Please help us.... dough doesn't seem to be right.

Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my question. My wife and I have recently taken over a seasonal pizzeria in a small resort town. The previous owner had been in business for over 15 yrs. When we took over we adopted his dough recipe because everyone currently working for the pizzeria knew it very well, and we were told it was correct. It is now the very slow season and I wanted to get information on if we have been doing the dough correctly and what changes can or should be made for our very busy spring.

This is what we were told to do.
2.5 cups olive oil
2.5 cups salad oil
1.5 cups white sugar
1.5 cups table salt
1oz dry active yeast
2 gallons water

mix all of this in hobart on level 1 for 5 minutes.
Dump in 6 scoops high gluten flour and then slowly
add 3-4 more scoops. in all about 20-25lbs
then let this mix until smooth. then immediatley portion into balls and place on a floured metal sheet pan,
sprayed with pan release spray, covered with plastic film and placed into cooler.
We hand toss all of our pizzas to thin crust, then use pizza magic as a release agent, and cook them on a stone deck oven at 450*
As of now the dough is very inconsistent and during busy season gets used within the same day its made.
Please we are very new and would really appreciate your help.
I have no problem revamping the whole process.

thank you for your time.

I don’t run a pizzeria but your process sounds very un-scientific. I don’t use oil or sugar in my pizza so I don’t think I can help there, but when I make pizza it is done by weight not volume. 20-25 lbs to me sounds like a red flag. 5 lbs difference in 20 lbs could make a huge difference on how the dough comes out I think.

If you weigh the ingredients and have a consistent dough management process I think you can have very similar pizza every day.

you need to be weighing all that stuff…
go to the recipe bank on PMQ home page, then get to All American tradtional pizza and the formula and procedure is all there, in Baker %. I think Bakers % is explained there also…simply it is flour is 100% and everything else a % of that, ie…flour 10 pounds, water 60% would be 6 pounds,

hope that helps, keep asking question if not

you dough is critical to your pizzeria,


it is possible that your temperture at the finish of dough mixing is too high you need to finish your dough mixing at 80_85 degree , also when you stack your dough in the cooler you need to cross stack em for 2 hours to get the dough to cool down to cooler temp

pls read the recipes bank here at pmq web site

check the recipe bank…you have way too much sugar & salt for the flour…maybe a little too much H2O as well…I run 50# batches w/14Q of H20, 16 0z sugar, 10 oz. of salt & 6 C of oil (more than most require) & 1.5 oz yeast…mix water/flour/sugar/salt/yeast etc for 2 minutes, then add oil…I use COLD H2O & use my dough 2 days later…

We have 1.75 gallons (14 lbs) of water with 25 lbs of flour, 2 cups (1 lb) of honey and 4 cups (2 lbls) of oil. The comments above are correct. You need to be measuring your ingredients in order to get consistent product.

Thank you all so much…

I purchased some plastic locking dough trays but was told by the previous owner not to use them, to continue to use the metal sheet pans covered with plastic wrap. I think I will start to use the plastic trays.

I will study the recipe bank this evening.

You will like the trays a lot better. Eventually though, going with fiberglass is a good way to go.

I have SKIMMED the recipes and ( please be patient) I must have been all wrong. We have never let our dough sit all night and absolutely never been able to let it get to room temp for 2 hours. Our kitchen is so small and hot in the busy season that we have niether room nor time. We have been making the dough in the morning to be used the same night. It comes right from the refrig under the pizza prep table, gets hand tossed while its cold and baked.

How do you time your dough. I guess I should start making it and get a surplus up, and then always be making it for the next day instead of the same day etc etc. Is that right? I know these are pretty basic questions but it really helps. We have been here 2 years and have been doing very well, but I want to get this dough right.

Again, I really appreciate your time.

We make dough every day for the next day. Ideally, the dough we make one day is to be used the next day. If we run over the sales projecttion, the dough we made that day covers us. If we run short, the dough is still good on day 3.

I am going to repeat something that I was told many years ago “Change only one thing at a time”. Start by Getting your dough consistant by accurately measuring every ingredient. Once you have done that then start looking at other improvements.

If you change too many things at the same time you have no idea what if any of the changes have made you dough better.

I make my dough every day to use the next day.

