Stretching/tossing cold dough

We make a thin crust pizza using 26OZ dough balls to yield a 22" skin. I’ve always warmed our dough up before opening and either rolled or hand stretched to create the skin. I preferred the hand stretched product as you get a better/bigger crust and better cell structure but have struggled with overstretched areas of dough and tears. We just had a guy start with us this season and the shop he previously worked took dough directly out of the cooler to stretch and we have found this to work much better. You can really pull on the dough to stretch it and don’t have tears and ultra thin areas like in the past with the 50 degree dough. Also, snap back wasn’t an issue or excess bubbles in the crust like I anticipated.
Does anyone else stretch or toss their dough cold?

Yes, We do.

Right out of the cooler, but we also prefer a 72 hour retard period on our dough, at 62% hydration. Plus we use up to 20% of dough from a previous batch every time we make our dough.
And wait to add oil until the last 4 minutes of mixing (Made a huge difference in handling)

We do an ounce per inch of diameter (go ahead, flame away, But it works for us)

even adding more oil in place of H2O helps w/elasticity…

We’re similar to GotRocks - cold dough, 48-72 hour cold proof, our oil goes in after about 1 minute mix time though, and we’re at 18oz for a 20" pie (very thin NY style)

we also cold stretch I find it easier to handle the dough when it is cold vs when it is a bit warmer.

I let the our dough bench rise for at least 2 hours. My take is dough right from the fridge tends to bubble under the toppings and it doesn’t rise very good around the rim-none of the nice air pockets can form because the dough needs to warm and rise on the bench. I am speaking from a NYC pie perspective. Walter

Always have used cold dough. I’ve tested the warming up " tempering" from time to time but have not seen any positive results. Just more complication.

We were talking about bringing the dough weight down due to the better control over stretch with the cold dough. Going to try 22 and 24 for the 22" pies. The 48-72 hour cold proof seems key to get good crust development.

Do you have a higher percentage oil in your crust that helps with the stretchability of the dough at a warmer temp? We’re at 1.5% oil.

I am at 3% with oil
And I quit oiling my balls in the dough box because when it came to recycling older dough , the excess oil was causing some issues. they were too easy to stretch, and tossing was out of the question due to weakness of the dough.
I don’t even oil the bottoms of my boxes anymore, it keeps my dough upright better after several says, I was getting too much spread with oiled boxes.

The warming of the dough makes it more easy to open/stretch. Coming out right from the fridge makes opening it much more difficult. Our oil % is near yours and at times I use no oil with no issues with opening a dough ball. A warm ball will also give you that nice rim rise. Here is a quick video of opening one of our dough balls that has been on the bench for 3 hours. Walter


Just to check it out, we left a dough box out of the cooler during our rush, maybe 45 minutes tops,
within the first 20 minutes I was not liking working with that dough. Is started blowing up too much , and getting very cantankerous to work with. It took way much more bench flour to lube things up.
No notable difference during baking or in our finished product. Ambient temps this evening on the line was around 79-81 F
So I plan to continue stretching right out of the cooler

62% hydration, (35% of the total weight is ice)
0.5% yeast
3% oil
1.7% salt
12 minute mix in a spiral mixer with up to 20% recycled dough included
48-72 hour retard before use

GotRocks: That is great you have a recipe you like as do your customers. There is no sense in fixing what isn’t busted:) Walter

The recipe will clearly determine what works best.

We are NY style deck oven so we are similar to Walters recipe where as the cold dough is a terrible idea. Probably twice to 3 times more difficult to bench and with poor cooking results versus the exact same dough at “room temperature” which benches quickly and easily and cooks wonderfully.

We are also doing a NY style deck pizza. Out hydration level is 65%, 1.5% olive oil.
What hydration level are those that bench it for a few hours at?

Cold, NY style, how would you keep 25 trays of dough evenly tempered for a busy night ? And then only use 16 trays because you guessed wrong and then have 9 trays blow ? sounds great but we are a very tight for space kitchen, when i put 5 trays on dough counter and tell cooks to leave out and use warm, someone always puts them under in refer the old way.