The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pizza Troubles

JDaBod's picture

Pizza Troubles

Hi All,

I've been lurking around this site for a few months and have found it immensely helpful. I am just beginning my bread making journey and all of your knowledge makes it much less intimidating, so, thanks for that!

My journey first began with pizza dough and has since branched out into sandwich breads and artisan style boules and batards. I had become quite comfortable with pizza dough until this past weekend, when something changed. All of a sudden, my pizza dough became a little too soft, for lack of a better descriptor. It actually seems far more gassy than before, and I am at a loss. It still makes a decent pizza, but it is much harder to work with than before. I've tried longer rest periods between handling, but still, it is more elastic than before and just soft.

The only thing I changed from one batch to the next was the type of flour - I had been using Gold Medal bread flour and switched to King Arthur bread flour. Could that be the cause? Could the slightly higher protein content in KA bread flour make that much of a difference?

if it helps, here is the recipe I've been using:

  • 22.5 ounces (about 4 1/2 cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • .5 ounces (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) sugar
  • .35 ounces kosher salt (about 1 tablespoon)
  • .35 ounces (about 2 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 1.125 ounces Extra Virgin olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 15 ounces lukewarm water

I feel a little stupid asking, because it seems like most people have trouble with their crusts being too dense, and mine is perhaps a bit too much of the opposite!

Thank you in advance for any insight or advice you can share!

Floydm's picture

Definitely switching flours brands could make a difference like that.  I'd expect that a higher protein flour would make it stronger though, not looser.  But, yeah, I'd pick up a bag of the flour you are used to and see if that gives you what you want again.

embth's picture

You could probably use half that amount of yeast…or even a quarter if you are retarding the dough overnight.  Certainly a change in flour could make a big difference in your dough.   Your new flour might need less water…although when you change to a higher protein flour, you expect to use a bit more water for the same results.  The humidity in the air can make a difference as well as the age of the flour.  I tend to use all purpose flour for my "New York" style pizza dough.   If I am after a thinner crust, I use bread flour.

JDaBod's picture

Thank you very much for the information!

I may try again and make a batch of dough with the KA flour and another with the Gold Medal to try and further isolate what happened. I usually try to be meticulous with my mise en place before mixing anything, but I suppose there is always a chance I mixed in too much yeast.. 

Is there any sort of algorithm through which you know how much yeast can be removed if one is retarding the dough overnight or even for a few days? Also, if I do plan to retard the dough for one or more days, does that affect the amount of kneading necessary?

ciabatta's picture

As others mentioned, switching flours definitely can mess with your formula. Could it also be the temperature?  I know where I am on the west coast, it has warmed up significantly in the past months,  and 10-20F rise in proofing temperature is going to make for much more active yeast.

For my pizza dough, I use a poolish and i only use a pinch of yeast for that and let it rise slowly in the fridge for 1 or 2 days.  My final dough, i always make on the day of with additional yeast.