attn Doctor: cracker crust help

Well Doc, we are a month in and people love that thin cracker crust, they are outselling our deep dish 4 to 1. We run a rotoflex oven at 550. The bottoms have been getting that perfect cracker crunch even to the middle. The only issue is that sometimes the crust gets too dark where it’s not covered by toppings, if we pull any sooner it won’t be perfect on the bottom. Here’s how we make/ handle our dough
100% all trumps(can’t get ceresota flour from sysco in florida)
35% 110 degree water
10% oil
1.5% sugar
1.5% salt
1.5% ady
We bloom the yeast in the water with the sugar and the salt, then add oil, then add flour and mix for 90 seconds max. room temp ferment for 24 hours then pucked and either sheeted right away and put onto disks for service or pucks put onto sheet tray covered and put into walk in.
Thank you. And please anyone else chime in.

35% hydration?

That seems really low to me

it is really low, but some chicago cracker crust places go as low as 32%! It’s a complete pain in the butt to work with, but great texture and flavor.

The sugar really isn’t needed in your dough formula for anything but crust color. The first thing I would do is to eliminate it entirely from your dough formula. This might also allow you to bake the pizza a few seconds longer to further improve upon the crispiness.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks Doc, I’ll try it out. You don’t think it adds any flavor at that level right?

No, you will need to get up to around 3% (double from where you’re presently at) to get any flavor impact and then you would need to go to approximately 5% before getting what might be called a sweet taste in the finished crust.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

When you tried ceresota did that give you an overall better product?..

Are you using a baking platform such as a screen of disk? If so, take a look at the Hearth Bake Disk from <> it is designed with a solid edge/rim that addresses this problem in air impingement ovens so it might be worth a look in your application. The other thing that you can do is to eliminate the sugar from your dough formula to help control browning.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

No, actually use all trumps now with great results

Also for flavor, try replacing 20-25% of the flour with cornmeal. The flavor difference is incredible!

I’m going to try your recipe. Room temp ferment is how I do my thin crust too. Thanks for posting!

Straight yellow cornmeal like is used for dusting a peel?
How does that affect the ability to stretch a dough without it tearing?
We dust our peels with the stuff, and there is a few specks on the edge of the crust when served, I’ve considered dampening and dusting the crust edge before baking, but not mixing it in.
Now I’m curious.

Corn meal can be used in either of two ways, it can be incorporated into the dough for a different flavor (normally at levels of 10 to 25% of the total flour weight, just be sure to correct the absorption for the corn meal or as it hydrates the dough will become progressively stiffer/tighter. It can also be used on the crust, most commonly used as a peel dust to facilitate the dough skin releasing from the peel as it is peeled into the oven. The corn meal adhering to the bottom of the crust gets baked into the bottom of the crust where it is toasted and adds a dimension of flavor to the finished crust (no need to adjust the absorption when used in this manner). Additionally, the toasted corn meal adds a “crackle” to the texture of the crust thus emulating crispiness to some extent.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Yep straight into the dough formula. I like to put it in the water first then add yeast, sugar, and salt before adding flour/oil.


Can you please provide your bakers percentage for your dough recipe which includes the corn meal.


Here you go.
Flour (strong bread flour) 100%
Salt 1.75%
Sugar 2% (optional)
Olive oil 2%
Corn meal 12%
IDY 0.4%
Water 68 to 70% (variable)

The dough will be soft when first mixed but it will improve as the corn meal hydrates.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

What difference will IDY make in a cracker crust over ADY in a room temp ferment of 12-24 hours?

It won’t make any difference at all. I just like to use IDY because of the convenience factor (doesn’t need to be hydrated in 95 to 100F water before use)
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks Tom! Couple things I want to go over as far as feedback

  1. I did the room temp (58-62 degrees in SF on avg) ferment with my thin crust Sat night and yesterday we had the best crust I’ve tasted in my life, I kid you not! Wow! I was exhausted and have been living off caffeine for the past 3 months since we opened Grinders Pizzeria while still doing my day job and this crust literally lifted me to an all-time high! Has crunch, you sense the 20% cornmeal, the bottom is really crispy but soft on the inside. Just amazing!

  2. I have come across an issue thanks to Yelp. I have 30 reviews, 3 are 3 stars, 20 are 4 or 5 stars. All 7 bad reviews (1 or 2 stars) are from our deep dish on delivery. I tested it yesterday by placing a pepperoni deep dish in a delivery bag for 15 mins as it would be on an avg delivery. I tried it and it was terrible! We have dine-in and people rave about it, love it and I feel the same way. It comes out of the oven and straight to the table, no steam in the box to mess it up. Ideally, it’s crispy on the bottom and has a caramelized cheese crust. However, after pulling it out of the delivery bag, the steam from inside the box appears to be softening the crust and it tastes like a microwave pizza. I use sandwich wrap paper to line the boxes. Do you think this is the issue or is it something else? If I can’t fix it in the next couple days I will just scrap the deep dish for delivery altogether.

What you are seeking is the “Golden Fleece” of the retail pizza industry. I’ve spent the better part of my pizza career in trying to find a solution to putting pizza into a box, then a moon bag and having it steam itself to death. About the best advice I can offer you is as follows:

  1. make sure the pizza is being baked as long as absolutely possible, this might mean a different baking time and temperature for delivery (not easy to do).
  2. Use a matt and ripple sheet under the pizza to hold it up off of the bottom of the box to allow moisture to escape from the bottom of the pizza.
  3. Allow the pizzas to “steam off” for a couple of minutes before boxing to reduce the amount of steam in the box.
  4. My concept of a delivery bag is to have an insulated bag with the entire top of the bag a panel of Gore Tex. This will keep the pizza warm through insulation and reflecting heat back into the pizza while allowing moisture to escape the bag (that’s what Gore Tex does).
    Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor