Different dough bake relative to oven type

I take part in events and sometimes we bake our pizza in stone ovens at 460 and other times use conveyor ovens at 460, 6 minutes. When using the dough we make, the crust is close in crispness with either oven.
Because it is sometimes difficult to make our own dough, we recently used frozen dough balls from Lamonica’s. When baked in the stone ovens at 460 the crust is nice and crispy; however, when baked in the conveyor at 460 for 6 minutes the dough is not crispy and too chewy. The top of the pizza is browned sufficiently.
Why the difference in bake?
Perhaps our dough, with a higher moisture content, is better optimized for conveyor bake?
Perhaps the flour protein has a part?
Our Dough:
guisto’s unbleached flour, 11.5-12%protein, 100%
water, 62%
EVOO, 1.85%
salt, 1.85%
IDY, .81%
30 ounce ball/22" pizza
Lamonica’s dough: Proprietary formula but seems to be lower in moisture content. Likely a higher protein flour.
Made with water, flour, oil, salt, yeast-same ingredients as our dough.

Conveyor oven:
XLT 2440 with 4 air tubes on bottom, 1 tube at top in #3 position. XLT recommended putting the top air tube in the #1 position(to minimize top browning) and baking at a higher temperature to crisp the crust.
Lamonica’s suggested higher bake temperature.

Anyone have any insight?

Any number of things can come into play here. Dough weight: is it the same as your or is it different? Dough absorption for the frozen dough is most likely lower than your present, non-frozen dough. Did you allow the frozen dough to warm to the same temperature that you normally bake your fresh dough from? While the ingredients might be the same, the amounts used can be vastly different. Dough processing/dough management is typically very different between fresh dough and frozen dough, with frozen dough receiving little to no fermentation prior to being frozen and this can have a significant impact upon the performance of the dough. The flour can be different too with many frozen doughs made from flour with a minimum of 13% protein content. Depending upon a number of factors, frozen dough can/will exhibit different performance characteristics over its frozen shelf life. The conditions under which the frozen dough is stored, both commercially and at the end user’s facility can/will significantly impact dough performance. To top all of this off, I’d be willing to bet that your “in-house” dough has been tweakes and modified over time to perform in your oven(s), where as the frozen dough has not. All of this is not to say that there are issues with using frozen dough, it’s just that your ovens and dough management, in all probability, are not optimized for the frozen dough, and if that isn’t enough, if you were to look at a different frozen dough (manufacturer) all bets would again be off of the table.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

The Frozen dough is the same weight and temp as our own when going into the conveyor. Given the chewy nature of the dough, safe to way we need more bottom heat relative to top and perhaps a higher bake temperature. Given that there are the maximum of 4 air tubes on the bottom of the oven and 1 on top we are close to maximum bottom to top ratio unless I remove the last top tube and rely on circulating air to brown the top.
Our dough wasn’t tweaked for the conveyor bake. Lucky on that one.

If you are optimizing a dough for conveyor bake, would you tend toward higher moisture content?


Adjusting the absorption of the dough will allow for better dough expansion during baking to give a crispier finished crust characteristic while at the same time imparting a somewhat more tender eating characteristic. That’s all good except for the fact that you can’t make any adjustments to the absorption of a purchased frozen dough Along these same lines, how do you manage your present fresh baked dough?
Forzen dough is typically managed in a totally different manner: Mix (70F) take directly to the divider and rounder, place dough balls into dough box and freeze, transfer to packaging area and package for sale/bulk pack, keep frozed throughout distribution, slack out at point of end use and use.
A fresh dough management procedure will call for substancially more fermentation which can have significant impact upon finished crust crispiness, chewiness/toughness (or lack of), and even crust color. Many frozen dough formulas will contain either L-cysteine (a reducing agent) to improve gluten development in view of the low finished dough temperature and to improve forming properties of the dough into pizza skins. L-cysteine should appear on the product label if used, however, if it is not listed as an ingredient, glutathione was in all probability used. Glutathione is an amino acid, and a reducing agent present in yeast (dead yeast), since the dough already contains yeast, and all of the yeast eventually dies off as a result of baking, the labeling laws allow the manufacturer to lump the amount of “dead yeast” with the live/active yeast to be listed only as “yeast”, hence you never see the reducing agent. Without a reducing agent, the slacked out frozen dough would have all of the manageabilitiey and textural properties of a tennis ball.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Our present fresh baked dough is made with “cold” tap water using the formula above.
Water and ADY whisked, flour and salt added, mixed for 5’, oil added and mixed for 2’. Since we are using 2-20 quart Hobarts, we don’t mix as long as may be optimal so as to avoid overheating them. The balls are cut into 30 oz balls, oiled, loaded 12/tray and immediately refrigerated, with cross stacking. Given that we are at an event, we are at the mercy of the water temperature. Finished dough is around 50-60 degrees. Boxes are placed in 2 door refrigerators to cool. Also, given the amount of dough per bin, and sometimes warmer water temperatures, the dough won’t always cool down before over-expanding. In such case it is re-balled when cooled. Ideally, the dough is refrigerated a minimum of 24 hours, then taken out 2 or so hours before use.

This procedure works fine for 200# flour weekends but is problematic on the 2000# weekends. Thus, for larger events, we looked at using frozen dough balls to take the heat off the mixers and refrigerators. At such larger events, the 2x conveyor is used but as mentioned the finished frozen dough ball crust at present conveyor settings is too chewy.
I am going to fiddle with the oven temps and upper finger position to see if this can resolve the issue.
The dough manufacturer will make custom dough batches if ordered by the pallet. I was hoping it would be as simple as ordering a custom dough ball with 62% or more hydration rate. Based upon your feedback it may not be this simple. I doubt they will have lower protein flour.

The ingredients on the dough ball box lists unbleached flour, water, oil, salt, and yeast. Thus, no L-cysteine.

Before you get into a custom formulated dough you might try this:
Remove the frozen dough balls from the box, lightly oil with salad oil and place onto a lightly oiled sheet pan, place in the cooler to slack-out for about 24-hours, or whatever it takes, then remove from the cooler and cover with a sheet of plastic to prevent drying, allow the dough balls to remain at room temperature for about 90-minutes (you might need to experiment a little to find the correct time for your dough ball weight) then place back into the cooler for another 24-hours. What this does is to impart a level of fermentation to the otherwise unfermented dough making it more like a fresh made dough than a frozen dough.
I’ve got a question for you though, 200# of dough through two 20-quart mixers in a day is an undertaking, but 2000# is a feat! How do you do it? Surely, with volumes like that you must be able to spring for a P-660 or a spiral mixer with decent capacity, and the last time I checked, they were not exactly giving frozen dough away, so it sounds like you might be in a position to realize some significant growth, especially in your dough prep area. This could probably reduce your dough cost by as much as 75%.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks for the feedback Tom. I take part in festivals and the infrastructure is limited thus the dough slack process wouldn’t be feasible. The 2,000# flour shows happen a couple times a year and the dough is made over 5 days at 13.5# flour per batch. Lots of labor but my helpers appreciate the pay. Problem with a larger mixer is it needs to be loaded into the truck and removed for the show. Limited to 120v or 240v single phase power at most events. Difficult to justify $ for such limited use.

The frozen dough performs quite well with the stone ovens. Will see if the conveyor temp and air tubes can be adjusted to better bake it.

Makes perfect sense when you consider all of your hurdles.
The best approach would be to see if you can get the oven profile set up to better bake the frozen pizza dough. With the smaller size ovens that can be problematic. If you are not successful in getting the bake profile modified to give you a better finished pizza, let me know and I can work with you to come up with suggestions for a frozen dough formula that might perform better in your oven.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor