Finished crust colour.

I was wondering if anyone could give me a few ideas as to how I can get a more golden/crispier crust. I have been experimenting with Tom’s basic dough recipe, minus the sugar. I started experimenting with high gluten flour, and it seems to be producing a darker crust. Prior to this i have been using enriched flour, and providing someone doesnt forget the pizza in the oven, it comes out a lighter in colour. I have read in numerous posts that high gluten flour is the best to use for medium to thin crust pizzas, but is there anyting that I can add that wil give me a golden coloured and cripsier crust?
Any help, suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

if you can, put the sugar back into the recipie… the more sugar the darker the crust will become.

Thats why I took the sugar, I would like to get the crust a little lighter and golden in colour.

Can you provide the exact recipe you are using, preferably with baker’s percents if you have them, and also tell us what kind of oven you are using (it sounds like you are using a deck oven)?

You might get more crust color by using a dark honey or a nondiastatic barley malt syrup in lieu of sucrose (table sugar) but the amount to use will depend on the type of oven you will be using. Adding sweet dairy whey (baker’s grade) to the dough formulation will also add more crust color without adding sweetness but whether the coloration is “golden” in your view is something you would have to assess.

Crispiness can often be increased by using a lower bake temperature and a longer bake time but that may not always be easy to achieve if you are using sugar (in whatever form) and baking in a deck oven (without using screens).


The recipe Im using is the following: flour 100%(each batch is 45lbs) water: 58%, salt 1.5%, compressed yeast: .75%, oil: 1%-1.25%. The ovens I am using are real old workhorses,General Electric electric deck ovens. Cooking temp. hovers around 550 F +/- 5 F.
I havent tried using honey, althogh I have mulled around with the idea. My goal is to get a golden brown colour with a longer lasting crispiness factor.

Here’s the “low-down” on crust color.
Flour enrichment has no influence on finished crust color. It is only the vitamin and mineral package that is added to the flour to give white (patent grade) flour the same nutritional value as its whole-wheat counterpart, minus the fiber content.
The addition of browning aids such as sugar, milk, eggs, or whey just increase the rate at which the crust browns during baking. As such, these crusts are baked less than crusts made without any added browning aid, hence, they are actually less crispy. Yes, they might be a little more crispy when they are first taken from the oven, but within a minute or so, the crispiness is gone.
The answer is to delete sugars/browning aids and give the crust a stronger, slightly longer bake. If you are not developing sufficient crust color under your present baking conditions, possible consider the following:
Increase baking temperature
If baking in a deck oven, verify the actual baking temperature (a good baking temperature in a deck oven is 500 to 525F)
Increase baking time
If you are baking on a bright (silver colored) pan/trat, change over to a dark colored tray/pan.
If you are baking in a pan without any oil in the pan, add a small amount of oil to the pan to improve the heat transfer from the pan to the dough.
If you are baking in an air impingement oven, confirm that all of the bottom fingers are open, and clean.
If you are sheeting your dough, consider that the dough will transfer much of the bottom heat right through the dough into the sauce, where it will be dissipated as stean during baking, this results in a crust that is difficult to get well browned and crispy. Consider hand tossing/forming or pressing an an alternative forming method, or be prepared for a very long baking time.

If you wish, please feel free to call me at 800-633-5137 (ext. 165) to discuss in greater detail.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thank you for your informative reply Tom. I wil try lowering the tempurature to give it a longer bake time and see if that alters the results. As to how the pizzas are opened, well we start kneading the dough balls by hand(usually around 10 seconds or so depending on size), then we open them up with a rolling pin a bit more, I find that this gives th edough a more uniform and leveled shape, and then they are finished off by tossing them for a bit more. And as for the pizza pans we use, they are all black and have been tempered over years of use. We coat them with a bit of oil, but latley i have been using a dab of shortening, the results are not much different.
I will post another reply after I have lowered the tempurature and worked a batch of dough. :smiley:

Your method for opening the dough balls is similar to my favorite method, that is to sheet the dough ball out to about 2/3 of the desired finished diameter, then finish opening it by hand. You are absolutely correct. It gives you a much more uniform dough thickness across the entire dough skin. Your pans sound as if they are well seasoned, so that should not be a problem. I’m thinking that bake time/temperature might be the culprit here.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I will attempt my first batch with lower cooking tempurate tomorrow and reply back on here. I was wondering if the ovens are more or less ready to meet their maker, their haydays are long gone but they are still churning out a good finished product. They were purchased 2nd hand back in 67 when the restaurant opened, we used the original plates up till the late 90s, I was told that back then in the 60s and 70s, the plates had asbestos in them and they retained te heat, did or would this play a role in cooking time and performance?

The old decks did indeed contain asbestos, but there was never any need to replace them. The biggest problem with asbestos comes when you cut or drill into it and create asbestos dust. Those transite decks generally baked quite well and had good heat sinking capacity. What did you replace them with?
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Yesthat is quite true, I remember when I first started working with them and they still had the old plates, the would produce superb pizzas. After,over time when the old plates cracked and we replaced them, I cant definitely know with what material, but I would guess whatever material that was legal to use after asbestos plates became a health hazard and were illegal. :frowning:

Hey Tom,hows it going? I tried lowering the tempurature(it was burning at 550f) I lowered it to 525f and the bake time was around 8 1/2 minutes. The browning still persisted. Maybe it was the water content? i had 355 OZ flour with 58% water(now does the oil count as water because its a liquid or is it considered as extra)?

Lets bring the oven temperature down again to 500F. Just confirming that there isn’t any sugar, eggs, milk/dairy products in the dough formula. Any of these can result in premature or excessive browning of the crust during baking. While oil will have a slight softening affect on the dough as compared to shortening, it shouldn’t affect the browning characteristics unless used at levels above 5% of the flour weight. Your dough absorption of 58% (206-ounces of water) is probably close to the max. I normally like to be at about 56% (199-ounces). The main thing to watch for is the way the dough handles. If it handles well with 58% absorption, I wouldn’t be too concerned.
What type of oven deck do you have?
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Ok Tom,Ill try that on the next batch. Only thing is, our ovens are old,they are not what they used to be, if tempurature is too low the pizzas tend to boil beacause the oven plate doesnt seem to hold enough heat, and they tend to be runny after. But iI will try at 500 f, and I’ll try tweaking the tempurature accordingly.
Im using general electric deck ovens, which,lets just say should have been put out to pasture lonnng ago. In their heydays they were work horses. When I first started working here,the more pizzas that went into them during rush times,the better they performed.
I will re-post to let you know how the lower temp was. :smiley:

So shortening will create a crispier crust? Or just a firmer one?


I dont know if this question is directed to Tom or me. If it is to me,then here goes,lol. I havent tried using shortening in replacing the oil in the dough formula. I have just been expirementing with shortening on the pizza disks instead of brushing them with oil. It seems to have the same effect, mind you, i have not been using alot of shortening. As for using shortening in the dough formula,thats a good question. Tom,anyone,? Any feedback?

And as for lowering the oven tempurature as Tom suggested in an early reply, I did. Crust colour was about the same,a touch lighter, but it had much better colour(more golden) on the bottom. And it was crsipier, only problem, was that, the cheese overcooked a little and I was really crazy about the colour on that. But again,that is possibly due to the old ovens we are using.
Im wondering if impingment ovens will work better. I am looking into replacing my old deck ovens with Lincolns, anyone work with the low profil/fastbake Lincolns?
Any info would be appreciated. :smiley:

if you want your crust to be criespier and brown-looking – put some olive oil on a crust right before you cook it.

Im looking to make the crust a bit more golden in colour, as opposed to brown.

Delete any sugar in the dough formula to achieve a more “golden” finished crust color.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor