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How to Control Temperature, Time, and Hydration for Pizza Dough

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How to Control Temperature, Time, and Hydration for Pizza Dough

Temperature, Time, and Hydration are key variables in pizza dough.  Once you learn how to control them, you will dominate your pizza game!

So, you need to understand how they affect each other and how you can control them to make the best dough. 

You will see a summary of how these factors affect your end result.

Don’t forget to read all the way to the end, where we tell you exactly what to do depending on the result you want to achieve.

Let’s get started!

Pizza Fermentation Temperature

Temperature

Temperature is one of the key variables you must pay close attention to. The temperature of the dough, the refrigerator, and the kitchen all make a huge difference in your end result.

The humidity in the air is of equal importance. The flour in your dough will absorb more or less water depending on the humidity of the air. As a result, you can have a wetter or drier dough.

How to Control Baking Temperature

Lower Temperature

Higher Temperature

  • Increases fermentation
  • Increases rising time
  • Speeds up yeast

Pizza Fermentation Time

Time

Time is another key variable factor. Long, slow-rising times create the deepest flavors. These days, people are constantly looking for the fastest dough, with no rising and no kneading.

That is fine, you can still make pizza this way, but we guarantee you it will never be as tender and flavorful as you would have a little patience. The secret is slow!

How to Control Baking Time

Less Time

  • Requires more yeast
  • Creates smaller bubbles
  • Creates less complex flavors

More Time

  • Requires less yeast
  • Creates larger bubbles
  • Creates more complex flavors

Pizza Dough Hydration

Hydration

As a general rule, the higher the hydration of your dough, the lighter, puffier, more tender, and crisper the dough will be.

You would think that more water would make the crust soggy, but what happens is that when it bakes, it creates steam that helps the dough expand, giving the crust a crisp exterior while the inside stays moist and soft.

How to Control Hydration

Less Water

  • Retards the yeast
  • Increases fermentation
  • Increases rising time
  • Creates fewer bubbles
  • Creates less steam

More Water

  • Accelerates the yeast
  • Decreases fermentation
  • Decreases rising time
  • Creates more bubbles
  • Creates more steam

Tips for the Best Pizza Dough

Here’s What to Do to Achieve the Best Results for Your Pizza Dough

If you want more flavor in your pizza dough, use less yeast and let it rest for longer.

If you are in a rush and need pizza dough quickly, add more yeast and let it rest for a shorter period of time.

If you want a crispy crust, add more water to the dough for a high-hydration

If you want a bigger hole structure in your crust, add more water for a high-hydration dough.

If you want a flat pizza crust with no holes, add less water and more yeast and let it rest for a shorter period of time.

Here’s What the PROs at Homemade Pizza Pro Use and Recommend to Ferment Pizza Dough

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Here are the Recommended Baker’s Percentages per Pizza Style

IngredientNeapolitanNY-StyleSicilianChicago Deep
Flour100%100%100%100%
Water65%65%75%60%
Yeast1%1%1%1%
Salt2%2%2%2%
Oil5%2%
Sugar4%
Lard4%
Malt3%2%
Butter4%
Cornmeal5%

Additional Pizza Dough Hydration Resources

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Hydration Percentage by Pizza Style

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Making a pizza is all about getting your pizza dough to have just the right amount of hydration. If you’re looking to get the best results this guide can help you find the specific pizza dough hydration according to your desired pizza style.  Let’s check it out!

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If you’re looking to get the best results, this scientifically proven formula to calculate, manage and control pizza dough hydration will get you on track to become the best pizza baker! So, let’s get started.

How to make a crispy crust

Here’s the Secret to Making the Perfect Crispy Pizza Crust

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Are you tired of making homemade pizza that has a crust that never seems to get crispy enough? We’ve got the answer to this problem! Our assortment of tips and methods will solve your problem once and for all. You’ll get better results in how to make a pizza crust crispy and crunchier than ever! So, let’s find out!

What Water can Reveal about pizza

Best Water for Pizza Dough: Temperature, Quality, and Hydration

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In this article, we are going to dive deep into the mysterious ways of water. In conjunction with flour, yeast, and salt, it can make the most spectacular pizza dough.

Here’s a video brought to you by Ooni on Pizza Dough Hydration

Additional Fermentation Resources

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How to Proof Pizza Dough Fast

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How to Proof Pizza Dough Fast Behind every tasty pizza dough is a secret.  Secrets behind its fantastic flavor and …

Pizza Fermentation Guide

Pizza Dough Fermentation: The Ultimate Guide to Pizza Perfection

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Learn the correct process of pizza dough fermentation and why this is so important in the pizza-making process.

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Degassing Pizza Dough: The Key to a Crispy, Airy Crust

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Discover what pizza dough degassing is and why so important in the pizza-making process. See how it works and check the best practices.

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What is Retarding Dough? Find the PRO Answer and Everything You Need to Know

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In this article, you will learn what retarding dough is and why it is the key to your homemade pizza success. When you decide to make pizza at home, the most challenging but most important part of the process is making the pizza dough.

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Pizza Dough Proofing Like a Pro! – Get Your Dough Right!

