Pizza dough problems

I've been making my own pizza dough for a few years but have never been very happy with the outcome. I'm trying to replicate neopolitan-style pizza dough but my pizza always ends up coming out too thin and crispy/crunchy instead of that chewy crust i love. I've tried changing my AP flour for 00 flour, using regular yeast instead of instant, difference combos of water/oil but nothing works. I cook it in a 550 oven with a pizza stone but can't figure out what the problem is

any thoughts?

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32 Comments

CanadaDan May 21, 2015
if anyone cares...i tried the pizza dough from Artisan bread in five. it sat in a tub in my fridge for a week since my oven broke, but the results were almost exactly what i was looking for..chewy dough on the outside. I think it's a combination of longer proofing, slightly more liquid and flattening by hand instead of a rolling pin that helped. thanks for all your help
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Nancy May 21, 2015
glad it worked ;), good to know, downloaded the Artisan Bread pizza dough recipe for my next batch.
 
Susan W. May 21, 2015
That looks great. Just how I like it. Puffy, but not too thick and chewy.
 
Trena H. May 22, 2015
That pizza looks great! I'm always curious as to the outcomes discussed in these threads.
 
Marco M. May 10, 2015
how long do you cook the pizza? Perhaps you could shave a few minutes off and save it form being too crispy. Also I think that chewy crust can only be achieved by a wood burning oven
 
Windischgirl May 9, 2015
I love the dough recipes from Mark Vetri's "Rustic Italian Food." He has a Roman-style dough which is crispy and more cracker-like, and a Neapolitan dough which may be what you're looking for: it can be shaped fairly thinly yet retains its chew. I think the secrets are a good bread flour, using a starter, and a long slow rise in the fridge overnight. Here's a link to Vetri's Mortadella Pizza, which uses the Neapolitan dough. FYI, you may need to add an additional 30gm or so of water if the dough seems a bit dry.
http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/02/marc-vetris-mortadella-pizza.html
BTW, your dough should be fine on the counter covered with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel. Hold it on with a rubber band around the rim of the bowl if you are concerned that the wrap will slip off. Mist the top of the dough with water or oil if you like. Mangia!
Vetri has a pizza restaurant here in Philly, and going there is on my list. Not gonna happen this Mothers' Day, alas...
 
CanadaDan May 5, 2015
will try one of the above recipes and take your two suggestions into consideration. will my dough be okay on the counter for a few hours covered lightly in plastic wrap? i've had issues in the past where it would try out sligtly if not covered...
 
Droplet May 5, 2015
What is the temperature of your dough at the time of shaping the pizza base? I assume that you are shaping it the correct way by hand and not with a rolling pin, right?
 
CanadaDan May 5, 2015
Well it comes out of the fridge and i let it hang out for about a half hour so it should be about room temp. and i confess i use a rolling pin after getting a decent circle with some hand pulling...
 
Droplet May 5, 2015
Half an hour is not enough time for the dough to fully come to room temperature and for the yeast to get "comfortable" so to speak, and you are missing out on that rapid puff that happens in the first few minutes after you put the pizza in the oven because of that. And the rolling pin has a different effect on the gluten and in addition deflates the trapped gasses inside which will make the steam pockets of a proper pizza base, especially in the crust. If you are willing to change those two things, you will notice an improvement.
 
CanadaDan May 5, 2015
will try one of the above recipes and take your two suggestions into consideration. will my dough be okay on the counter for a few hours covered lightly in plastic wrap? i've had issues in the past where it would try out sligtly if not covered...
 
Droplet May 5, 2015
Yes it will be fine, you can brush it very lightly with olive oil if the specific hydration of your dough allows for that without further undermining the shaping process later on, or alternatively you can simply invert a glass or a stainless steel mixing bowl on top of it. Yeast produces heat and combined with the inherent moisture in the dough, it will keep a humid environment under the cover and it won't dry out.
 
CanadaDan May 5, 2015
i never would've thought of putting a bowl on top...genius. I'm going to experiment with a slow rise for a day or two in the fridge (after a 2 hour rise in a storage container on the counter) and increase my oil ratio slightly..thanks for all the advice
 
ChefJune May 6, 2015
Not sure who told you using a rolling pin is "wrong." Bread, including pizza dough, is just about the most forgiving thing one cah make. Many epople make very successful pizza using a rolling pin.
 
Droplet May 6, 2015
I would have to respectfully disagree with you, ChefJune. I don't believe you can achieve a proper cornice with a rolling pin, and furthermore it is plain difficult to use with an 80-85% hydration dough, as it should be. If you are making St. Louis style pizza ( love it), by all means do roll...
 
boulangere May 4, 2015
I've begun using Peter Reinhart's recipe for Neapolitan Pizza Dough (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/pizza). He was my Breads chef in culinary school, and I trust every recipe he writes because each is so thoroughly tested. Baking at a high temperature is fine; just be sure that you are not baking it too long. I suspect that the latter may be your problem. Too, don't overload your pizzas with sauce and toppings. Italian pizzas are very spare in terms of both, which certainly reduces the baking time.
 
PieceOfLayerCake May 4, 2015
I would look into doughs with a higher hydration and longer proof. The secret to the chew in a lot of Italian breads is the moisture content (think focaccia). I've used the Tartine method for artisan breads for a while and I'm always very happy with the outcome. Working with these doughs can be slightly difficult, but its worth it.
 
CanadaDan May 5, 2015
Can you explain the tartine method?
 
PieceOfLayerCake May 5, 2015
Its an entire way of making bread. I couldn't possibly explain it here. I would HIGHLY recommend taking the book out from the library or purchasing it. It will kick your bread game up by leaps. Its time consuming, but if you fancy bread baking as a hobby, you'll never look back.
 
CanadaDan May 6, 2015
interesting. will do...thanks
 
ChefJune May 4, 2015
Daniel, I cannot tell why you're having so many problems with your pizza dough from the clues you've posted. But I can recommend my virtually fool-proof pizza dough recipe. In fact, your dilemma prompted me to post the recipe here https://food52.com/recipes/35780-anna-teresa-callen-s-pizza-and-calzone-dough. Give it a try and let me know how it works out.
 
CanadaDan May 5, 2015
will do...thanks ChefJune
 
Bevi May 4, 2015
I have had success with this crust - by patting it round and thicker, it comes out chewy. When rolled out thinner, it is crispy. https://food52.com/recipes/21944-grilled-martini-pizza-and-a-party
 
Kayb May 4, 2015
I have made the best "deep dish" pizza dough by using the recipe for the master loaf from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day and letting it rest in the refrigerator for a couple of days after rising, before using. When ready to use, I get what I need, let it rest at room temp about 15 minutes, and pull/stretch it into shape. The recipe, best I can recall from memory, is 6 cups flour, 3 cups lukewarm water, 1 tbsp yeast, 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt. I sometimes let it rise for an hour before I top it if I want a "breadier" pizza. When I want thin 'n crispy, I use Mark Bittman's recipe from How To Cook Everything.
 
CanadaDan May 4, 2015
will try that recipe...and maybe buy their bread book. thanks!
 
sile May 4, 2015
Are you adding any honey or olive oil. It makes a giant difference?

 
CanadaDan May 4, 2015
no honey, yes olive oil
 
boulangere May 4, 2015
It sounds as though you may be stretching it too thin. Try patting the round of dough out with your hands to a thickness of about 3/8".
 
CanadaDan May 4, 2015
i tried that once and it just ended up as thicker but still too crispy crust...
 
Nancy May 4, 2015
Daniel, lots of good advice in this thread. your comment here about still getting crispy results with a slightly thicker dough makes me wonder is your oven perhaps too hot? both the 550F starting temp, and the reliability of the oven thermometer? have you calibrated that oven? or tried baking at 450 or 500F?
 
CanadaDan May 4, 2015
Nancy, i was uynder the impression hotter is better for pizzas...don't those stone pizza ovens in pizzarias get to 700-800 degrees? i could try lowering it i supposed
 
Nancy May 4, 2015
Daniel - you're right about high temp professional pizza ovens. but/and I was looking for factors at home that give you too crispy a crust.
 
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