Docking and Gum Line?

We dock our pan pizza with a docker before we sauce and cheese to get rid of the air pockets etc… We do have issues with air bubbles during baking mostly with our 1 or 2 topping pizzas even after docking and i think it is a result of the pizzas being pulled direct from the fridge per order. I am wondering after the pizza is docked, does the docked side go up or down? Right now we have it up and I read it should be down?

Also, will a thin coating of vegetable oil help prevent the gumline?

It is my understanding that the purpose of docking is to “spot weld” the top and bottom of the crust together in an effort to reduce the bubbles.

It sound as though you do a similar pizza to mine. I hold the panned dough in the cooler until I am ready to put the pizza together. The way I put my pizzas together is sauce then the toppings and finally the cheese. What I discovered was if I used too much sauce or went heavy with the fresh veggies I would get a gum line. I think the problem comes from the moisture. What I did to cure the problem was lowered the temperature and increased the cook time.

we put most of the topping under the cheese aside from Pepperoni Sausage and diced ham. Thanks for the info, we’ll play around with cook times on a few test pizzas with different toppings etc… I was also thinking of playing with our pizza sauce recipe and try using less oil in it as I understand that is a contributing factor to possible gumlines. What do you cook at Daddio and for how long? We cook at 520 degrees for 7 mins.

We also hold the dough/crust in the pans under the make table (refrigerated). They have been previously “pushed” out twice by hand and we look to the docker to eliminate bubbles and also introduce a levelling of the dough.We go for a vigorous “docking” and end up with full perforation of the dough. These small perforations definately close up upon cooking and can not even be found after cooking. Never have a “bubble” that would require attention in the oven. I mean never. Docking is a very integral part of our process.

Actually, over docking can contribute to the development of a gum line if the docking is so vigorous that it impedes the ability of the dough to rise during baking. Otherwise, docking just controls the size of the bubbles, it does not actually eliminate them. The addition of a very thin layer of oil to the dough skin prior to dressing it may help to some extent in controlling the gum line, as will a reduction in water to the sauce. If you are adding garlic to the sauce without heating it, you might be adding too much water to the sauce in an attempt to thin it down to spreading consistency. The addition of onion or garlic will cause the pectins in the tomato to swell, thickening the sauce, making it into tomato jelly. I better way to add onion and garlic is to put it into a plastic bowl with some water and microwave it until it comes to a boil. You can then add it without causing the tomato to thicken, thus reducing the amount of water that you will need to add to achieve a desired spreading consistency. As Daddio indicated, a longer, cooler bake will also help to reduce the gum line, but the real “kick in the pants” might be the addition of the cheese over the top of the vegetable toppings. We see this being done in Chicago with the thin crust pizzas made there, even with baking times in the 25+ minute range, a soft, almost soggy crust is the norm, rather than the exception with those pizzas. This is because the cheese blankets the pizza, blocking the loss of steam from the vegetable toppings during baking. This in effect, causes the pizza crust to be steamed during baking. We have been doing some research on this very issue lately, and we are finding that the use of a par-baked crust, in combination with an air impingement oven, can do wonders towards improving the situation. We have been able to produce Chicago style thin crust pizzas with a delivery time (order to table) of less than 10-minutes, and the entire pizza is as crispy as the four edge corners are.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

thanks for the info Mr Lehmann, Daddio, what temp do you bake at and for how long?

I bake in a Doyon FC2G conveyor 7.10 at 540

close to us, thx. You don’t have any problems with too much browning of the cheese?

Okay - I may be new to this (only 4 years), but can you please tell me what a gum line is? I’ve heard it mentioned a few times, but I’m not really sure what it means. Thanks…

Gum Line is what appears to be under-cooked dough on the top surface of the pizza crust just under the toppings.

Here is Tom Lehmann’s answer on how to correct the problem from the September 2004 issue of PMQ. So this is not something that is a new problem.

Thanks for the info. I guess we’ve been doing something right as we’ve never had an issue with a gum line. Thanks again for the info!

A gum linje is a gray colored area just beneath the sauce. With a properly baked pizza, this area has a firm, baked texture, but with an improperly baked (for any of many reasons) this gum line becomes soft, and sticky. The easiest wat to identify it is by tearing a slice of pizza apart beginning at the heel (outer edge) portion, and tear towards the center (point) of the slice. Obeserve the tear. If it tears cleanly, like a slice of white bread being torn, you don’t have a gum line, but if it forms a web (we like to call it a feather) as you tear it apart, congratulations, you have a gum line. You can get a false gum line by cutting a slice of pizza and looking at the edge of the slice, yes, it will look something like a gum line, but this is nothing more than compressed dough with toppings dragged down over the cut surface. Another way to check for a gum line is to invert a slice of pizza and cut it from edge to tip with something like a scalpel, or single edge razor blade, some knives are sharp enough too, then pull the two pieces apart. If they stick together, you have a gum line, if they seperate cleanly, you do not have a gum line.
Gum lines detract from the crispiness of the baked pizza, and they also significantly contribute to a tough, somewhat gummy eating characteristic in a DELCO operation.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor