until it rises about 1.5x and then ball. Let the balls rise for at least an hour or two so they are soft and easy to open. They do not need to double in size; doing so might actually result in a flabby, fragile dough.

Given what is available on pizzamaking.com I wouldn't put any money into a pizza book. What I've read so far is not impressive; the folks on PM.com have documented thousands of experiments well beyond anything I've seen in a book. I've spent the past six months reading that site and have made huge progress. The only downside is the amount of time needed to peruse the various threads, though there are some popular ones that'll help a ton.

Flour is probably the last thing you should be worried about right now unless you are using cake flour or something. All-purpose or regular bread flour will do just fine. '00' is a specialty flour for places that use high-temperature ovens. It's unmalted unlike most off-the-shelf American flours, which leads to less sugar in the dough and thus less burning in a high-temp oven. A home oven benefits from the malting.

Technique is the most important by far, so keep practicing and try not changing too many variables at once so you know what makes the biggest difference.

halfrice's picture
halfrice

Pizza should take less than 15 mins in total even in a home environment. I have a very old gas oven and it takes 11 mins. for my pizza to cook. I think you should try to bake it with everything on and see how that comes out.

bocajr9's picture
bocajr9

Great advice from all of you. I will keep on baking and let you know how it turns out. I will change a few things and see if that doughy taste goes away.  Thanks again!

timbit1985's picture
timbit1985

Some tips;

  • Bake it at atleast 500F on a pizza stone, 6-11 minutes should do it.
  • Press the dough out from a round, don't roll it. Rolling, especially when you pinch the edges knocks a lot of air out of your dough, which wrecks the texture of your dough.
  • Use a poolish, i.e pinch of yeast, some of your water some of your flour in a bowl the night before. Next morning, mix all of your flour, salt in, and whack it in the fridge. 2 hours before you want to bake, pull the dough outta the fridge and shape.
  • Less sauce, more garlic, more herbs.
  • Less cheese, thin toppings
  • WEIGHT YOUR INGREDIENTS!!! Nothing will improve your consistancy like weighing out your ingredients. Besides, weighing creates less dishes ;)

My pizza dough looks like this:

10% Rye
10% Whole Wheat
20% AP flour
60% bread flour. (notice how total flour amount is = to 100%. This is so that all the ingredients are relative to the flour mass)
2.8% salt
70% water
0-5% oil (I prefer lean dough's as I prefer the texture, I often omit oil from the dough, and then hit the top of the pie with a drizzle of good quality olive oil)

Using a formula really increases how much control you have over the dough. Want it heartier? Add 10% more wholegrain, 10% less white. Want bigger bubbles? Increase the % of water. Want the dough softer and easier to chew? Increase the oil by 2% decrease the water by 2%. Making changes in recipes by % allows you to track exactly what changes you made, and how it affects your dough. It lets you zero in to your personal ideal formula, and then scale it to exactly how much you need.

Allow ~500g for a large (14 inch) pizza, so for two large lean pizza's you need...

1000g total dough = 172.8x (sum of all percentages)
1000g/127.8=x
x=7.82
Now multiply each of the ingredients percentages by 7.82 which gives you;

i.e 7.82 x 10 = 78.2 g Rye

Rye:                 78.2 g
Whole Wheat: 78.2g
AP Flour:          156.5g
Bread Flour:     469.2g
Salt:                   21.9g
Water:               547g

My typical process if using commercial yeast would be as follows.

  1. Make a loose batter using all your whole grains and your water, add a pinch of yeast, maybe 1/8 tsp or less. I like to add all the whole grains and water, as I feel that it gets the flour enzymes going and you extract the most flavour from the grain. Let your sponge (this is a sponge, as it contains all the water the recipe will need) rest overnight on your counter.
  2. The next morning, add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Mix roughly with a wooden until shaggy. Let stand 10-15 minutes.
  3. Adjust the dough consistency until it is tacky, but not stick by mixing in small amounts of flour by hand. Once the desired texture is achieved, let rest 10-15 minutes until the gluten is relaxed. 
  4. Do a full stretch and fold, relax for 15 minutes. Repeat 2-3 times.
  5. Driz a bit of neutral (or olive) oil into a bowl. Form your lump of dough into a tight ball, throw it in the bowl and roll it around until evenly coated.  Cover, and place in fridge. (Preferable 6 hours minimum)
  6. 2-3 hours before bake time, pull your dough out and let it come up to room temp.
  7. Weigh your dough balls out, form them into balls. Press them into shape press down in the middle, and then continue to press the edges. Leave the middle alone from now on, you should end up with a nice full of tiny bubbles disk of dough with even thickness throughout.
  8. Top with toppings, bake at 500F for 8-12 minutes. 

Working with quality fresh ingredient makes a HUGE difference in your product. Don't buy pizza sauce, make it. It is cheap and easy.

Take a can of diced tomatoes, toss it in a bowl/large measuring cup. Add a large heap of basil and oregano, a bunch of garlic , a splash of a tasty acid, salt and pepper to taste. Whiz it up with a stick blender. Cost is like $1.00 for a TON of fresh tasting tomato sauce. Freeze the marinara you don't use. When saucing pizza, use a spoon, place the sauce in the middle of the shell and smoothly distribute the sauce in a circular motion.

I like to keep my pizza's simple. A little bit of sauce, top with some sliced thin veggies (zuchinni, mushroom, peppers) add some cooked protein (chicken breast) hit the top with some shredded romano (not grated, shredded) give it a sparse drizzle of oil throw it in the oven. I think that if you can't see the sauce, you've got too much cheese and toppings on. You might as well make a crappy dough, cuz you won't taste it anyways.

90% of the time, i make my dough with a sourdough culture, which comes out amazing. Just replace the yeast with knob of starter and you are good to go. I keep my starter at 50-60% hyrdration. If using sourdough, I turn my sponge into a biga and keep the preferment at about 60-70% hydration. Generally, a dryer dough favors the lactobacillus which is what is responsible for sour taste. I like a tangy pizza crust. I add the rest of the water in when I mix the flours and salt.

 

Most of my techniques come from Peter Rhineharts various dough treatments, some experimentation, and just doing whatver I feel like when i'm baking. Weigh your dough and ingredients, then you'll know exactly what is going on. Think about it, 1 cup of flour can vary by upto 50g depending on how it is packed. 1 tbs of salt can vary by 3-10 g's depending on the coarseness. What if you need to add half the water to a dough the night before, and the other half the next day? You have to kind of guess. 100g of water is always 100g of water. 100ml of water can vary based on how accurately you measure it in the cup. Baking pizza by volume is PAINFUL, simplify your life, weight your ingredients!!

 

Sorry for the long winded post.

 

bocajr9's picture
bocajr9

timbit1985,

Thank you for your recommendations, I'm going to try your method. I"m on the healthier side of cooking. I want to master the regular pizza dough first and explore to wheat then rye, and try to make the healthiest pizza I can, and have it taste great. I weigh my ingredients on all my receipt so that is not going to be hard to do. I will keep you posted on my adventure. Thanks again.

 

G-man's picture
G-man

When it comes to pizza, simple is better. Use fewer ingredients, fewer toppings, and fewer minutes in the oven. The motto should always be less, except when it comes to the time spent on the dough (and that is it!). The dough should sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before a bake, but hopefully closer to 24 or more. The longer you rest the dough, the more flavor it develops and the less "doughy" the pizza will taste. When you do put it in the oven, as others have said, use the highest heat you can get. For me this means cranking my oven to 500 and par-baking my crust for 4 minutes. I finish with the broiler on.

I know the tendency is to always add more of everything when something doesn't turn out the way you want. Un-learning that was a really big hurdle for me. Pizza dough should be flour, water, salt, and yeast, nothing else. Dough improvers such as oil and sugar and gluten and on and on...that stuff is for chains that want every pizza to turn out exactly the same in as short a time as possible at the expense of the flavor of the dough itself. If you have a sourdough starter, omit the yeast for a superior pizza and use the starter instead. If you don't have a sourdough starter, consider raising one so that you can make sourdough pizza, it really is worth the effort.

I don't want to step on too many feet, but flour isn't your biggest problem here. Address these problems, turn out a superior product, and then move on to flours. I learned to make pizza with plain old Gold Medal AP, which is about as middle-of-the-road as I could find, and when I got it right it tasted better than anything I could get anywhere else. If you're buying expensive flours before you can turn out an amazing product using the cheap stuff, you're wasting money. You wouldn't buy a prime rib to grind it into hamburger.

That's my take on it, anyway.

jcking's picture
jcking

Keep it simple. Save the oil, and use it sparingly, add it to the sauce. Don't cook the sauce, it will cook in the oven. A great pizza has a tasty crust; don't mask it with heavy toppings. A small amount of fine Semolina flour is nice.

Jim

Foamheart's picture
Foamheart

I am surprised no one really mentioned the Water. The water you use has much to do with the taste of the finished product. The tap water I have is fine for most everything except bread making. When it comes down to dough I use spring water and I would not have believed it but I swear it makes a better Pizza or any bread dough. I am not talking about RO (Reverse Osmosis), thats water with all the flavors taken out. But you can buy a bottle of Spring Water at any corner store these days.

Try it and see if you can't tell the difference. I have an friend in Brooklyn who brought it to my attention. LOL... he swears that its why they have the best pizza.

With all the great recommendations above, I didn't want to let any get passed up.

BTW I also add a very small amount of garlic to my pizza dough, to me its like salt. You never think its important until you omit it.

 

bocajr9's picture
bocajr9

I new the water had something to do with it, but I never would of guessed to buy spring water. I will impliment this in my nex dough. Thank you.

cranbo's picture
cranbo

While I agree that water makes a big difference in dough performance, and likely has a flavor impact (given the number of people that swear that NY pizza flavor is related to NY municipal water), it's not going to solve the OP's original problem, which was a "doughy" crust flavor, which I believe had more to do with the OPs recipe and technique than the ingredients.

 

juliette's picture
juliette

I agree with almost everything said on this matter so far except the recommendation to add more oil - if you are baking in a low temperature oven then up the hydration. I never use oil or sugar in my pizza dough, and I use a sourdough starter. Although my sisters make beautiful pizza with commercial yeast.

The most important things to consider are the quality of your ingredients and your technique. Use the best flour available, and never use tap water (chlorine and yeast don't get along well) unless it is coming straight from a well. Autolyse is critical (mix only your flour and water, and let it rest for 30 minutes) then mix in the yeast and salt and proceed with kneading. Room temperature dictates rise time.

Interesting note on the water. I live in Arizona, and when the famous pizzeria Grimaldi's (NYC) opened a place in Phoenix they could not duplicate the pizza they made in NYC. After much trial and error they discovered that it was the PH of the water that was the problem. They adjusted the water they use in the dough to match NYC water, and the problem was solved. 

Maximum flavor is produced by the longest, slowest rise. I retard mine in the fridge for at least 24 hours, and up to four days. I add rye and whole wheat which also improves the flavor. Do not use a 00 pizza flour unless you are baking at 700 degrees or more.

You can find the generic yeast pizza dough recipe my sisters use here: http://www.salvationsisters.com/2010/04/freshly-made-thin-crust-pizza-dough.html

I would guess that your problems with the doughy taste are from improper kneading and proofing. You don't need to par-bake pizza. Pizza should be topped before it goes into the oven. You need to bake at a minimum of 500 degrees. It should never take longer than 15 minutes, and even that is really too long unless it is a large pizza.

Keep at it...you'll eventually get the pizza dough you are looking for!

Cheers!