Crust density

We currently press our dough into crust that are then packaged and frozen. We have had comments that the crusts are a bit dense and need to be a little more airy or lighter in texture and chew. Any ideas on how to do this while still using a press or is the pressing the culprit? Thanks much. Jerry

When pressing the dough balls into skins, what type of press are you using? Hot press or cold press? If hot pressed is the die heated on one side only or both top and bottom? What is the protein content of the flour you’re using? How much fermentation does the dough ball receive between the time the dough is mixed until its pressed? Lastly, what is the finished dough temperature?
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks Tom.The press is heated both sides at about 300 degrees, it is a manual press.The protein is fairly high as it is made with whole ancient grains, about 15g per 10" skin (9.6 oz). Dough generally rises about 3-4 hours and then it is frozen.

I would suggest stepping down in protein content to address the toughness issue, then you have two options to achieve a more open crumb structure in the dough skin. Option #1 is to include 2 to 3% WRISE (fat encapsulated chemical leavening) in the dough formula. Option #2 is to allow the pressed skins to proof a little prior to going into the freezer. Begin with a 2-minute proofing time and incrementally increase the time until you find what you are looking for. An easy way to do this experimentally is to pull a few skins off of the line and set them aside for a predetermined amount of time, then freeze and hold to replicate a real world experience, then prepare into pizzas by whatever method you elect to use, after baking, allow pizzas to cool for 5-minutes, then using a very sharp serrated blade knife, invert the pizza and cut the pizza in half, turn on edge and compare the crumb structure to that of a pizza made using your normal process.
While two minutes may not seem like a long time, when using a press with a heated head and platten, it can make a very significant difference in the volume/height of the finished crust after baking while creating a more open, porous crumb structure.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks very much Tom