Talk to me about hot and cold water and pizza dough

Ok so i am part of a locally run small 20 store franchise and our dough reciepe calls for hot water. about 120 degrees.

But when our dough is fresh it cooks way faster and is doughy in the center and you have to push the pan back in the oven on combo pizzas to get them to fully cook. I have always thought this was stupid cause i have been raised on cold water dough before this style of pizza

Our dough reciepe is 1.5 gallons water, 8 oz salt 12 oz yeast 12 oz sugar 16 oz oil and 25 lbs flour and hot water. we ball the dough up and roll it out with a rolling pin and then place the dough in the pans and let them proof for an hour or so until they are fluffly and then put them away.

Well over the last few hot days the dough has over proofed and fallen in the pans. So today i used cold water and the pizzas cook way better in the oven and are not doughy and are cooking better and they still proofed fine just took alittle longer.

My question is what does the hot water do that is effecting the cooking of my dough, and im going to watch this over the next few days and see if it fixes my dough problem

any thoughts would be helpfull

The first thing you do when analyzing any dough recipe is spell it out in bakers percentage. Here’s what your recipe looks like:
25# flour: 100%
1.5g waterx8.35#/gallon: 49%
sugar, 12oz: 3%
yeast, 12oz: 3% (you didn’t specify the type of yeast)
oil. 16oz: 4%
Salt, 8oz: 2%

Here’s the recipe for NY pizza crust found in the recipe bank:
Flour: 100%
water: 58 to 65%
salt: 1.75%
Olive Oil: 1%
Compressed yeast: .5 to .75%
sugar: 0%

Given that:

  1. yeast is more active in warm water than cold water. Typical maximum recommended temp is 100-110F.
  2. sugar stimulates yeast activity
    3)active dry yeast and instant yeast are more active than compressed

What can you deduce from the above information?

120 degrees kills yeast.

Hot dough, if you have not killed the yeast, will be over-active and have a short shelf life.

Balance the amount of yeast with the temp and the desired shelf life.

Note: Nobody I know in the business uses hot water.

Holy CARP! 120F water! That’s getting close to the thermal death point for the yeast. Plus the yeast, while the type is not specified, is most likely compressed yeast at 3% (3 to 4 times what is considered as normal for pizza dough). A couple things are hapening here. One, with such hot water, the yeast is being kicked into high gear, meaning that it is fermenting very fast, and you are also allowing for the growth of what might be undesirable bacteria in the dough, resulting in some potentially “off” flavors in the finished crust. By using cooler water, you are regulating the yeast activity to a more controlled rate, and also adjusting the temperature to a range where it is more friendly to the yeast, resulting in yeast becoming the dominant organism growing in your dough, not the bacteria. Because you are better controlling the rate of fermentation with cooler water (about 65 to 70F is ideal in most cases) the yeast is producing less acid, so it isn’t as likely to collapse, and since it is also producing less alcohol, the store doesn’t smell like a brewery either. All of thei leads to better yeast performance when the dough is in the oven, so the dough becomes better leavened (rises better) and as a result it bakes out better too.
If you can convince the management of the error in their ways, you should receive the Empoloyee Of The Year Award.
If you or anyone else wants to discuss this in greater detail, please feel free to contact me at 800-633-5137 (ext. 165) or e-mail me at
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

i should have been clearer about the yeast and salt. I meant 12 oz as in a cup and a half. Not in weight, that goes for the sugar and salt and yeast and the oil


If you are using IDY and you mix it in with the flour before adding the 120F water, I think the flour should act as a buffer and protect the yeast from harm, especially if you work fast to prepare the dough and limit the contact of the 120F water with the IDY. However, that may not work as well with fresh yeast.

What kind or style of pizza are you making that requires the method you have been using?


Ewwwe, volumetric portions again. Can you put those on a scale to get a weight measure. You can’t do bakers percent or much else with a “recipe” that is given in volumetric measures.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

So i just put it on a scale and these are weights

salts 6 oz

sugar 9 oz

yeast 9 oz instant

oil 16 fuild oz

and i was wrong about the water temp i messured what i used to do and it was about 105- 110 degrees

Well…Lets see what the dough formula now looks like in bakers percent.
Flour: 25# 100%
Salt: 6-oz. 1.5%
Sugar: 9-oz. 2.25%
Oil: 14-oz. 3.5%
Instant Dry Yeast: 9-oz 2.25%
The IDY level is very high for a pizza dough formulation. Typically we use IDY at 0.375% and seldom ever, more than 0.5%, much less 2.25%. This is equivalent to about 7% compressed yeast, which is more than is used in most bakery products with the exception of pastry items. Think about a sweet dough (cinnamon rolls) in these doughs we typically use something at around 9% compressed yeast, and hamburger buns are typically made with about 5% compressed yeast, so you can see how high your yeast level really is. Using 100 to 110F water, your finished dough temperature has to be in the mid to high 90’s or higher, unless you’re mixing the dough in Nome, Alaska, in the middle of the winter, with the windows open. In any case, your doughs are too hot, and with dough temperatures in the 90’s or above, you run the risk of allowing bacteria to become the dominant or a more dominant culture in the dough which can result in off or strange flavors in the finished crust, not to mention the finished crust tasting much like home made bread (not a bad flavor if that is what you’re looking for). Most home made breads are made with way too much yeast. Again, as I said before, the high dough temperature along with the high yeast level is what is responsible for the dough having a tendency to collapse, exhibit reduced shelf life (probably not much more than a day in the cooler). I would also think that you would be experiencing a maddening problem with the dough exhibiting a propensity to blow in the cooler. Again, all due to the high yeast level and high finished dough temperature. I would suggest dropping the yeast level down to not more than 0.5% (2-ounces for 25# of flour) and reducing the water temperature to something in the 70 to 75F range. Then manage the dough normally (e-mail me at if you need a copy of a dough management procedure) and I’m betting that you will get much improved dough performance over the life of the dough while stored in the cooler, which should be two to three days.
Again, let me know if you have any questions.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor


Does the fact that we are a PAN pizza and its a deep dish change anything?

we like our crust to be very light and fluffy and rather tall

With a deep-dish style of pizza you can use a bit more yeast, but this usually means something in the 0.5 to 1% IDY range. There are just too many disadvantages to using high yeast levels as we have already discussed.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Hello Tom, I could use your help. I tried the phone # and extension but it said it could not be reached. Please email me I have some dough questions. Thank you.

you might be better off emailing him. It might take a week or 2 but he’ll get back to you. Always does me.