Pizza Dough Hydration: The Scientifically Proven Formula for Success


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Pizza dough hydration is what making a pizza is all about. Getting to know your pizza dough to have just the right amount of hydration is the key to making the perfect homemade pizza.

No doubt that you will come across pizza dough hydration levels, especially when it comes to its effect on pizza dough. We’ve created this guide to help you understand the basic principles.

Once you understand hydration which hydration level is right for you, and how to adjust your hydration percentage to get specific outcomes for your pizza, it can be a real game-changer.

At first, it can be a little tricky to grasp. But don’t worry we will explain everything in detail.

So, 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.

What is Pizza Dough Hydration?

Pizza dough hydration is a simple math expression that is essentially the ratio of water to flour by weight expressed in percentage. It tells you how much water your dough contains with respect to the total flour.

For example, if you have 700 grams (milliliters) of water and 1000 grams of flour, and will mean that there is 70% water hydration (700/1000 = .7 x 100= 70%). 

Pizza Dough Hydration Formula

Low Hydration Pizza Dough

A low hydration pizza dough is a dough that is mixed at 50 to 60% hydration. Due to the low amount of water in the dough it is very difficult to work with as it is not as flexible, it doesn’t rise well and the final crust will feel dry, dense, and hard.

As a form of example, the true Neapolitan pizza has a 55% hydration, that is because is baked in a wood-fired oven at over 900 degrees Fahrenheit and bakes pizza in 90 seconds. The baking process is so fast that larger amounts of water are not required.

High Hydration Pizza Dough

A high hydration pizza dough is a dough that is mixed at 70% and over. This is a very wet dough, as a result, you will need a dough scraper to manage it. This wetter dough rises faster and higher. The result is a crust with larger air pockets, better pizza crust texture, and puffier.

What Ingredients Counts Towards Hydration Percentage?

In pizza-making, only liquids such as water or milk would count for hydration percentage purposes. Other ingredients such as oil which is considered a fat do not count as a liquid.

Does Water Make a Difference in Pizza Dough?

Every pizza dough recipe calls for water. Water is the second most important ingredient after flour; it allows your pizza dough to develop the right consistency. It also gives the yeast in the dough the perfect environment in which to ferment and reproduce.

Water will determine your ability to handle the dough and the overall texture of your pizza. Since your dough has yeast that activates your flour, the water percentage will create various flavors and consistencies. 

The role of water goes even further. When pouring in yeast, sugar, and salt, water lets these ingredients disperse across the pizza dough. These additional ingredients also dissolve amongst your dough thanks to water.

Arguably, the most significant water duty in pizza dough is it allows for gluten strands development. Gluten, a wheat protein, acts as a binder for your pizza ingredients. Without water, your pizza will lack texture. You also have a denser dough since gas bubbles can escape during the fermentation process. 

To learn more about water and find how it affects the results of your pizza check this article.

What Water can Reveal about pizza


Astonishing Secrets Water Can Reveal About Your Pizza

Pro Tip

Remember that the coarser flours like wheat will take more water. For example, the recipe may call for all-purpose flour but all you have on hand is only wheat flour. … In those circumstances, you would need to add 5 – 10% more water than what the recipe calls for.


Importance of Hydration Percentage in Pizza Dough

Hydration is one of the essential elements in mixing pizza dough and in the pizza’s final appearance since the hydration percentage level helps the baker control the dough’s composition to the point that you can predict the texture of the crumb.

In pizza, the crumb refers to the pattern and size of holes inside of the crust. In general terms, the more water in the dough, the more open the final crumb. By controlling the amount of water that goes into the dough, you can predict your pizza’s outcome.

Hydration also affects the texture of the dough, elasticity, and level of stickiness.

Hydration also has a direct effect on how fast or slow your dough will rise. So that you know, the higher percentage of hydration also makes your pizza dough rise more quickly. It also tends to make the dough very sticky and harder to work with.

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How Hydration Determines your Pizza Style

Understanding what kind of pizza you’re making always comes down to personal preference. 

The ratio of hydration will determine the correct type of dough for your pizza. 

Yet, many specific types of crust apply to select pizza styles. In an Authentic Neapolitan pizza, you will have an airy crust, while in a New York-style pizza, the crust is thinner and less airy.

So, if you aim for a New York-style pizza, always stick to the percentage of water that will give that result; otherwise, you may end up with a different pizza style. 

Hydration Level Effect on Dough Effect on Final Pizza Recommended Pizza Style
50% – 60% – Firm
– Not Sticky
– Easy to Handle
– Tight Crumb
– Crust – Soft Texture
Neapolitan Pizza
60% – 70% -Slightly sticky
-Supple
-Tacky
– Medium Crumb
– Crust- Moderate Firm Texture
New York Style
70% or More – Loose
– Sticky
– Slack
– Harder to handle (Shape)
– Very open crumb (Large Holes)
– Crust- Firm Texture
– Sicilian
– Chicago Deep Dish

Pizza Pun

So I was heating a premade pizza pie and the instructions told me to put it in the oven at 180 degrees.

Now I’m left with an upside-down pie in an oven.


How Water Affects each of the Elements of your Pizza Dough

Water will have an effect on each of the elements of making pizza.  Is best if you think of it as making the best pizza is achieving a balance between all the elements.

Dough fermenting in bowl

Fermentation

It’s the power of yeast that will make your pizza dough rise to the occasion.

Effect of Hydration in Fermentation

By adding more water to your flour, you have an accelerated fermentation process.
Lower amounts of water delay the fermentation process, resulting in a slower time for the dough to rise.

This effect is due to the concentration of soluble solids in the dough.

For example, as the water increases, it causes the dough to become softer. The soluble solids are diluted, causing a decrease in the yeast’s osmotic pressure and increasing its activity.

Osmotic pressure measures the tendency of a solution to take in a pure solvent by osmosis.

You need to take the amount of water into consideration when developing or adjusting your pizza recipes. For example, the percentage of yeast should be lowered in wet dough and increased in stiffer doughs.

Elasticity

Elasticity in pizza dough

Elasticity

A large amount of water will create a softer consistency in your pizza dough, while a lower amount of water will generate a stiffer texture in your pizza dough.

Soft Pizza Dough

Softer pizza dough will create a weaker gluten structure, more extensible, and less elastic. 

Soft pizza dough

Soft Pizza Dough

This type of dough will benefit from a long fermentation time and sometimes folds during the first fermentation. The final crust will have a more open and chewier crumb structure and a more complex flavor.

Stiff Pizza Dough

A stiffer dough will create a more robust gluten structure, less extensible, and more elastic. 

Stiff pizza dough

Stiff Pizza Dough

In this case, a shorter fermentation time will be more appropriate to avoid an excess of strength during shaping. The final crust will have a tighter cell structure, and if there is no pre-fermentation, the flavor will be a little bit bland.

Stretchy pizza dough is always fun to work with since it will stretch to incredible degrees. It also has a nasty habit of return elasticity, making it harder to form a perfectly shaped pizza dough circle. 

With very elastic pizza dough, you need to stretch out your dough with exaggerated intent. It will take twice the amount of stretch to loosen up the extremely springy dough.

 Once you have a good grasp on the situation, the stretchy dough will be easier to handle. This method also depends on how dusted your hands are to keep the stickiness level to a minimum.

Crust Texture

Water will have an indirect effect on the pizza crust texture because the texture is related to the fermentation process, and of course, water is just a part of this process.

During the fermentation process, the yeast will eat sugar in the flour and create alcohol and carbon dioxide gas as waste products. The carbon dioxide gas produced by yeast gives the pizza crust its airy texture, and the alcohol, which burns off during baking, leaves behind one of the most critical components – Flavor!

Gluten development in pizza dough

Gluten Development in Pizza Dough

When flour is mixed with water and kneaded, it becomes very elastic. The flour and water mixture in pizza dough becomes stretchy like a balloon because of a wheat protein known as gluten. Gluten gives the pizza dough the ability to capture yeast’s carbon dioxide in tiny flour balloons.

Thick crust pizza will be softer and chewier that is undoubtedly more bread-like than anything else. In contrast, other pizza crusts call for crispier and thinner dough. Many pizza-style variants are somewhere in between. 

The result of adding more water to flour simply makes your hydration mixture much stickier. You can control this process easier by using a scraper and a controlled amount of dusting flour. 

When you start forming a pizza dough shape, it helps to dust your working area lightly dusted with flour so sticky dough doesn’t stick to you. You also have to be careful with sticky dough since it will be fluffier as it ferments.

Sticky pizza doughs higher in water content will form larger bubbles in your dough, resulting in a crispier crust.  

Crust Structure (Hole Structure)

Pizza dough that’s created through fermentation all has a select amount of cell structure. This structure is from the released gas from the chemical reaction of active yeast, water, and flour. There is a certain amount of influence from oil added, but mostly the mixture of flour and water and yeast. Depending on the ratio of water to flour, the cell structure will create a wide variety of textures.

 It can also alter the dough so that the texture is softer, crispier, fluffier, and chewier. These variations will all have considerable differences in how the cell structure or how big or small the holes inside the dough ends up looking.

Pizza crust hole structure

Hole Structure

Higher hydration doughs will have a more extensive hole structure, while lower hydration doughs will have a denser and smaller hole structure.

Creating the Perfect Balance

You as a pizza baker will find what is the perfect balance according to your preference.  The only way to achieve this balance is by testing. Try different hydration levels and check which one you prefer.  The infographic shown below will give a summary of how these elements are related.

Pizza Dough Hydration Infographic

How to calculate pizza dough hydration

Calculating your hydration percentage should be easy since your pizza dough recipe will give you how much water you need. If the recipe is given in cups, then you would have to weigh your ingredients. Please, do not attempt to calculate your hydration percentage using cups as the measuring units; it won’t work. Not to mention that measuring flour in cups will never give you exact results. Find why weighing your pizza ingredients is better than using cups in our article on the Baker’s Percentage Method.

To simplify the conversion process, decide if you weigh in grams or ounces and apply the measuring unit to all of your ingredients. Using grams or ounces will give you the same results. However, when using small amounts of ingredients is better if you use grams rather than ounces. Why? No fractions! In commercial applications, the pizza chefs use pounds and ounces because they manage large amounts of dough, so the math is easier to handle in those measuring units. When making homemade pizza, it is best if you use grams.   

Steps to find the hydration percentage for any given recipe:

Step 1

Weigh the flour

Step 2

Weigh the water

Step 3

Divide the weight of the water by the weight of the flour and multiply the result by 100. 

Example:

A recipe containing 1 1/4 cups of water (285 grams) and 3 cups of high-protein flour (425 grams) will have a 67 percent (285/425 x 100 = 67) hydration level, indicating a moderate airy crumb. 

Steps to find the required weight of ingredients for a recipe that is given in Baker’s Percentage

Step 1

Suppose your recipe is already expressed in percentages using the Baker’s Percentage Method. Remember your flour is always 100%, so all you need to do is multiply the ratio of the ingredients to the flour.

Example:

You found a pizza recipe that is given in percentage as follows:

  • Flour 100
  • Water 67
  • Yeast 1
  • Salt 2.5

To find the weight of the ingredients you need, just follow these steps:

Your starting point will always be the flour, which will be your desired amount. For homemade pizza, this could be anywhere from 100g to 1000g. 

So, let’s say you want to test 400g of flour, then you calculate the rest of your ingredients based on the 400g of flour.  

  • Water 67% = 400 x .67 = 268g
  • Yeast 1% = 400 x .01 = 4g
  • Salt 2.5% = 400 x .025 = 10g

If you are not interested in doing the math, you can check our Baker’s Percentage Calculator which will help you find the percentages of all your ingredients.

Baker's Percentage Calculator


Baker’s Percentage Calculator: Is as Easy as 123

This Baker’s Percentage Calculator will allow you to you calculate the baker’s percentage for any given pizza recipe in a few seconds.

How to Adjust the Hydration Level of a Pizza Dough?

Now that we understand how to calculate a recipe’s hydration, let’s adjust the recipe by either increasing or decreasing the hydration level. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to adapt your recipe:

Step 1

Calculate by weighing the total amount of flour in your recipe or converting from cups to either grams or ounces. 

Step 2

Multiply the desired hydration percentage by the total amount of flour. This method will give you the required amount of water.

Again, using the previous example, here are your base numbers:

Recipe:

  • Flour 100% = 400g
  • Water 67% = 400 x .67 = 268g
  • Yeast 1% = 400 x .01 = 4g
  • Salt 2.5% = 400 x .025 = 10g

 Hydration Percentage: (268/400 x 100 = 67) 67 percent hydration level.

Increasing the Hydration of a Pizza Dough Recipe

Let’s take the same sample recipe from the above example (calculated at 67% hydration). Here is what you need to do to increase the hydration by 2% and test the recipe at 69%.

Step 1

You already have the flour that you need at 400 grams. So, want to know how much water you need to bring that recipe at 69% hydration?

The total amount of flour is 400 grams which is 100%. Since you are only looking to adjust the hydration, you don’t need to change the flour or the dry ingredients.

Step 2

 We want to increase to 69% hydration.

To calculate the increase, take the new percentage and multiply by the flour or 0.69 x 400 grams = 276 grams. This result means we need a total of 276 grams of water in our recipe instead of the original 268. 

Decreasing the Hydration of a Recipe

We are using the same sample recipe from the above example (calculated at 67% hydration). Here is what you need to do to decrease the hydration by 2% and test the recipe at 65%.

Step 1

You already have the flour that you need at 400 grams. So, want to know how much water you need to bring that recipe at 65% hydration? The total amount of flour is 400 grams which is 100%. Since you are only looking to adjust the hydration, you don’t need to change the flour or the ingredients.

Step 2

We want to decrease to 65% hydration.

To calculate the decrease, take the new percentage and multiply by the flour or 0.65 x 400 grams = 260 grams. This result means we need a total of 260 grams of water in our recipe instead of the original 268. 

How to Determine if you Achieved the Right Hydration

As always, take note of your percentages so you know what your starting point is. You can either mix the dough by hand or using a stand mixer. The best way to know if you added the right amount of water is by performing a visual and physical inspection of your dough.

Visual Inspection

Take a look at it and see if the ingredients have been thoroughly combined that there is no unmixed flour at the bottom of the bowl or the edges of the bowl. When all the ingredients are fully incorporated, the dough should form into a ball that doesn’t stick to the bowl.

Physical Inspection

Physically touch the dough, and check whether it is supple, sticky, or tacky.

Characteristics of Low-Hydration Pizza Dough

The best way to describe low hydration dough is dough that is very stiff and thick. It has a lower amount of water which causes the yeast within the dough will create more gluten. It would be best if you also kneaded it so you can shape it into a pizza. This dough is also characteristically easy to handle and doesn’t stick to your hands. The fermentation process will take much longer.

Unfermented doughball

Low hydration pizza dough

It can take one hour or more for low hydration dough to rise. Often, it’s expected that some pizza recipes allow for a second proofing for fully developed pizza dough.

In summary, the lower the hydration percentage, the stiffer the dough is going to be. This relationship translates to the following:

It’s harder to incorporate all the ingredients; with a stiff dough, you may need to use a stand mixer to combine all the ingredients thoroughly.
The dough will be less sticky and easier to handle.
The fermentation process will be longer.
It will take longer to develop the gluten; you may have to knead it for a more extended period.

Characteristics of High Hydration Pizza Dough

These are pizza doughs that will have the highest amount of elasticity and springiness. Because the water percentage is much higher with up to 80%, the dough will be very sticky. This characteristic allows the yeast to rise faster, and the bubbles that form within the flour will be larger. Handling this type of dough often requires a scraping tool to form individual pizza balls that may be kneaded and proofed further for a more delicate dough texture.

High Hydration Pizza Dough

High Hydration Pizza Dough

Working with higher hydration dough requires more skill to handle and shape. 

Because high hydration dough is so sticky, it needs to be dusted liberally with flour to keep it from sticking to anything. When it’s baked, the crust will be crispier and thinner as a result.

As a beginner pizza maker, it’s best to start working with lower hydration doughs and then increase the hydration gradually as you gain experience handling doughs. But why bother if it’s more difficult? Because it might be worth it!

Benefits of High Hydration Pizza Dough

Here are some of the ways your pizza dough can benefit if you increase the hydration level percentage for your pizza dough recipe:

  • Texture – As you increase your pizza dough’s hydration level, the texture will be softer, and it will have a more open crumb (i.e., bigger holes inside the crust).
  • Crust – On lower hydration recipes, the crust tends to be quite thick and hard, but a higher hydration dough has a thinner crust that stays crispy for longer.
  • Flavor – Higher hydration pizza doughs tend to have a more developed flavor, whereas lower hydration gives a more pronounced sourness.
  • Appearance – The higher the dough’s hydration, the less likely it is to rise because it is a lot slacker.

Considering all of the above, most people find it worth learning to work with higher hydration dough. You get a better-tasting pizza with a thinner, crispier crust and a softer textured, more open crumb.

Secret to Making a Crispy Crust

As you can see, we’ve revealed the secret to making a crispy crust.  How to make a crispy crust is a very common question. 

So here is the answer:  Add more water to the dough formula!

Adding more water to your recipe allows the dough to be hydrated, so it will expand rapidly once it gets in contact with the heat of the oven. The additional water adds weight to the dough and it will evaporate immediately creating steam that will be trapped underneath the crust of the pizza, making a crispier texture.

In general, if your recipe is anywhere from 70% to 80%, you should be able to get a crispy crust. There are some exceptions to this, but they are related to specific pizza styles that contain additional ingredients.

To calculate how much water you need, weigh the flour and multiply it by your desired hydration (anywhere from .70 to .80), and the result is your water content for a crispy crust.

Considerations when Adjusting your Recipe Hydration

Let’s say that you added to water at 65% but find that it was too dry, and you would like to increase the amount of water. 

It’s recommended that you make adjustments in increments of 2 to 3%, recalculate your recipe, and test again.
It’s also recommended that you start at a lower percentage level because you can always add more water, even during the mixing process, but you can’t remove the water once combined.

Caution!

You could add more flour if the dough is too sticky, but then your recipe will be off as a change in flour changes the whole proportion of the rest of the ingredients.

Pizza Dough Hydration Chart

What is the Best Hydration Percentage for Pizza Dough?

To determine the best hydration percentage, it will depend on the kind of pizza dough you’re making since it matters on personal preference. All pizza recipes will have different water ratios meant to define what type of pizza crust the dough will produce.

We always recommend starting at 65% hydration; this level will give a great result every time.  All our base recipes start at this 65% level. The ingredients incorporate well, the dough is easy to handle, has a manageable elasticity, and ferments 1 to 1 ½ hrs. (using active dry yeast).  We think it is the happy medium when starting to make pizza dough. It’s the average or middle point in the spectrum, from there, and you can simply adjust up or down depending on your preference.

As far as hydration is concerned, this is something that only experimentation will reveal. You might have more success by carefully adjusting water ratios to get the desired result.

 This process is how many people can find their favorite pizza dough recipe that always works. It also has everything to do with learning about baking and ingredient to yield the best results.

How to Know which Hydration Percentage is Best for You?

Three primary ratios define pizza dough hydration. Each one of these will create a dough that has radically different properties. Here is the run-through of what you can expect from each ratio.

To find which hydration percentage works best for you, Experiment! (Test) with three hydration percentages: 60, 70, and 80%; see the results of each and adjust accordingly to your preference.

We’ve done the homework, and here are the results:

60% Hydration

This produces a thicker and heavier dough that needs to be rolled out using a rolling pin. This dough won’t require much dusting with flour since this dough is so dry. When this dough is baked, the result will turn out a very fine cell structure and will be chewy as a result.

70% Hydration

This dough is easier to work with since it can be considered the middle-of-the-road dough. It’s dry enough to be hand-stretched with a bit of dusting on your counter. The inside of this type of dough has a good variety of large and small bubbles. It makes the crust easy to chew and still has plenty of crunch in some areas.

80% Hydration

Although this type of dough is more elastic and has a higher amount of water added, it’s the trickiest. It needs a lot of managing while you stretch it out to make a pizza dough shape. It is also very sticky and needs extra flour dusting to stick to you or your working area. This hydration percentage creates the crispiest crust that will hold its shape after it’s baked.

Relationship between Pizza Dough Hydration and Flour Absorption

What is Water Absorption?

Water absorption is the amount of water required by flour to achieve the desired consistency.  It is measured by a Farinograph which provides bakers with the specifications of a particular flour.  It is usually defined by the flour’s weight.

For example, 55% water absorption means that 55g of water is required to hydrate 100g of flour to the specified viscosity.

How Different Flours Have Different Absorption Capacities

Most people aren’t very keen on how flour absorbs water. It’s not that complicated, but there is a reason that there are so many types of flour available. It has a close relationship to absorption and the rate of hydration. Depending on the type of flour that you use, water absorption will not be equal for every kind of flour. 

Different brands and types of flour will absorb different amounts of water. If you use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour or add whole wheat flour to your dough, you would have to adjust the amount of water you use when making pizza dough. 

The flour absorption varies according to the grain and the season when it was harvested. Also, the same wheat flour brand may absorb more or less water depending on your kitchen’s temperature and moisture or how the flour was stored.

Concerning flour absorption, here is what you need to know:

High protein flours absorb more water than lower protein flour. In pizza terms, it means that if a pizza dough recipe that calls for bread flour may require more water than one that uses all-purpose flour.
All-purpose flours absorb less water than high-protein flour.
Packed flour will take forever to absorb water properly. It should be nice and loose so water can flow through flour instead of sitting on top.

If your pizza dough is dry or sticky or too soft or too rigid, check your flour. It could be that you may have used the wrong type of flour for the recipe. Also, the flour you used may have a higher (lower) protein content than what you’re familiar with using. 

Correctly measuring your flour and other ingredients is crucial.
When experimenting with new flour, be prepared to add more water or a bit more flour to your dough to adapt to the variations.
It’s essential to note the changes you made to your recipe for your next batch of dough.

In addition to hydration and flour absorption, the other consideration you need to consider is your oven.  Standard home oven only reaches temperatures of around 500 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.  Outdoor pizza ovens, whether gas or wood-fired, can reach temperatures of 900 to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit; so, the flour that you use should be suitable for the kind of oven you have.

Here is a rundown of the flours we recommend.

Here is the Flour the PROs at Homemade Pizza Pro Use and Recommend

Best for Standard Home Ovens
Antimo Caputo "00" Chefs Flour (Red) 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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Best for High-Temperature Ovens
Antimo Caputo Pizzeria 00 Flour (Blue) Antimo Caputo Pizzeria 00 Flour (Blue)

A flour with elastic, resistant gluten and protein resulting in a long-rise dough. Ideal for classic Neapolitan pizza made in high heat wood fired, gas or electric ovens in high temperatures over 700 degrees F.


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What you Need to do to Achieve the Desired Hydration

Measure ingredients correctly

When it comes to measuring all of your ingredients, you need two critical things.

Use a Scale

The first is a measuring scale. It can be a digital scale but not limited to a standard spring-loaded scale.

Use a Measuring Cup

The second item you want is a good measuring cup that is good for getting a rounded amount for visuals. This will let you see how measuring out flour gets you closer to your target amount.

It still needs to be measured with a digital scale, so you don’t make any mistakes. Your flour should go into a bowl that has the tare-off weight of the bowl removed. Also, make sure that your flour is broken up with no clumps.

Control the amount of additional flour while kneading

When they describe in cookbooks that you dust or add a dash of something, not everyone knows what these buzzwords mean. So when it comes to adding extra flour onto your working area, you need to be careful. A light dusting is taking a small handful of flour and sprinkling it over your counter or table.  Alternatively, you can use a wire mesh strainer and dust it like you were making powdered toast.

We advise that you add only as much flour to keep your hands from sticking. Your table should have enough, so your dough doesn’t instantly stick to the surface. Have a small bowl with flour nearby so you can add small amounts when you need to.

Consider the temperature of the dough and the kitchen

Depending on where you live, you’ll need to take into consideration the temperature in your kitchen. Pizza dough doesn’t like cold places, so when you want to proof your dough, it needs to be in a spot that’s warm but not too warm. This temperature can cause your dough to rise too much and will require more kneading. You’ll need to have a kitchen that’s room temperature around 68–72 degrees Fahrenheit for an ideal working condition.

If your kitchen is colder, move your dough to be proofed to an area of the kitchen that’s warmer. You can also cover the bowl with a towel to reduce airflow, so the heat generated from the proofing will make your dough rise more naturally.

Consider the overall humidity

Humidity is also a problem with making pizza dough since it increases the heat level in your kitchen. For this reason, hotter days that have higher humidity would require cold water to be used to dissolve your yeast. This is so the rate of fermentation is slowed down. You don’t want to have yeast that will proof your dough faster than usual. This won’t change your dough much since it will adjust to the room temperature the longer your pizza dough sits.

The dough is usually coated with oil or has oil in the mix, so humidity won’t be able to affect the proofing of the dough after that. You may need to adjust your water ratio if humidity levels are very high.

Use the correct flour according to the characteristics of the flour and your oven

Choose flour that works best with your pizza recipe. Some professional pizza chefs like to use quality flour that is often used for making bread. This flour is milled finer, so you don’t have problems with absorption. But it also comes down to preference and the source where you buy your flour. There are brands of flour that offer pizza-grade flour and are similar to bread-making flour. Usually, this type of flour is pricier as a result.

Just find a quality brand that’s finely ground and powdery so it will readily hydrate when you add your water. If you have clumps, these need to be broken up, and this will make the mixing process more of a headache.

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Home oven

Since most home ovens may not reach temperatures over 500 degrees Fahrenheit, you have to make the most of what your oven can provide. The average pizza hydration for a home oven is going to be around 60-65% and will typically be thin crust pizza. Thicker crust pizza is somewhat of a unique art if you like specialty pizzas. With this level of hydration, you won’t have a crust that’s burnt. Hotter ovens that reach 550F will have crusts that are closer to wood-fired oven results.

For thicker crusts, you need to have a baking pan that is high enough to bake 50-60% hydrated dough properly. This is why so many deep-dish pizza recipes call for olive oil to be coated in the pan first to fry the dough inside the pan.

Outdoor pizza oven

Luckily, outdoor pizza ovens are going to be much hotter than your kitchen oven. Wood-fired ovens and brick ovens can reach 1000 degrees Fahrenheit! These high temperatures are the ideal temperature to bake a pizza faster. It can also burn a pizza that has higher hydration of 60% and higher. The moisture will quickly turn to steam and can burn your dough as a result. It’s better that you have a dough below 60% if you’re using an outdoor oven.

You also need to keep an eye on your pizza and adjust it using your pizza peel. Continual turning and adjusting will give better results than if you just let it sit there.

Pizza Dough Hydration Resources

If you’re unsure of a pizza dough recipe, don’t be shy to do a quick experiment. You’ll need to scale down the recipe to one-quarter amounts for the ingredients. This will give you a baseball-sized dough ball that you can store in a clear glass bowl. If you don’t like the consistency, you can adjust the hydration accordingly. We recommend using a pizza dough calculator.

homemade pizza dough calculator

Homemade Pizza Dough Calculator

This calculator does the hard work for you and tells you how many ingredients you need and the recommended hydration.

Additional Resources

Pizza Fermentation Guide


Discover the Ultimate Guide to Pizza Dough Fermentation



Last Drop

Are you starting to get hungry for great pizza already? We hope this guide has given you lots of confidence for making some great pizza right away. Better yet, you can share this guide with others who are also looking to try making pizza at home. Now that you have a better idea about pizza dough hydration, you can’t go wrong with using any of these great tips.

Enjoy

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