Crispy crust... Dough or oven/heat


I’m trying to get a very crispy light crust, is this dough or heat in the oven. Where we live our flour is bread/cake etc etc we don’t have 00 flour… I’m using a wood fired oven. Any suggestions? Would oil in the dough help? More rather than less water? If the oven is too hot the cheese seems to burn before the base gets crispy…
Any tips would be appreciated.

Experiment with more water.

This is a case where more water is better. To get the crispiest crust possible, use as much water as you can, and still be able to handle the dough in a reasonable manner, then hand stretch to form the pizza skin, and don’t work to get the thinnest dough skin possible, a little thicker is actually going to give you a crispier crust than a super thin one. Prepare your pizzas on a wood prep-peel using dusting flour under the dough to ensure good release from the peel (I like to use equal parts of white flour, semolina flour and fine corn meal, but if all else fails, you can use just corn meal, or talk to your flour supplier to see if you can get some food grade wheat bran, it works great as a peel dust), then bake your pizzas right on the hearth. As for dough formulation, just make sure you don’t have any sugar, milk, or eggs in the formula/recipe as these will cause early browning in the oven, leading to shorter baking times.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I’ll vote for the opposite - we use a lot less water. 34% water (8.5lb) to AP flour (25 lb) with 1 lb of whirl (so about 37-38% total hydration). The resulting “dough” (really looks more like meal) is risen for 18-24 hours at room temperature. We pass it through the sheeter 3 times and it makes a fantastic cracker crust (about 15 oz per 16" skin). It’s labor intensive for sure, but my guys are up to 1 skin/minute and it’s way different than any other in our market place.

PM me if you want the whole recipe…


I was having issues with this.
Trying to make the dough drier if you will. Made it easier to handle and ball.
Had a few complaints and I noticed myself that the crust was tougher.
I read this thread and the MORE WATER comment.
I indeed added more to make it just about to where is is not manageable.

It fixed my problem. Crust is beautiful now. Just like before when I was not really paying attention that it was wet.
So for me wetter is better.


My money is on Tom Lehmann


I’m on about 44% hydration, when Tom talks about more water any idea of percentages? I tried 60% which was nice but not cracker crispy?

I’m also find fermentation time important, the longer the fermentation the less tough.

I see some people don’t use yeast, any comments?

More water in the dough (higher absorption) will give you a crispier crust, but since you used the operative word “cracker”, I will assume you are looking for a cracker type crust chatacteristic. To get that you have two options. The first is to reduce the dough absorption to something in the 35 to 40% range (exact amount will be determined by your flour), mix the dough in low speed just until it comes together, forming a dough, then scale and ball (the dough balls won’t be pretty but don’t worry), wipe the dough balls with oil and refrigerate 24 to 48-hours, sheet the dough to size (this dough must be formed by sheeting), and trim if necessary. The other approach is to use the cracker crust dough formula that I have posted in the RECIPE BANK. This makes a great, cracker crust pizza, just don’t over mix the dough.
As for a dough without yeast, that is an option too, but the crust must be parbaked to achieve the desired cracker characteristic. Use your standard dough formula (without the yeast), reduce the absorption to 45%, mix the dough just until it comes together, scale and ball, cover with a sheet of plastic to prevent drying. Allow the dough to hydrate for about 2-hours, then form into pizza skins by passing the dough through a sheeter/roller to a finished thickness of about 1/8-inch, cut the dough to desired diameter, place on a screen and parbake at 400F until the crust is just set. The crusts can then be inventoried for later use, or then can be dressed and baked as a regular pizza right away.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Tom is the man! I want to reiterate a point he made. We have made between 2 and 5 batches of low hydration dough each day for 3 years now. It is crucial that you do not overmix it! You just need a few turns to get the dough a consistent scrap. It will not look like dough. As we rise at “room temperature” we have to make constant adjustments to the hydration level based on the ambient temperature and humidity +/- 4 ounces of water. Additionally, you must let it rise for 15 hours. 18-24 is better. The dough is a bit hard to work with, but we run it through the sheeter 3 times - once on the top to get a workable piece of dough then twice through the bottom to get a thin skin.

We use about 15 ounces for a 16" pizza. Sheeting is fairly labor intensive with one guy taking about 1 minute per skin. Two guys working can get it down to about 40 seconds. We place them 25 to a pan with floured pan liners separating each one. We make between 75 and 175 per day. They will last 2 days in the walk-in. Much beyond that and I get gas bubbles that cause substantial charring. We bake on a deck at 550 for about 7 minutes. IMHO, this makes a pizza crust that is substantially different than other thin crusts and will help distinguish you in your market. Just don’t try it in Kansas City please :slight_smile:


When making a parbaked crust like that, what is the best way to hold them, and for how long? Refrigerated, frozen, room temp?



Parbaked crusts are actually fully baked, they just don’t have the color yet, not the crispiness. As such, they are best stored at room temperaturejust like any other bread item. I allow them to thoroughly cool, then place them into a food contact approved plastic bag and set them aside for future use. They can be held in this manner for up to 4-days.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Not to derail, but do you have a contact for ordering those in bulk?

Any food service supplier can provide you with plastic bags approved for food contact. I like to use the larger size that you can slip over an 18 X 26 bun pan. Simply stack the parbakes on the bun pan and then cover with the plastic bag. For smaller size parbakes you might be able to get away using bread or bun bags, also available in bulk from your food supplier.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor