The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

HELP! Pizza Dough Issues

JustLoafing's picture

HELP! Pizza Dough Issues


I decided to try and use Peter Reinhardt's Lean Bread dough recipe for a pizza crust and had some problems with my dough.  I've used the Lean Bread recipe for bread without a problem, so... here goes. 

I followed the recipe and cold fermented for 3 days and then I split the dough in half and froze both balls of dough.  I thawed them out in the refrigerator overnight.  After opening them up and forming them into a tight dough ball and letting them sit for about an hour I began to try and shape the dough into a pizza disc.  The more that I tried to gently stretch the dough the stickier it became.  I rolled it back into a ball and let it sit and tried again.  The dough became so sticky that it was sticking to the work surface and my hands (even with oil and flour).  The dough would not stretch and became the consistency of just mixed and unstretched dough.  I tried the process again with the second ball of dough this time trying to roll it and again the dough would not work. 

So, clearly something is wrong...

1.  I used 2 tsp of rapid rise yeast.  Could it be the wrong type of yeast or too much?

2.  I used 2 and 1/4 c of lukewarm water.  Could it be too much water? 

3.  Maybe I should shape them more into an even firmer disc? Or let them sit longer? 

Any help is appreciated!! 

Thank you!! 

Ruralidle's picture

Sounds to me like the dough has overproofed and the gluten is destroyed.  Use less yeast or freeze it after only 1 or 2 days.  Better still, use it as soon as it is fully proofed.

jaywillie's picture

If the dough would not stretch, that was attributable to too much gluten, not too little. After you worked it into a disk, you would need to give it plenty of time to relax. And the more you work it, the tighter it will become, unless you let it rest and relax again.

What flour did you use, and how much? Were you aiming at a specific baker's percentage of water to flour? I won't specify a percentage for pizza dough, because there are different formulations, depending on the quality of crust you want (or instance, NY-style, Neopolitan, etc.). If you were aiming at 60-62% hydration (a good approximation for a NY-style crust), then 18 oz. of water would require 30 oz. of flour. Is that about what you used?

For those of us who don't know PR's lean bread recipe by heart, what is the exact formula? Knowing that will allow many others to offer help.


Ruralidle's picture

Hi Jaywillie

I beg to differ.  If the description had said "The dough would not stretch" - and finished there - I would agree with you but the phrase used was "The dough would not stretch and became the consistency of just mixed and unstretched dough" which clearly describes a dough where the gluten has broken down.

JustLoafing's picture

Thanks for your help!  After thinking about it I think it was overproofed and the gluten was destroyed.  Jaywillie, I didn't think about posting the recipe itself.  I will do that next time because it would be helpful. 

I will try it again soon!


JGo555's picture

Over proofed your dough.

I usually make the dough with water at least 100°F and freeze it right after making it.  I thaw it for 24hrs and then leave it at room temp for like 1-2hrs before cooking it.