I have strict guidelines on how each step is done in the process of making the dough from raw ingredients to a finished pizza. This is the only way I know to make a consistant product.

I hope my 2 cents helps.

You have no idea how much this helps. Thank you

Use caution if switching from pans to plastic for cooling.Your dough may blow up in the plastic boxes.Think about how much faster the metal cools down.If you put that dough in the plastic boxes it takes quite a bit longer for the dough to cool.Been there done that .

I didnt thiink about that. I will try a little of both and see which works better for me.

I agree that you should be weighing all of your ingredients rather than volumetrically portioning them. This will give you a much greater level of consistency in your day to day quality, and certainly help with your dough management. Secondly, I see you are using ADY (active dry yeast). This type of yeast must first be hydrated in water at a measured, 100 to 105F, and allowed to set for about 10-minutes before using. I would think about simplifying your dough making process. Consider putting the water in the bowl first (70F) then add the salt, and sugar, followed by the full amount of flour (20#?) and the yeast suspension (added right on top of the flour). Mix for 2 minutes at low speed, then add the oil while mixing for 1-minute at low speed, then mix for 8-minutes at medium speed. The dough should have a smooth, satiny appearance. Yopu’re done mixing. Check the temperature, it should be in the 80 to 85F range. Immediately scale and ball the dough, and place onto your sheet pans, witp the top of the dough balls with a little salad oil and place in the cooler for 2-hours. Then cover with a food contact approved plastic bag or plastic stretch wrap and kiss the dough good night. On the following day, remove about a 2 to 3 hour supply of dough from the cooler and allow it to temper at room temperature for 90-minutes before opening the dough balls into dough skins. Once you begin opening the dough balls, they will be good to use for the next three hours, just be sure to keep them covered so they don’t dry out. Dough that hasn’t been removed from the cooler will keep for up to three days.
As for baking, with a deck oven, 450F is a bit on the low side. You might want to pick up an oven thermometer from any local hardware store just to check it out. If indeed you are baking at 450F, I’d conduct a test where the sugar was deleted from my dough formula, and the oven temperature was increased to 525F and the pizzas are baked right on the deck (assuming that’s what you are doing now?).
Those are my humble thoughts.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Your recipe seems to have a LOT of salt. Our recipe is also for 25 lbs of flour and we use a couple of ounces. When you switch to trays, you need to remember to cross stack them in the cooler to cool for a few hours or the dough will blow up as the other poster stated; the trays hold in the heat of mixing if you don’t do it this way.

WOW thanks everyone… This has been so helpful, you have no idea. I have a couple more questions that have come up. How do you gauge how much dough to remove and let sit at room temp? Sometimes I’ll do 70 pizzas in an evening and other times 10 or so. Also if I dont go through them, do they need to be thrown out? My place is tiny, and my kitchen even smaller, so it gets really hot in summer in the kitchen, how do I adjust for this?

No need to adjust for the temperature.
It’s called an educated guess as to what you’re going to need for use over the next (in YOUR particular case) I’d go with two hours. If you have dough balls setting out after much more than maybe 2.5 hours, I’d recommend fully shaping the dough and brushing it lightly with oil, putting it onto oiled screens and into a wire tree rack in the cooler, leave the dough skins open for about 1/2 hour, then cover with a plastic bag. Use these for the next order(s). To use, remove a screen with the doiugh on it, place on a warm surface, like a warming shelf for 2 minutes, then remove dough from the screen and place onto a lightly floured prep peel, dress the dough skin and peel into the oven, or if using an air impingement oven, just remove the dough skin from the peel, lightly flour and put back onto the screen or baking disk for dressing and baking. If you try to bake the pizza on the screen without this addeed step you will fine that the pizzas will occasionally bake into the screen openings…BUMMER!
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

While that is good advice on changing one thing at a time - especially the switch to retarded dough (meaning kept cold for next day use). That is a dramatic shift in process.

I have a STRANGE dough recipe and ODD dough management process - we use same-day dough. But the recipe reflects that. If you want a good next day dough, like most people have, you MAY need to just up and start off with a whole different recipe.

And finally, yes - “approximate scoops” is a recipe for inconsistency…

MM do you care to share your odd dough managment ?