You’ve heard all of the gossip that rage on about making good pizza dough, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that pizza dough is a dedicated art. But to make the best pizza dough, the best tips come from how you make the dough and the conditions that help turn it into something wonderful. Here is how to get the best dough results every single time.
Making good pizza dough has nothing to do with baking methods
There are many in the pizza-making community that continually talk about all of the right conditions for cooking your pizza. This includes everything from getting the right pizza stone, to temperature, to the ingredients that go onto your pizza dough. In reality, it matters how you make your dough since poorly-made pizza dough won’t matter no matter what you put onto the dough itself.
You have to remember that pizza dough is also a bread product, and making pizza dough can be tricky at first. There are beginner mistakes that everyone will make, but simply by following these vital tips, you can make your pizza dough taste just like the professional pizzerias are making.
Here are the top tips that will be the most important to know first!
Learn all about kitchen measurement
It should really be redundant to say but most people make this mistake just from looking at recipe abbreviations all the time. Way too often, people mistake Tablespoon (tbsp) and teaspoon (tsp) in their recipe calculations. It can happen when looking on a smartphone screen or from a recipe book sitting on the kitchen counter. The fact is, that kitchen measurement often uses abbreviations to shorten select forms of measurement.
It’s also not a good idea to use tablespoons or teaspoons from your kitchen to try to accurately measure out these small volumes of ingredients. Use a good set of measuring spoons that you can buy at any decent discount store. They actually work and are based on US measurement. Many recipes you find on the internet can be using the UK measurement, which is slightly different.
Also, use digital scales to get an accurate measurement for larger amounts of ingredients. Digital scales allow you to tare off the bowl you’re using so you only add the amount you need. Another good tip is to pre-measure all ingredients into separate bowls to itemize your ingredients before adding them together.
Select the right flour for pizza dough
Pizza dough is like any other type of bread. It needs the best kind of flour for pizza – which can make or break the overall taste and consistency of your mixed dough. The best flour begins with high proteins, which is what results in the higher formation of gluten. But that’s not always the case for all dough recipes, since some of these will call for 00-grade flour which is lower in proteins and is finely ground for better texture.
Always use a recipe that recommends the specific flour used in the ingredients. You can always experiment with flour types to find which one you like best.
Use fresh yeast
No matter what kind of yeast you are using, fresh yeast or dry yeast all works the same. In the case of dry yeast, it can become expired and won’t produce a chemical reaction when added to warm water and a pinch of sugar. When this happens, it’s OK to add a new packet of dry yeast to start the reaction. Despite the expired yeast, it won’t change the flavor of your pizza dough at all.
Learn the Autolyse technique
You may have heard of something called hydration and hydration time. This is more or less a standard part of prepping your flour and whisking it before you introduce water into the flour. Adding air pockets will allow your flour to evenly absorb the water, down to each speck of flour that becomes hydrated with water. But when it comes to the Autolyse technique, this simply is allowing for your flour and water mixture to absorb without mixing.
It takes up to 1-hour to allow the flour to absorb and is said to produce a better dough than through standard hydration.
Proof pizza dough in the fridge
Proofing dough is simply allowing the pizza dough to form gluten before it begins to rise. To cold-proof pizza dough, you place it into a bowl covered with olive oil that’s then covered with cling wrap overnight. At least 15- 18 hours will create cold-proofed pizza dough that has the desired texture and developed flavor that certain pizza recipes call for.
Never stretch cold pizza dough
If you decide to cold-proof pizza dough you need to allow it to return to room temperature before touching it. The room should actually be warmer (between 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit), so this gives the dough adequate time to rise from the yeast creating gas within the dough. This can sometimes take two rises that last up to 2 hours. This helps to make pizza dough that will be light and fluffy with excellent gluten formation.
Always stretch pizza dough by hand
Don’t try using a rolling pin to form your pizza dough. What this does, will remove all of the wonderful gas bubbles that have formed within the dough itself. A rolling pin will force out these micro-sized gas pockets and deflate the dough from within making the pizza dough tougher to chew. Gently use your hands to form the dough into a disc and then grab along the edge pulling it outward at each turn.
It will feel like you’re fighting the wind since the elasticity is going to be ever-present but it will stretch to amazing diameters when you use gentle pulling rather than squashing.