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Pizza Dough Proofing Have you ever heard the phrase the proof is in the pudding? In this guide, you will …

The Last Slice

The volume of the mass dough will also play an essential role in the interrelationship of these factors. It is not the same as a big mass of dough as a small mass of dough.

For example, it takes more time for a big mass of dough to change temperature than for a smaller mass.

Now that you’ve learned how these key variables affect your dough play with them and experiment to get the kind of dough you want in the time that you have available.

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Additional Resources

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How to Mix Pizza Dough

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Defining Pizza Crust Thickness

Pizza Dough Thickness (The Easy Guide on How Thick Should Pizza Dough Be?)

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The crust is one of the deciding factors in most pizza styles, right from the thin crust ones such as New Haven and New York style to thick crust pizzas such as the Sicilian and the Detroit. So no matter what pizza style you like, the crust is always a deciding factor. So how thick your crust should be? Let’s find out!

Hydration Percentage by Pizza Style

7 Hydration Percentages by Pizza Style that Actually Make the Best Pizza

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Making a pizza is all about getting your pizza dough to have just the right amount of hydration. If you’re looking to get the best results this guide can help you find the specific pizza dough hydration according to your desired pizza style.  Let’s check it out!

Doughball Weight by Pizza Size

Pizza Dough Weight Chart: The Ultimate Cheatsheet by Pizza Style

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Most of us know that we should be weighing our ingredients for the best accuracy and consistency in baking. The same principle goes for pizza dough! So if you would like to know how much dough you need for your pizza, jump right in! Don’t forget your FREE PDF!

Baker's Percentage Charts for Pizza

Baker’s Percentage Charts: Easy Way to Create Unique Pizza Recipes

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This baker’s percentage chart will give you a starting point to develop your own recipe.  These are the four main base recipes that can be adapted to any other pizza style. 

Homemade Pizza FAQs

How to Start Making Pizza?


Making pizza at home is actually very simple and anyone can do it.  If you don’t have a mixer you can still make the dough by hand.

Check our guide on How to Get Started to begin your pizza-making journey.

Do I need a pizza oven to make pizza at home?


No, you can make pizza in a regular kitchen oven, and these days you can even make pizza on your stove or your grill. 

Check our Recommended Oven Section to find the oven that best suits your needs.

What is the best flour for pizza?


The best flour for pizza is flour that contains a high-protein content.  Of course, it will depend on the kind of oven you have.

In terms of the brand, we’ve found that Caputo Chef’s Flour works best for home ovens while Caputo Pizzeria works best for high-temperature ovens. 

To learn more about flour and why we think Caputo is best check the Best Flour for Pizza article.

How long should I bake pizza?


The time to cook your pizza will depend on the kind of pizza you are making and the kind of oven you have. 

The lower the temperature the longer will take to cook your pizza.  On average it will take 12 to 15 min to cook pizza in a 500F oven. 

For details on specific cooking times and temperatures check the Guide to Oven Temperature and Cooking Time article.

What kind of yeast should I use for pizza?


To make pizza dough you can use any yeast you have available.  You can use fresh, instant, or active dry yeast. 

The amount of yeast to use will vary depending on which one you use. 

We found that active dry yeast gives the best results, to find out why we think is best to check Yeast: Here is What You Need to Know article.

What is the best hydration percentage?


On average water should be 65% of the total weight of flour.  For example, if your recipe calls for 500g of flour, you should add 325g of water (500 x .65 = 325).

Of course, the temperature of the oven will also have an impact on your final result. 

Check our guidelines our Baker’s Percentage Charts for the best results.

For more pizza questions, check our Pizza FAQs Page or Contact Us.​

When in Doubt, Check Our Resources

To help you become a better homemade pizza baker, we developed these reference sources you can use when making any of our recipes.

Conversion Charts

Find our conversion charts for volume, weight, length, and temperature.

Pizza Guides

Check our guides on products and everything related to homemade pizza.

Pizza Calculators

Make your recipes with our pizza calculators. Let us do the numbers!

Pizza Glossary

Hundreds of pizza words. If we don’t have it, send it to us, and we’ll publish it.

Check Amazon’s Pizza-Making Must-Haves

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A Must-Have
Etekcity Lasergrip 800 Digital Infrared Thermometer

Point, aim, and measure to get the results you need. The Lasergrip 800 can be used anywhere. Use it for cooking, car maintenance, real estate, electrical engineering, and more. Measure extreme temperatures ranging from -58°F (-50°C) to 1382°F (750°C) without ever needing to come in contact. Its versatile functionality and modernized simplicity can do all of the work for you. 

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Highly Recommended
NerdChef Steel Stone NerdChef Steel Stone

Making great crusts traditionally requires a 700-1000F wood-fired oven. Nerdchef Steel Stone replicates that performance in a home oven with its super-high heat transfer ability - transferring heat energy 20 times faster than ceramic. It creates beautiful and crispier crusts, gorgeous blistering throughout, and it cooks faster.

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Best for Standard Home Ovens
Antimo Caputo "00" Chefs Flour (Red)

The Chef's flour is a general-purpose, high gluten flour that works well for many recipes. "Tipo 00" refers to how refined the flour is. Chef's Flour is best for those who want to bake in their traditional home oven up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit! 

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Enjoy!

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