Dough question for Tom Lehman

Hi Tom

I’m a 5 unit (soon to be 7) independant pizza operator. I’m in the process of having my flour and ingredients pre mixed into 1 bag, so all my employees have to do is dump bag in mixer and add water. My problem is that one of my stores we have has to use 50% less salt because of salt content in the town water is higher than the other stores. The company I’m dealing with suggests going with less salt in the premix and adding the difference to the other stores. Just wondering if you ever come across this problem and if you have a different solution.

What about installing a water filter made for sodium on just the tap that fills the mixer for the dough. A reverse Osmosis will probably work for you to lower the level closer to the other stores but I think a Potassium one would be even better. A quick look online looks like you could get one with a 12000 gallon capacity for under $300 or so and it just installs on any faucet and uses a diverter to run the water thru the filter and into the mixer. This seems like a better solution than custom mix for the one store or having the other 6 add salt. Kind of defeats the purpose. Hope that helps you out. Anyone else run into this? Better or different ideas?

Thanks for your input qfcmike. I called the town water dept and they told me to do the same. I’m going to install a reverse osmosis one first and if that don’t work ill look into the potassium one next. They told me the hardness of the water is about 60% higher than my other locations. I wonder what the big 3 do?

I’m sorry this is off-topic alotadough, but what company are you using to pre-mix your flour and ingredients, and what are the prices and minimums? I’d be really interested in something like this.


The name of the company is Pizza Blends and the min is 40,000lbs (800 bags), the price will come in around 19-20 dollars per 50lb bags.

I’ve never heard of water being so high in salt content that it would influence the amount of salt needed to be added to the dough. Lets put our thinking caps on for a minute. Lets assume 1.75% salt in a typical dough formula. Wit a typical, total percent of a dough formula at something like 164.125% (100% flour;1.75% salt; 2% sugar;0.375% IDY; 2% oil and 58% water) the amount of flour needed to make one pound of dough would be about 9.75-ounces. To provide salt at 2%, your water (9.75 X 58% = 5,6-ounces) would need to contain 9.75 X 2% = 0.195-ounces (5.538-grams) or about 1/5-ounce of salt. This means that the water would need to contain (5.538 divided by 159 grams water) = 3.48% salt (close to the salt content of sea water. Hence, your water must taste an awful lot like salt water? I’m betting not. Sure, you can have a higher salt content at one location over another, but of more importance is the softness of that water as it will have a greater affect upon the dough than the salt content. I’m betting that where you have the higher salt level you will also have the softest water, creating a potentially softer, more sticky dough condition. An easy fix to this problem is to simply ass 0.5% calcium sulfate to the dough at all of your locations. The stuff is cheap. The 0.5% level figures out to about .75-ounce for every 10-pounds of flour in your dough formula. Your mix manufacturer can put it in for you at little extra cost. Sure beats the cost of buying and maintaining an RO water system.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor