trouble browning crust....

Hi all.

So I know there’s many variables but lately I’m having trouble with my crusts being white and cardboardy. Especially day old dough. I use soybean oil and hi gluten power flour. Could this combo be the reason?

We are limited on space and are in and out of the cooler our dough is in. Could that be an issue?

Appreciate any help.


More info will help. What kind of ovens are you baking in and at what temperature? Could the temp have changed?
What is you dough recipe? Any ingredient changes?

We are using a conveyor at 525 degrees. Always pretty much the same since our old location. Our recipe is salt, sugar, yeast, soybean oil and 105 degree water.

I also wonder if the bottom fingers are plugged as we have issues with the bottom browning too.


a little sugar in the dough makes a big difference when using conveyor ovens…I prefer not using sugar personally, but my last client wants fast pizza & color…

I am wondering about the “day old” thing. Most of us prefer to use dough that is a day old as that handles and cooks better with a fully developed body. For many of us that includes some sugar. In our recipe that sugar is in the form of honey.

I don’t know many operators that would use 105 degree water unless it were an emergency and they needed to make dough for use on the fly! That would produce a very different dough. Generally I think most pizza shops are looking for ways to keep dough temp as low as possible. Some go so far as to put water in the walk-in for dough making use so it will be colder than 40 degrees. We also tend to put freshly rolled dough in the walk-in cross stacked to lower the temp gain from mixing as fast as possible to prevent over-proofing and otherwise weird handling dough.

Not sure if that could be a factor but it is something you are doing that is a bit unusual.

Yeah I always thought the water temp was weird but we’ve been doing it for 20 years and only recently had browning issues. Personally it doesn’t bother me but customers will automatically equate it to being underdone or doughy, which I can’t have either.

Process of elimination… if the recipe has not changed (including brand of flour etc) then I would be looking at the ovens.

What brand and model oven is it. Perhaps a fan is out? Perhaps there is an airflow problem.
I once has a finger plug(this is a place on the oven where the finger was removed and plugged to get the proper top to bottom finger ratio) on the oven come out such that air was blowing out the hole. This threw the bake characteristics way off. Might be a good time to inspect and clean the unit.

Wow, 105 degree water?? I surprised you’re not killing the yeast… But, I’m not the dough doctor. :frowning:

That 105F water won’t kill the yeast but it will certainly increase the dough fermentation rate. Do you cross stack and down stack the dough once you put it into the cooler? With that high temperature you could easily be burning out all of the added sugar to support the increased fermentation rate. Also as the dough ferments it creats acids, (lactic, acetic, and propionic) which will all inhibit crust color development. This is why sourdough breads and rolls are so light in color. Has the oven been cleaned lately? We normally recommend cleaning the oven at least 3 to 4-times a year with normal use. If the oven was recently cleaned make sure it was reassembled correctly with all of the fingers back in the correct configuration. Make doubly sure that the fingers are all properly connected to the manifold.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks dough doc. What I’ve been experimenting with is using 95 degree water and instead of 2 tbsp sugar, adding a 1/2 tbsp. Experienced great browning. I don’t have the luxury of having the room to cross stack. Plus we are in and out of the cooler we keep our dough. Let me reiterate space is extremely limited in my kitchen.

I know the situation well, that is why I mentioned using plastic bread bags to store the dough balls in. Works great, and if you keep the bags under your control you should be able to reuse them several times. The bags also help a lot when you don’t have the most efficient cooler due to in and out traffic or a reach-in cooler as opposed to a walk in cooler. To use the bags, lightly oil the dough balls, and drop them into individual bread bags. Twist the open end of each bag to form a pony tail and tuck it under the dough ball as you place it on a sheet pan or on a rack in the cooler. DO NOT CLOSE THE BAG TIGHTLY using a knot or twist tie, just twist and tuck is all that is needed.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor