Ask The Experts: Question for Lehmann

Mr. Lehmann my question is what can i do to make my dough more crispy? I have been getting complaints lately that the pizza is soggy on the bottom after it is delivered!! I don’t Know if i should modify my recipe or if im not letting the dough ferment long enough? Any advice would be wonderful. Thankyou, srdelcorro

Well, lets start at the beginning.
Eliminate any sugar, milk or eggs from your dough formula as these ingredients will only serve to cause the crust to brown faster in the oven, thus reducing the baking time, and the time for the crust to develop a crispy texture. Additionally, sugar wil be concentrated in the baked crust where it will exhibit hydroscopic (water attracting) properties. This will allow the crust to abaorb moisture from the air within the delivery box (steam laden) only to become soft and limp faster than it would if made without any sugar.
Sheeting a dough out to full size will typically not give you the crispiest pizza on the block to begin with, unless you are making a Chicago style thin cracker crust. Hand forming will typically give you the crispiest crust.
Then you will want to brush a very thin/light coating of oil on the dough skin prior to dressing it. This wil help to impede the migration of moisture from the sauce and toppings down into the baked crust.
Try to use a thicker sauce, translated, don’t water it down too much. Try a straight canned, prepared sauce to seeiif it gives you any improvement as a test.
Don’t go overboard on the amount of sauce and vegetable toppings used. Basck off slightly if you can.
When you assemble/dress the dough skin, try to keep the center section more sparse than the edges as this will allow the center of the pizza to bake better.
Don’t fast bake your pizzas. If you are using a deck oven, bake at 500 to 525F right on the deck surface. If you are using an air impingement oven, consider adjusting the baking conditions to allow for a slower bake. Look for a bake in the 6-minute range to improve improve crispiness in a DELCO situation.
Always bake your pizzas on a dark colored pan, disk or screen. We have had better success at getting a crispy crust that retains the crisp longer by baking on a dark colored disk, such as the Hearth Bake Disk by Lloyd Pans <www,> over conventional wire screens.
Allow the just baked pizzas to set under a heat source, on a cardboard circle for about a minute before boxing it. This allows the pizza to steam -off a bit and reduces the amount of steam trapped in the box.
Use vented boxes to allow for the removal of steam from the inside of the box.
Use a mat under the pizza to hold it up off of the flat surface of the box (Ripple Sheet or Dri-Pie).
If possible go with a heated bag system. Not cheap, but it does help some.
Whew! You have a lot to work with there!
Keep in mind, nobody has ever conquered the total loss of crispiness in a DELCO pizza, you can only hope for some level of improvement, and the amount that you get will vary with the quality/crispiness of your existing product.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor