Dough Question - sheeting scraps = black spots???

We’ve had a couple incidents where our thin crusts get very black on the bottom on the high spots. The charring is uniform and occurs well before the pizza is cooked (we cook at 550 on stone decks). Today we had the issue and I noticed it was only on the last few pizzas we sheeted. The last few had scraps that had been thrown in from the day before and had probably been sheeted 5 or 6 times.

We use a 37% hydrated dough with ap flour. We sheet it very thin (15 oz for a 16" pizza). When we trace the dough, we produce scraps which we usually incorporate the scraps in right away and have never had the problem. I’m pretty confident that incorporating the old scraps is the problem. Any idea why or anything else I should be looking for?

Thanks in advance. Patrick

It sounds to me that your old dough is getting too gassy, which is common as a dough ages. As the old dough isn’t getting incorporated into the freshed dough you will have portions of gassy dough through out the formed dough skin, as you are baking right on the deck, these gas bubbles readily expand, creating a very thin covering of dough over the formed bubble, since the gas contained within the bubble is an excellent insulator, heat cannot penetrate it so the skin of the bubble quickly comes up to a temperature high enough to create charring. Anyone who has ever had bubbles on the bottom of their pizza has experienced this. So, what to do?

  1. Don’t let the dough set so long so as to age and become gassy before using it.
  2. Store your dough scraps under refrigeration.
  3. Rather than add the scraps back to the dough as you are forming the dough into skins, add it back to the next new dough that you make. To do this, keep the scraps refrigerated to minimize the aging process, and limit their use to probably not more than about 15% of the dough weight. Be careful that you don’t overload your mixer with that low absorption dough.
  4. Convert the scrap dough into something else, such as breadsticks, garlic knots, etc.
    Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor