The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pizza Dough Issues

JustPizza44's picture

Pizza Dough Issues

Good Afternoon,

I am brand new to The Fresh Loaf-someone told me this was the place to go with my questions.

So I am trying to make a Neapolitan style pizza like my Dad's, who learned from his mom in Italy.

I do the cold ferment for 3 days, take out of fridge for 3 hours, and then form the pie. The dough is EXTREMELY pliable and stretches way too much. It also does not hold its shape when I try to slide off the peel (cornmeal applied) and typically folds onto itself on the 500 degree stone. So I end up throwing out half the pie. The OTHER half that was not folded onto itself comes out way too thin-can't even pick up a slice. However crust is tasty.

I see folks discussing very specific things about the dough characteristics-tension, stretching, etc. I don't fully understand these nuances and I don't know what to adjust-more water, less oil, more flour? I don't have my specific recipe handy but it is basically a 50/50 mix of KA whole wheat and regular unbleached, water, salt, oil, and yeast. I mix BY HAND (no dough hook) for twelve minutes and then spray lightly with olive oil, put in fridge in an aluminum tin designed for dough rising, covered with plastic. It rises very well over the three days, basically doubling in size.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated! Best regards

charbono's picture

that you're using too much yeast.

ericreed's picture

Can you post your recipe and process? Might be helpful for troubleshooting.

DavidEF's picture

As ericreed said, please post your recipe/process so maybe someone here can spot something in it that will help diagnose the problem. Also, when you've got time for a somewhat lengthy read, swing on over to Jeff Varasano's website. I think most of what you're looking for can be found there. One thing that really stuck out to me is that you said you want Neapolitan style pizza, but you're using olive oil, which Jeff says is a no-no for true Neapolitan pizza. He also says that true Neapolitan pizza is thin and hard to pick up, as you were lamenting above, so you may be closer than you think.

dabrownman's picture

is rub some rice flour into the peel first,  then a layer of semolina (small ball bearings)  and then the cornmeal (large ball bearings).  I try to kept the dough on the peel for as short a time as possible.  Shake ithepizza on the peel gently to make sure it is moving easily then gently shake off the far end of the pizza on the far side of the stone.  That end will stick and allow you to get the rest off no worries. it just takes a little practice..

Happy baking 

SylviaH's picture

your dough will be less extensible and easier to handle and still have lot's of flavor.  Ferment it overnight or just about 24 hours.  Take it out of the frig just an hour before shaping.  Cooler dough is easier to shape. 

Your dough has become very extensible because of the long 3 day ferment and the 3 hour warm up prior to shaping.

Today I actually baked a pizza dough I had left over from several and I mean several days ago, one week ago to be exact.  

Grant you this was just a for fun experiment to see if I could actually get this stuff to bake.  It was originally a Sam Forkish Same Day dough formula.  Another one of SF great pizza dough formula's I was trying.  I knew it was going to basically a liquid pourable dough and it did pour.  That's what happens when a pizza dough over ferments.  It resembled my a liquid sourdough mix.   

I literally poured the dough out onto a well floured surface and used my large pie dough scraper to keep flour under it while I handled it just enough to manage sliding it onto a very well floured pizza paddle.  I topped it with tomato, a little diced garlic I had covered in EVOO and cheese.

Since this was a quick experiment to see if I could get this wet glob off the paddle and onto the pan.  I only prepared my little Toaster oven on pizza setting for this crazy leftover, over extended pizza dough.

Well to my surprise I actually got this glob of 7 day old pizza dough to slide off the paddle and onto the pizza pan that comes with my Toaster Oven.

I usually bake my pizza's in the wood fired oven or indoors on my 550F preheated oven stone

Here it is 'lol' and quess what..though I was hungry and that might have influenced my taste buds and though the dough was of coarse pale looking from the sugars all being digested.  It tasted, well, really pretty darn good..not bad.  I just asked my husband what he thought..unbeknown to him what he ate other than pizza.  He replied.  It was good it was cheesy!  "lol" He was hungry.  He had just finished driving back from his national mountain bike race.

So see what happens when the dough lingers for to many days.  3 days would be fine with your dough, but I would go 1 or 2 at most and then just take it out of the frig to shape no more than an hour before.  Also the longer your keeping your dough fermenting in the frig I would reduce the amount of yeast as suggested by others.  Longer time, less yeast.  That way the yeasties have plenty to eat and survive.

I have a photo and will try to insert it.


Results - Same doughs - Different Pizza's - longer and shorter fermentation times - extra yeast additions.

7 days refrigeration

Before SF Same Day Pizza dough baked in 550 electric oven on stone

This is a highly hydrated dough and very extensible dough from SForkish Same Day Pizza.  I had added extra yeast to  speed up the fermentation for that day.





joeg214's picture

If you're dusting your peel with corn meal and your dough is still sticking, perhaps you're overloading your pizza with toppings?  If it's really heavy, it's going to be hard to move.  I almost did that with my first one below.  I had way too much sauce, cheese, ham and mushrooms on it.  I think less is more for Neapolitan pizza.  My next few were very lightly topped with a bit of sauce, chunks of homemade fresh mozzarella and garnished with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil.  Much, much better.

I give my peel a shake or two before I attempt to put it onto my baking stone. If it's not freely moving, I simply lift the side that's sticking a bit and toss in a bit more corn meal (or semolina) and make sure it's moving freely.  I used Caputo "00" for this one.  It makes a beautiful dough that's a pleasure to work with.  It was so thin, you could almost see through it.  With my stone on the very bottom rack and pre-heated to 550F for 30 to 40 minutes, the end result was a beautiful thin crust that crunched when you took a bite.  As a New Yorker, I thought I knew pizza, but this was just amazing.




David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I want that pizza.