First of all, my thanks to the many PMQ pizza experts from whom I have learned the whole trade!
I’ve opened a couple of pizza places in New Delhi, India - PMQ has been my key resource since the beginning.
My question is on dough - what have you found to be the best dough recipe for delivery pizza? I’m currently using a NY-inspired recipe (given below), and while it tastes great, it does become excessively tough and chewy once its been sitting in the box for a while.
Ideally, I’d want it to be thin and crispy on the base, with light, flavourful edges that have an airy structure - but in such a way that I can at least minimize the toughness that comes into the dough after the hold time.
Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
My current recipe:
Flour (APF, as its readily available here; 11.5-12.5% protein content) - 100%
Water - 62.5%
Salt - 2.6%
Fresh Yeast - 0.8%
Olive Oil - 1.6%
Once mixed, I cover it and let it rest in room temperature for 30 minutes, following which it is cut, balled and transferred to the cold room for 24 hours prior to being ready to use.
I bake in a deck oven at 545 degrees for 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
Thanks again for your help.
Using your existing dough formula I would suggest lowering the oven temperature to around 475 to 500F and extending the baking time. This will provide a more thoroughly baked crust with a slightly lower finished (baked) moisture content. Also, allowing the pizza to set on a wire cooling rack for a minute or so to steam off before boxing will also help. Then there is what you are putting your pizzas on in the box, just placing the pizza flat onto the bottom of the box is just asking for a soggy crust at delivery time, instead, if you can get them, consider using something like a ripple sheet or one of the new, plastic matts that hold the pizza up off of the bottom of the box allowing steam and moisture to escape from the bottom of the pizza rather than being driven back into the pizza as is what happens when the pizza is placed flat on the bottom of the box. Another option is to par-bake your crusts. To do this apply about 1/2 of the sauce to the pizza skin and bake just until the crust is firm and beginning to show some color, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool in a wire rack until needed to fill and order. These do not need to be refrigerated. To use the par-baked crust just add the remainder of the sauce and dress as usual/to the order and place back into the oven to finish baking. In this case you will probably get a better par-bake as well as a finish bake at 450F as opposed to something at 500F or hotter.
If you want to completely change your dough formula and procedure for DELCO go into the RECIPE BANK and take a look at my formula and procedure for making a cracker type crust, this is a very light, crispy crust that works well on buffets as well as DELCO, but you DO NEED TO HAVE A DOUGH SHEETER to form the dough skins when making this type of crust.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
Thank you so much for your response.
I conducted some trials today after lowering the oven temp to around 475. The cook time increased to around 5:30 in order to get the right browning, and it seemed that there was some improvement on the toughness.
On your other suggestions - I do use a ripple sheet in the box, and the pizzas do cool on a wire rack after coming out of the oven before going into the box.
I will continue to do some trials on the lower temp/longer time - but I think it is something inherent to my dough recipe that is resulting in the overall toughness.
I actually just sent your cracker-thin recipe to my kitchen to prepare a sample. Do you think it would be possible to roll out the dough using a rolling pin as opposed to using a sheeter (as we do not have one currently)?
Apart from these two, if you have any other suggestions on what I could try, I would love to run some experiments!
Fat, either in the form of a shortening or oil is well recognized as a tenderizer as it eliminates toughness in the finished product. To see this in work first hand, just sample some fat free tortillas as opposed to regular tortillas. The full fat tortillas are much more tender eating as they are made with approximately 8% added fat. So, following that lead, you might begin experimenting with increasing levels of fat in your dough. I would suggest working in 3% increments (3%, 6%, and 9%) to see where that takes you. If one of these levels gives you the improvement in tenderness that you’re looking for you can always refine that level up or down to achieve the best overall pizza presentation.
As for using a rolling pin to shape that cracker type crust, I’ve never been able to do it, not have I ever seen anyone else do it, the dough is just too dry and tough. Sure, you can add more water to the dough, but then you loose the cracker flake in the finished crust. Remember, the mixing time for that dough (if you want to call it that) is measured in SECONDS, not minutes, and there is probably as much dry flour in it as hydrated flour. The dry flour will hydrate during the refrigerated storage period and the mechanical sheeter will cause the dough to form during the sheeting process. The dough should be shaped with as few passes through the sheeter as possible to preserve the unique cracker flake of this dough/crust. When developing this dough we used to make the pucks larger/heavier than needed then drape the dough over a screen and trim away the excess dough but this lead to a lot of scrap dough so we ended up weighing the trimmed dough on the screen and increasing that weight by roughly 7% this way when the pucks were opened into pizza skins there was very little scrap dough to be trimmed off. We also found that this dough should be lightly docked (don’t dock it to death, remember we are trying to retain that unique flake), and you can also par-bake it with a small amount of sauce with excellent results.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor