Couple of Questions from a Beginner

Hi, I am about to open a restuarant that will carry a Chicago Thin Crust Pizza and I have been working on a pizza dough for about 6 months now (using The Dough Doctors Recipe “Chicago thin cracker crust” as a starting point) and although I am very happy with my product, I just had couple of questions… Here is my recipe:

Hi-Gluten Flour 25 lb (100%) 74 degrees
Water 10 lb 8 oz (42%) 71 Degrees
Sugar 6 oz (1.5%)
Salt 6 oz (1.5%)
Oil 28 oz (7%) Vegi Oil (20 oz) Olive Oil (8 oz)
Fresh Compressed Yeast 1 oz (.25%)
Unsalted Butter 8 oz (2%)
ROOM TEMP 74 Degrees

Quesiton #1: I don’t let the whole dough ball ferment for 4-5 hours in a tub after mixing, I Just scale my dough balls and cross stack in cooler for 2 hours then nest for about 24 hours… Is this ok?

Question #2: My dough balls don’t seem to rise that much, but the dough comes out fine after rolling and baking…just wandering .25% Fresh Yeast is enough?

Question #3: If i mess up when rolling out my dough on my somerset roller and fold it back up and retry to pass it through again it is just a total broken apart mess…is this normal?

Thanks for your help everyone.

You should be just fine by balling the dough immediately after mixing and taking it right to the cooler.
As for 0.25% compressed yeast/fresh yeast, I consider that to be the minimum yeast level, with 0.5 to 1% considered the norm, so you might want to experiment with increasing the yeast level, especially in view of the fact that you are taking the dough directly to the cooler after mixing. With a period of bulk ferment prior to balling and refrigeration the lower yeast levels come into play.
If you mess-up at the sheeter, just reform the dough piece back into something resembling a dough ball and allow it to proof at room temperature for at least an hour or more, as you see the dough ball loosen up, you can take it back to the sheeter again and it should sheet reasonably well without going into the self destruct mode, which is common when you haven’t allowed the dough to ferment long enough. Note: If you lightly oil the reshaped dough ball and place it into a plastic bag (twist the open end to close and tuck it under the dough ball to secure) you can see the dough ball to check up on it, and you will also prevent it from drying at the same time.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks for your fast response…I have to say this website and you especially are the main reason I believe I created a great pizza.

One more question I forgot to ask…My dough is rather dry (42% water) and it is perfect for what I’m trying to achieve, but I am worried that it will put to much abuse on my somerset roller…am I being overly worried or you think I need some PZ44 dough relaxer (which I would rather avoid)?

Your sheeter should run the dough without any problem. It will tell you if the dough is too stiff by a significant reduction in speed, or by making strange, and unusual noises as it rolls/sheets the dough.
The fact that you had indicated that the re-rounded dough was being torn apart by the sheeter tells me that your sheeter has plenty of muscle for the task at hand. Allowing the re-rounded dough to relax/ferment for a sufficiently long time before attempting to sheet it again is the key to getting the dough to sheet successfully the second time. Your higher yeast level should help in that department too.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks again… And, although I am going to hire some experienced guys in the upcoming weeks who probably could answer this question, I have always like to find things out for myself first…

Is there any precooking, preparation, or simply add raw to the pizza before baking of these items…

  1. Chicken (Should I cube it, Julliene it, use cooked sliced roast chicken breast)
  2. Shrimp
  3. Bacon ( Not canadian)
  4. Italian Beef (Ready to eat)
  5. Prosciutto
  6. Zucchini
  7. Fresh Garlic
  8. Sun Dried Tomato (Should I rehydrate it?)

Thanks again for your help…


Jimmy, I’d suggest that you’ll only find the true answer to your question concerning the treatment of your toppings when you try they in different ways on your pizza, in your ovens. I’ve been in places that put sausage on raw, we put it on par-cook…and when I make my own dinner pizza I prefer raw to get the extra “flavor” from the fat that renders out. Same with bacon, we tried raw, ended up with better more consistent results by par-cooking (like 3/4 cooked). We started out frying it on our flat-top, but just recently switched to running it on a baking sheet through our XLT. You’ll find your best by trial and error as well I think.

I like to use pre-cooked meat toppings when ever possible due to food safety concerns (cross contamination). When using shrimp, again, I like pre-cooked. For sun dried tomatoes, you should rehydrate in oil before using. Smoked/cured meats are good to go just as they are.
If you do use uncooked meat, such as raw sausage, try to place it towards the top of the pizza to ensure thorough heating/cooking, and be sure your staff is well versed in issues related to cross contamination. When handling raw meat wear plastic gloves, wash hands often, very often, and lose the chef’s towel.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Just from the customer stand point I have yet to find good pre-cooked sausage or ground beef for a pizza. Not too say it is not out there but as deacon said…the extra flavor from the fat of the meats really makes a great impression on the pizza. You do have to make sure you use a lean cut so that you do not flood the cheese and end up with what the customer thinks is greasy and cheap. Trial and error is going to be your process as every pizza is different as is every oven. Good luck! :!: