Thin crust shaped dough thickness

Progress is slow but with the caveat that we are certainly not making pizza daily! I am still working with the master recipe, using 1/2 of the recipe to make an approximately 13" pizza. The is about 360-370 gm of dough. I have been playing with varying the water content and about 62-63% is manageable at the moment. I have been working on my stretching technique and am finding it a long learning curve! Most of my cornices are about 6-7 mm high before baking but the center usually stretches to about 1-2 mm. I am working on my technique to try to Covering the pizza with sauce, then slices of mozzarella, the center does not rise much, if at all, and the very top of the center dough is a bit soggy even though the bottom is nicely browned and crisp. I am baking the pizza in a home oven at 525-550 on a single baking steel. Not that the pizza doesn't taste better than anything around, but I would like to troubleshoot this part of the production.

Thoughts? Does the sogginess of the top 1 mm of the central dough relate to the weight of using slices of mozzarella as opposed to using shredded mozzarella or possibly to water in the sauce (I forgot mention that I am using an uncooked sauce similar to the New York-New Jersey tomato sauce in the bible). I realize that some of this is just trial and error, but as I am not making dough daily, I would appreciate help to keep me from going in the wrong direction...!


Medium pizza on peel

Medium baked pizza

Ken K.
posted almost 5 years ago

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Ken, great looking pies. I can see the progress from post to post. A couple of thoughts:

I tend to use a 300 gram ball for a 13" pie. This is on the low end. 350+ grams is on the higher end. It all depends on the thickness you desire. I'm only mentioning it for a point of reference.

When you're using fresh mozzarella, it can get very water logged, especially if it's not very fresh. I usually slice mine thinly, then place it on paper or cloth towels and let it drain for a few hours. You'll notice a huge difference.

Sauce, depending on the tomatoes and the style you're making, can also be a major culprit. When using canned San Marzano's I always drain some of the liquid by opening the can and immediately placing it in a fine mesh strainer. You'll notice that in 15 minutes, you'll see upwards of a half cup of liquid separate from the tomatoes and pulp. This is less of an issue with canned crushed and diced tomatoes.

Looking at the pictures, it seems like you've got a fair amount of sauce on your pie. Try reducing just to see if it makes a difference.


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Raj Irukulla admin
posted almost 5 years ago

Thanks, Raj. After I posted this, I opened cans of tomatoes (tagged) and recorded the amount of fluid removed, which was about 25% by weight in each case, so that should, as you say, make a difference. I will also try grating the mozzarella to distribute the weight a bit better.

If you are using only 300 gm balls for a 13" pie, about how thick is the dough in the center before you bake it? I wonder if I am squeezing too much air out of the dough during the process, which would also account for less rise during baking....

- Ken   almost 5 years ago

I agree with Raj and his tip to dry out fresh mozza between paper towel sheets. However, fresh mozza almost never works in a home oven and at the temps you're baking your pies. I'd stick with freshly grated low-moisture whole milk mozza.

Regarding your center problem, keep in mind that the edges of the pizza, when baking, are rising and therefore everything gets slightly pushed towards the center especially any liquid. Try to keep the center of your pies light with toppings and sauce.

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Mike K.
posted almost 5 years ago

Thanks, Mike. I hadn't thought about the geometry of the baking pie. I will keep the weighting toward the edges. We are "going live" tonight with our debut, having promised some friends to help them with grilled pizzas. We have made 10 dough balls, and we have grated 3 lb of skim milk mozzarella. I have strained as much water as possible out of the crushed and ground tomatoes, and will use less sauce than I have used in the past. I will let you know how that works out! Thanks for your input.

- Ken   almost 5 years ago

Ken, I have been struggling to try to make my Neapolitan pies MORE soggy! That is exactly how my favorite shops pies' always end up. I haven't quite figured out how to make mine more soggy, if I did I would tell you so you could do the opposite. What I can tell you is that I actually use about a 215g dough ball for about an 11" pie. I am going to try out significantly larger dough balls to see if that helps add more sogginess to the center of the pie. That is about the only difference I see between your pies and mine, but we will see.

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David P.
posted almost 5 years ago

What type of Mozz are you using? Looks like fresh mozz. What flour? You don't have to cook the sauce at all. You could be a little thin in the middle but it doesn't look too bad

Have you tried dusting your dough with semolina?

Tony Gemignani admin
posted almost 5 years ago

Thanks for responding, Tony. Yes, this was a fresh mozzarella product from Costco. The flour was the High Mountain High Gluten at 62-63%. I "went public" over the weekend, making 8 pizzas for some friends over the weekend. I used dry (block) mozzarella (Gabani?) instead of the "fresh", and I drained the Bianco Dinapoli and 6-in-1 tomatoes before use (from the beginning, I have followed your advice to not cook the sauce). In addition, I used less sauce that before. Those changes seemed to make for a better result. I use a semolina-flour combo for dusting. All that led to a much, much better result. I have sourced flour and tomatoes (and those fantastic Calabrian peppers!!) from recommendations in your book and on the website, which has really upped my quality. My dough forming technique is pathetic but improving. I have changed from trying to create a cornice to just allowing it to form during baking. That is to say that instead of forming a 1/2" or so cornice with the edge of my hand while stretching, I am attempting to make a pizza that is as flat as possible all the way across. As written by you and noted by many, the cornice develops as there is no sauce or other toppings weighing it down. I have followed Mike's suggestion to use less topping toward the center as the geometry of the top is for the surface to slope toward the center. My biggest mistake over the weekend was to have dough that was not quite warm enough. Once I realized that, it was much easier to stretch the dough and have it maintain its shape. I am also trying to be more gentle with the dough so as not to squeeze out too much trapped gas. Last night we made pizza for my daughter with left over dough, and even with all of the pizza we had eaten on Saturday, we could not resist eating it. The flavor of the crust is SO DELICIOUS with the High Mountain and Tony's Artisan flours (as well as the Caputo Blue pizza floud) and the long cold fermentation (next experiment is to do a side-by-side comparison with 48 hour fermented dough and dough created at room temperature on the same day to see just how different they are)--Bottom line: overall, I am VERY pleased with my progress and my result. I am grateful for your book, your help, and the support of the community here that has grown up around it all.

- Ken   almost 5 years ago

Ken you can also place your fresh mozz on the last 2 minutes of baking allowing it to Melt but not bleed liquid all over your pizza. This will help out a lot. Also the brand of fresh mozz. They really can vary.
David for a wetter pizza, more soupy, that really depends on the heat and method. What oven are you cooking in? Temp?

Tony Gemignani admin
posted almost 5 years ago

I have been searching for mozzarella, believe me! ;-) You recommend Grande in your book. I have been looking for a source here on the west coast, but I would only be purchasing in small quantities. We have an Italian deli here where I purchase rolls for Italian beef sandwiches (THANK YOU, by the way, for your recipe for the meat. It tastes just like when I grew up in Chicago. With our home-made giardiniera and Calabrian peppers--it is wonderful!). I have purchased some of their block mozzarella, but it is a bit pricey. The Gabani isn't too bad, but it is not very flavorful (we have the opportunity here in town to purchase fresh mozzarella from a 93 year old friend of ours who makes it fresh every morning for his daughter's deli. When I have been ambitious enough to pick it up at 7 AM, it is incredible--squeaky with a wonderful buttery flavor. Later in the day, it has already begun to fade in flavor and change in taste...). I will try adding some less "melty" cheeses for flavor, as Peter Reinhart suggests--perhaps some Romano, Asiago, or Parmigiano. Fontina may work, and I think it melts pretty well. Anyone have a suggestion for a retail brand of mozzarella?

- Ken   almost 5 years ago

Awesome. Thanks for the updates, process and pics. Pizzas are looking really good. So happy you jumped right in.

Tony Gemignani admin
posted almost 5 years ago

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