Learn the Effect of these Key Variables on Pizza Dough

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Find how to control temperature, time and hydration

Temperature, Time and Hydration

Temperature, Time, and Hydration are key variables in pizza dough.  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 can affect your end result.


Temperature is one of the key variables that you need to 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 Temperature

Higher Temperature

Increases fermentation
Increases rising time
Speeds up yeast


Lower Temperature

Decreases fermentation
Decreases rising time
Slows down yeast


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 Time

More Time

Requires less yeast
Creates larger bubbles
Creates more complex flavors


Less Time

Requires more yeast
Creates smaller bubbles
Creates less complex flavors


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 really 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

More Water

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


Less Time

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

The volume of the mass of dough will also play an important role in the interrelationship of these factors. It not the same a big mass of dough than a small mass of dough. For example, it takes more time for a big mass of dough to change the temperature than it does 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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The PROs at Homemade Pizza Pro is a team of pizza experts led by Andrew Parker. Our goal is to make pizza easy and fun. Along the way, we want you to be the best homemade pizza baker.

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