The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pizza dough does not bake through

Cooper's picture
Cooper

Pizza dough does not bake through

Hi everyone, I hope someone can help me. I tried making a pizza using the same sourdough recipe I have for bread.  I have read that it's how pizza ca be made, with the only difference being the dough was refrigerated for 24 hrs after initial bulk proof. The dough was about 71% hydration, had a decent elasticity, and I spread it into a pretty thin crust (no more than 1/4") on a pizza baking metal disk that came with my toaster oven.

I did not use any tomato sauce, just a but of olive oil, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, olives, and sundried tomatoes. the oven was preheated to 550F. I baked the pizza totally for about 10 min, rotating it once.  As you can see from the photo, some toppings began to burn (mostly sundried tomatoes, probably because they had olive oil on them), yet the crust was still not baked through.  In fact, when we cut the pizza after letting it stand for about 3 min, we found the crust to be complete raw on the inside.

What am I doing wrong here?  I heard that I should have pre-baked the crust for a couple of minutes first.  Is that correct?  I didn't think that 550F was too hot for pizza, and after 10 min I thought the dough should have been fully cooked, no?

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Then prick the dough with a fork leaving an outer rim. You can also par bake the base. So pre heat the oven, roll out the base, prick the dough and par bake for 8-10 minutes. Take out the base, add the toppings and return to the oven to finish off. This will enable the dough to bake all the way through.

Cooper's picture
Cooper

I'll try pre-baking the crust a bit next time, before adding the toppings.  It will have to wait until next week though. :-)  Hag sameach!

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Do it this way and you can even put some sauce on and it'll be crispy :) 

A very quick and effective tomato sauce is 100% concentrated tomato paste, add some olive oil (until the thickness you desire) and any spices you wish, stir up and spread thinly over par baked base. 

Your pizza does look very tasty from where I'm sitting. 

P.s. a bit of sugar in the dough and it'll give your base that charred look of a wood fired oven. 

Cooper's picture
Cooper

Thanks again.  The bottom crust was already pretty charred as is, from all that time in 550F oven on the lowest rack.  I am interested how it works in commercial ovens.  They are running pretty hot, usually 700-800F, and the toppings don't get burned, while the crust is fully baked.  I am thinking now, perhaps my dough was still too cold after the fridge, and didn't have enough time to warm up in the middle because of all the toppings?

 

ds99303's picture
ds99303

I'm guessing you tried baking it in your toaster oven since you mentioned you used the pan that came with it. Does the oven heat from both the top and the bottom? I think what happened is you had too much top heat and not enough bottom heat. If you can't turn off the top heating element and you don't have access to a regular big oven and you like to eat a lot of pizza, might I suggest a Pizzazz Pizza Oven by Presto.  I don't know if they're in stores anymore but you can order one from Amazon.  No, I don't work for them and I don't own any stock.  Someone gave me one for Christmas and yes, it does a good job.  I use mine frequently.   Its main use is for frozen pizza but I've done homemade on it too.  You just have to adjust the times on the top and bottom heating elements, which operate independently by the way.  So you can start with just the bottom heating element on to start cooking the crust. Then, you can turn on both the top and bottom heating elements to finish baking the crust and cook the toppings.

Gee, I sound like one of those people on of those informercials.

Cooper's picture
Cooper

No, I used the regular gas oven to bake it.  I simply used that round pizza tray which came with the toaster oven, because it's a good size and also non-sticking.  My gas oven heats only from the bottom using Bake cycle, so there was no heat coming from the top.  In fact, the bottom part of the crust that was touching the tray was dark-brown by the time I took it out, yet it was only baked for a couple of millimeters, and the rest was raw.  

gerhard's picture
gerhard

Was the metal disk pre-heated?  I would think that your chances of getting a fully baked crust would improve with good bottom heat.

Gerhard

Cooper's picture
Cooper

No, it wasn't.  I used it to spread my dough and toppings.  It would have gotten cold by the time I finished that anyway,

JR Bakes's picture
JR Bakes

It seems like you need to drop the oven temp a bit in order to give time for the dough to bake through, depending on the thickness of the dough. OR try adjusting where in the oven you bake. Every oven is a bit different, as you'll get indirect, radiating heat from above, and more direct heat from below. If your crust is too dark on the bottom before being baked, I would raise it. If too cooked on the top, then lower it, but you have both. I bake on my pizza steel midway in my electric oven at 475 deg f for 12-15 minutes. If I bake without the steel, on my airbake pan, I lower the temp to 425 if thicker pizza, or 450 for thinner, and bake midway for at least 12 minutes, but it usually takes to 18-20 minutes for the thicker crust, then check and either move the pan up or down depending on what's happening inside (bottom crust color and top color). If the crust just won't color, you might want to add a little sugar to your dough, or a little olive oil. If all else fails, you could parbake your pizza crust (I do that on the grill, flip it half way, top it and bake the rest of the way). You must experiment to get it right! Pizza every night! Woo hoo! 

Cooper's picture
Cooper

Hmm, thanks for the ideas.  My understanding was that with pizza, the hotter was the better, which is why I used 550F, the highest setting for my oven.  Next time I'll definitely let my dough warm up more, and perhaps make it 525F.

HansB's picture
HansB

let the dough sit at room temp for one to two hours before baking. It would bake better on a baking stone. 550F is a good temp for pizza.

Cooper's picture
Cooper

That makes sense. Mine only warmed up for 30 min or so.  I'll try that next time, thanks!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

corn meal on a peel to slide off the pizza of form it on parchment.  You also didn't bake it long enough to the the top and crust brown - it is too pale - even the toppings.  Put a T of Olive oil and T of sugar in pizza dough to get it to brown properly.  I always brush the crust with olive oil to keep the toppings from soaking the dough too.  

The biggest problem is baking on cold steel - that will never ever work.  Next time you will see such a huge difference!

Happy pizza baking

Cooper's picture
Cooper

That is definitely good to know!  Thanks!

ds99303's picture
ds99303

Is the pan you used a little on the thin side?  A thin pan won't conduct heat as evenly as a thick one or better yet, a baking stone.  Commercial pizza ovens heat to well over 700 degress F.  However, it's an even heat with no hot spots.  You can bake identical items at the same temperature for same amount of time and the item baked on the heavy duty pan or stone will be baked perfectly while the item baked on the thin pan will be burnt on the bottom. 

Cooper's picture
Cooper

Well, it's made from pretty heavy gauge steel, but it's definitely thin. Similar to probably what cookies sheets are made of, just round 13" in diameter.  I don't think I'll be investing into a pizza stone, since I have a very good real pizzeria nearby, so I'll need to adjust my technique somehow to suit what I have.  Perhaps pre-baking the crust a bit, and lowering the temp of the oven will help, need to try that.

To me, making pizza is primarily a way to use up my sourdough starter, which seems to be multiplying faster than I can eat bread.  And one can only eat so many pancakes... : -) 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

starter 2-3 times a year- here is how.  Never be chained to a wasteful starter ever again

No Muss No Fuss Starter

 

HansB's picture
HansB

You can put the dough into a cold cast iron pan and get great results. I baked this in a cold pan @550F.

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

You put the pan in cold?

HansB's picture
HansB

The pan was at room temp. No par bake. 

HansB's picture
HansB

I baked this 70% hydration Detroit Style in a thin steel pan @525F. No oil or sugar in the dough. I think it's less about the pan and more about a properly fermented dough.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

on the pizza dough. Try to chill before the bulk rise is double.   You might have an over proofing problem there and over proofed dough may be too dense to bake through.  The crust strikes me as very pale.  You said yourself you expected more browning.  Also, 70% hydration might be too wet.  How did that work for you?   A slightly lower hydration would ferment slower and have more strength to hold up toppings after being rolled or pulled out.  Just a few thoughts...  

Cooper's picture
Cooper

I read somewhere that pizza dough needa to be high hydration in orser to be more pliable and stretchable. It isn't so?

HansB's picture
HansB

is on the high side but I don't think that caused your lack of browning.

What is your complete formula and process?

 

BethJ's picture
BethJ

...can burn on a pizza in any case, oiled or not.

Either try burying them under some of the other toppings to reduce their exposure, or adding them part way through (or after the pizza is done cooking).

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I have a recipe from America's Test Kitchen for pizza that works very well. You stretch the dough out in a cast iron frying pan, then add the toppings (not too much, as it will weigh down the dough and might make it soggy). Then you put the pan on a burner on your cook top at a fairly high heat (depending on what kind of cook top you have) for 2 to 3 minutes. If you lift an edge of the crust you should be able to see brown spots forming on the bottom. Then you put the whole pan in your pre-heated hot oven (550F should be good) for 10 to 15 minutes until the edge of the crust and the toppings are 'done' to your taste.

BreadBabies's picture
BreadBabies

This is something I have worked years to perfect.  I finally came up with a method that works as well as I can hope for in a regular oven. I will share what I do, some of which you're already doing.

First, I have to assume you're making a standard pizza dough that will do well at high temperatures, i.e. it's not highly enriched with fats, eggs or sugar, etc.

1. Consider topping placement.  Some toppings will burn no matter what you do.  For that reason, you should place them under the protection of sauce or cheese or add them after bake. You could also add them toward the end of baking or cook them separately in a pan. I'm surprised that you had trouble with sun-dried tomatoes, but if they were particularly dry or pointily cut, etc., I could see that happening. You could possibly soak them in advance and rehydrate them. I haven't tried that so I don't know if the oil would prevent rehydration.

2. Consider cooking the bottom and the top of your pizza as a separate process.  Most commercial pizzas are cooked in a narrow deck oven.  The top and bottom heat sources are close together.  If that's not the case, they are often fired at really high temperatures, i.e.  850-1000 degrees which browns both top and bottoms very quickly. Folks with access to only domestic ovens have trouble browning the bottom of their crust and the top of the crust at the same time.  So, what I do is preheat the pizza oven to 550F with the pizza stone or steel on the bottom rack.  I preheat for about an hour.  (I think that's exactly what you did.) I also put an empty rack at the top.  I cook my pizza on the bottom rack until it's toasty brown on the bottom.  When the bottom is done (doesn't matter what the top looks like), move the pizza directly onto the top rack and broil it. Don't walk away. In a matter of a minute or two, your top will be perfectly golden brown and crispy.  Treating the cooking of the top and bottom separately prevents a lot of problems. You won't overcook your pizza's bottom or dry out your toppings by waiting for the top of the crust to brown while it sits at the bottom of the even.  You won't end up with a blond top crust and a burnt underside.

I'm not sure if that advice will hit the spot for you since you were primarily concerned about the toppings burning. But you can actually get your pizza out of the oven more quickly with this method, which may prevent some drying out.  And again, it's just the nature of some toppings that they cannot stand the high temperatures pizzas cook at.

Cooper's picture
Cooper

Thanks, I'll definitely try that approach.  My main issue wasn't the toppings burning actually, but rather the dough not cooking through.  Someone suggested that an issue could be overproofing the dough.  That very well could have been part of the problem, since the dough spent in the fridge well over a day after it was already bulk-fermented.  I won't do that again, and will try parbaking the crust too.  I personally don't like the approach with the cast iron pan and similar, since I think it's geared more towards baking a deep dish pizza, and I like mine with a think and crispy crust, not thick and chewy.   

HansB's picture
HansB

won't make your crust thick. The amount of dough will.

Cooper's picture
Cooper

Fair enough...

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Try using a lower hydration dough.  This is one factor might change things.  As far as I have experimented..High hydration doughs work best in hot wood fired oven's..lower hydration in home oven's.

Don't take my word for it.  So many thing's play their part.  00 flour for instance loves the high heat and works it's best in a very hot oven.  It also hydrates differently than regular bread flour. 

Sourdough is another animal.

My best advice would be to use a pre-heated oven stone will make a world of difference.

Cooper's picture
Cooper

Thant would make sense.