Master the Pizza Making Process Controlling these Powerful Pizza Elements

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Did you know the soul of the pizza-making process is the pizza maker and not the ingredients? In this article, we will show you how to master the elements of pizza so that you can become the best homemade pizza maker! 

 So, what are the elements of pizza?

An element is a part, component, or aspect of something essential. In this case, what is more essential than pizza? 

 So what are these essential elements of pizza?

Basic Elements of Pizza

A component of these elements is the ingredients, which play an essential role in the pizza-making process.

What is the Pizza Making Process?

The pizza-making process includes:
1- Choosing the Ingredients
2- Mixing the Dough
3- Fermentation of the Dough (Time & Temperature)

Choosing the Right Ingredients

However, the other two elements are equally important, and you should think of them as ingredients; these are time and temperature.

  • Time
  • Temperature

When you learn how to master these elements combined, you will achieve the maximum level of pizza proficiency, resulting in every pizza maker’s most desired skill, and that is consistency. 

You will get the best results every time!

Let’s dive right into it.

Pizza Making Process – Ingredients

Pizza Making Process -  Choosing Ingredients
Bag of Flour

Flour

Flour is the most significant component of any pizza, and your goal is the best flour for the kind of pizza you are making. 

Flour like any other food, whoever grows it and wherever it’s grown, makes a big difference in how it tastes. 

The variety of wheat determines its flavor and how much structure it will give your pizza dough. Some of the world’s top pizza makers seek out farmers and millers for flour that will work best for their pizza style. 

In Naples and the surrounding areas, most pizzerias, about 90 percent, use flour from a single mill in Naples: Molino Caputo. 

You can read more about Caputo Flour here.

Molino Caputo

The Caputo family has been making flour for pizza for three generations, since 1924.

Type “00” Flour

Most mills are making flour a general-purpose product in various classes, each suitable for many uses. Caputo pizza flours blend several kinds of wheat to produce flours with tasty flavors and the right physical characteristics for pizza baking.

The milling meets a specification called “00”, commonly called “double zero” in the United States, and it gives the flour a fine, almost powdery consistency. 

The “00” refers to the texture of the flour. Numbers classify Italian flours according to how finely they are ground, the roughest is 1, and the finest is 00.

A finer grind and lower gluten content make this an absolute favorite of mine for both pizzas and calzones, and when combined with other flours, it provides an outstanding balance to your dough.

Caputo’s flour takes twenty-five passes through the roller mill before it becomes “00”. This designation does not refer to the protein content in any way.

Caputo’s 00 protein content ranges from 12.5 to 13.5 percent.

Learn More About Caputo Flours

This video is provided by The Culinary Institute of America.

Today, the wheat in Caputo flours is all from Europe. It is blended to meet strict specifications that give it just the right properties for water absorption, dough formation, fermentation, stretchability, and the baking qualities that work best for Neapolitan pizza. 

You can find Caputo flour in both a blue bag and a red bag.

Pizzeria Flour

The blue bag labeled “Pizzeria” flour is about 12.5 percent protein, and produces more extensible (less elastic) gluten.

You can make a blend of these two flours if you want to meet in the middle.

Chef’s Flour

The red bag is labeled “00” or “Chef’s Flour” and has about 13.5 percent protein, giving more elasticity to the dough. 

All our pizza dough recipes are made with Caputo flour (either the red bag or the blue bag); the results are wonderfully soft and makeup dough balls that are smooth and supple.

It makes a light, delicate, tasty pizza crust. If you want to know more about the difference between these two flours, you can check our article. Chef’s vs Pizzeria Flour.

Antimo Caputo Chefs Flour

Although these Caputo flours are designed for pizza that bakes in a 905°F (485°C) oven, we like the results we get in our home kitchen oven. Both work great for making homemade pizza, and if you can’t find it locally, it is easy to order.

Naturally, there are many other flour choices for making good pizza. Know that different flours can have quite different water-absorption characteristics, so with one flour, you might get a much looser or stiffer dough than with another flour if the water amount is the same. 

Here is something you need to know about flour:

  • The higher the protein content in the flour, the more water it will absorb. 
  • High-protein flours make a more elastic dough, with a less delicate texture once baked.

Milling and Freshness

Milling and freshness are two essential facets of flour. If your flour has been sitting around for months, it’s not fresh! Taste it and see for yourself. 

Let’s experiment. If you have an old bag or container of white flour on hand, go ahead, put some on your tongue, and feel it with your fingertips. Now, put some fresh-milled flour on your tongue. Notice a difference? 

Old flour tastes bland and lumpy to the touch, and it does not get better when you cook it. On the other hand, fresh flour tastes grassy, and nutty, and has a ton of different flavors, depending on the wheat variety from which it was milled.

Within a few days, though, most of those subtle flavors are gone.

Fresh-milled flour just tastes and feels better than flour that has been sitting around for a long time. Like every other food, if you want the most complex and robust flavors, use the freshest ingredients. 

 Keep in mind that fresh flour is weaker than store-bought flour. That means pizza dough made with fresh flour will feel looser, and its structure won’t be quite as strong.

That’s not a big deal for pizza. Fresh flour makes pizza dough easier to stretch out and shape. If you want a super tight structure in the dough, start with only a handful of fresh flour. 

In future batches, bump up the amount. You’ll notice that even a small burst of fresh flavor will make a big difference in how your dough tastes.

Flavor

If you are looking for a more flavorful flour, choose a whole grain flour. Whole grain flour includes all three parts of the grain-bran, germ, and endosperm-and a lot of the subtle wheat flavors are in the bran and germ.

White flour tends to taste bland because it’s been processed to remove almost all the bran and germ. That makes the flour last longer on the shelf, but it doesn’t do it any other favors. Choose flavor. 

King Arthur Flour

King Arthur makes a great whole grain flour that tastes exceptionally good. Use at least some whole grain flour in your dough-preferably fresh milled.

Bread Flour

The extra bran and germ in whole grain flour will absorb some water, so you might have to add a bit more water if you’re used to using white flour. 

Gluten

Whole grain flour can weaken the strength of pizza dough. The extra bran and germ interrupt the dough’s gluten network, making it feel softer and looser.

That’s why whole-grain breads are sometimes less airy than white-flour breads. The weaker gluten structure just can’t hold in as many of the leavening gases produced by the yeast.

When the dough expands in the oven, more gases escape, and the crust doesn’t puff up as much.

The taste of whole-grain bread is so much more complex. And the flat shape of pizza is so forgiving that there is a lot of room for experimentation. To help balance out the gluten-weakening effect of whole grain flour, use higher-protein flour. 

gluten web image

Gluten Structure

High-protein or “strong” flour is what creates the sturdy gluten structure of bread and pizza dough. As a baseline, choose flour with at least 12% protein. Or, if you’re using whole grain flour in the dough, go even higher. 

Spelt flour has 15 to 16% protein and makes fantastic whole-grain pizza that doesn’t taste heavy.

Either way, protein and gluten strength are the keys to a sturdy, elastic dough that puffs up big in the oven and holds in all the leavening bubbles that the yeast created when you fermented the dough.

That combination of whole grain flour and high-protein flour with strong gluten qualities is the way to go to create a light, airy, whole-grain pizza dough that’s riddled with beautiful holes.

If you want everything to work without a hitch the first time you make pizza dough, just follow the basic recipe using 500 grams of flour.

Start with high-protein bread flour from King Arthur, which is widely available. But after that, play around, and find your signature combination of flours.

Start incorporating more and more fresh-milled whole grain flour.

You can check your local farmers’ market for fresh-milled, stone-ground flour. Or better yet, make it yourself with a home mill and some whole grains.

Grinding wheat is no more difficult than grinding coffee beans for better-tasting coffee. Mill some flour at home and use it in your pizza dough.  

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

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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Flour Storage

Flour in freezer

To keep your flour as fresh as possible, store it in a tightly sealed container in the freezer, refrigerator, or lastly, in a cool, dry place at 65°F (18°C) or less. Dry basements work well.

It’s simple, and your pizza dough will taste amazing because it has fresh flour in it. 

Check our article on The Right Way to Store Flour for more details.

Pouring water into bowl with flour

Water

After flour, water is the second most important ingredient in pizza dough.

 Here is what water does to flour in your pizza dough:

  • Gets absorbed by the flour.
  • Swells up the flour’s starches, and makes the dough sticky.
  • Triggers the formation of gluten, which creates the firm structure in pizza dough.
  • Activates the yeast, so it can begin to grow.

You also need to consider when you add water to flour to make the dough; flour also absorbs water from the air. A humid environment will make your dough wetter.  

We always recommend keeping a thermometer that reads humidity or a hygrometer. That way, you can still know the temperature of the kitchen and how hot it gets when the oven is on and the humidity percentage so you can adjust the dough accordingly.  

What you need to know about water

  • More water makes pizza dough lose, wet, and sticky.
  • Less water makes it stiff and dry.

If you want to learn more about how water affects your pizza dough, check out our article What Water Can Reveal About Your Pizza.

flour hydration

Hydration

What is Hydration?

Professionals call the process of adding water to flour “hydration.” That’s the amount of water in the dough relative to the flour by weight. If you mix 100 grams of flour and 60 grams of water, the dough hydration is 60%. 

The average hydration among all yeast bread is about 65%. That’s typical for a loaf of sandwich bread and a classic baguette. For pizza, the hydration varies. And you should switch it up to get the kind of pizza you want. 

You can have pretty low hydration of 55 to 59% or high hydration of 80%. So, what is the difference? A lot of it comes down to baking temperature and the desired result. A low hydration dough must be baked on the hot floor of wood ovens at a blistering 900°F (482°C) for the best results.

That pizza dough will cook in only 90 seconds. There’s less water in the dough, and the water evaporates quickly at that high temperature: the dough firms up fast, creating a beautiful, crisp yet foldable crust. 

At the other end of the spectrum, pizza at a higher hydration percentage usually gets baked in electric ovens at a much lower temperature of 450° to 500°F (232°C to 260°C).

The dough mixture at 80% hydration has so much water and bakes at such a low temperature that it takes 20 to 30 minutes for the crust to cook through and get crisp. 

A bake time of 1 to 2 minutes vs. 20 to 30 minutes is entirely different!

The amount of water in your dough also affects how much puff you get in the crust.

Overview of Hydration Percentage and Cooking Time

Find how long will take to cook your pizza based on the hydration percentage and oven temperature.

Hydration Percentage and Cooking Time Chart

Hydration PercentageCooking Temperature 900°FCooking Temperature 700°FCooking Temperature 500°F
55%1.5 minutes3 minutes5 minutes
60%3 minutes5 minutes10 minutes
65%5 minutes10 minutes15 minutes
70%10 minutes15 minutes20 minutes
75%15 minutes20 minutes25 minutes
80%20 minutes25 minutes30 minutes

Pro Tip


Make Sure the Oven Is HOT!

If you’re using a standard oven, you want to get it up to 550 degrees F. You need a cooking surface that heats up and stays hot. A pizza stone, pizza steel, or an upside-down sheet pan will work, so long as you give it ample time to preheat. If you have a wood-burning pizza oven, start the fire 1 hour before you begin baking.

Here is what you need to know about hydration:

  • More water = More puff.
  • More water = More cooking time.

What is Oven Spring?

Oven spring is when the water heats up in the oven, it creates steam, especially when the pizza first goes in the oven. Steam helps transfer heat to the dough faster, giving it an initial blast of heat that quickly puffs up the dough.

More water in the dough gives it a better oven spring. You can also inject some steam into the oven. 

Some professional ovens are steam-injected, which are super cool. You can toss a cupful of ice cubes into a metal pan on the oven floor for the average kitchen oven. It’s the water inside the dough that creates the hole-structure in your pizza crust. 

In high-hydration doughs, all that steam building up inside the hot dough expands the bubbles, creating an airier structure in the finished crust. 

  • Lower hydration doughs have fewer bubbles
  • Higher hydration doughs have more bubbles in them

More bubbles in the dough will stretch the inner gluten network, which eventually makes the baked pizza crust crispy on the surface. 

So high-hydration pizza doughs tend to get nice and crisp on the outside. 

Pizza crust hole structure

Crust Hole Structure

How Gluten Relates to Hole Size

The size of the holes in the crust depends partly on how strong the gluten network becomes when mixing everything. 

Gluten Strength

  • A more robust gluten network holds the bubbles in tighter, so they don’t get as big.
  • A looser gluten network lets the bubbles swell up like balloons throughout the dough.

Oven Temperature

The size of the holes also depends on the heat of your oven. 

  • A hotter oven and a shorter bake time set the dough before the bubbles expand too big.
  • Cooler ovens allow the bubbles to expand more before the dough sets. 

Pizza Making Process – Mixing the Dough

Also, keep in mind that higher-hydration doughs (upwards of 70%) will mix easier in a countertop stand mixer like a KitchenAid. These wet doughs are just looser and easier to mix. 

On the other hand, lower-hydration doughs, like at 60% Hydration, are stiffer and make stand mixers work harder. If you’re mixing up a lower-hydration dough and your machine seems to be straining, do it in two batches.

mixing pizza dough image

You can mix the dough by hand or in a stand mixer.

Here is what you need to do to mix your pizza dough:

  • Mix everything first, then separate the dough into two piles, so there’s a smaller dough volume in the mixer.
  • Mix and knead each batch separately and then recombine the batches at the end of the process.
  • Make less dough.

Wet doughs are so loose that they don’t always hold a shape very well. When you poke them, they wobble like Jell-O. Don’t worry about it. Just don’t be surprised if you ball up a high-hydration dough, and then it flattens out some as it sits. It’s the water spreading out. It’s okay. You’ll be stretching out the dough when you shape your pizza anyway.

Water Temperature

One other particularly important factor in your water: is its temperature. Water temperature can make the dough rise faster or slower. 

  • Coldwater, below 50°F (10°C), slows down the process, so fermentation happens more slowly. 
  • Warm water, above 80°F (27°C), gets the yeast going right away and kick-starts the fermentation process. 
  • Hot water, above 140°F (60°C) kills the yeast, and your dough won’t rise. Don’t kill the yeast! 

However, you can play with the water temperature to speed up or slow down the rising process. 

Let’s say you want pizza dough for tomorrow. When you mix up the dough, you can start with warm water to get the yeast going. After a couple of hours, you can stick the dough in the fridge to cool things off, so fermentation happens nice and slowly, and you can get deeper flavors in the pizza crust. 

Let’s say you have a little more time and want a flavorful crust. You can start with cold water, let the dough sit overnight at room temperature, and then ferment the dough in the fridge for an even longer, slower fermentation period of 3 days.  

The bottom line in both examples is that longer fermentation times will give your pizza dough deeper and more complex flavors.

Minerals

You need to check what’s in your water. That can influence yeast fermentation and the texture of your dough.

Hard water is rich in minerals, usually calcium and magnesium. It turns out that, like every other living thing, yeast needs minerals to grow, and mineral-rich hard water can make yeast grow faster.

The minerals in hard water also firm up pizza dough because the gluten proteins form strong bonds with the water’s calcium and magnesium.

If you are aiming for a stiffer dough, use hard water. On the other hand, soft water can make for slow-rising dough with a weaker gluten structure. 

PH Scale Vector Image

Water pH

So that you know, pure water is considered neutral and has a pH of about 7. That means it’s neither acidic (low in minerals) nor alkaline (high in minerals). Most tap water ranges from 6.5 to 8 on the pH scale and works fine for pizza dough.

But if you’re having trouble with your dough, check your water. And if you usually filter your tap water before drinking it, use that same filtered water in your pizza dough. You can also use bottled still water.

Yeast

It helps to think of pizza dough like a big balloon filled with smaller balloons. The flour and water create the balloon walls. But yeast is what inflates it all. Yeast is a tiny, single-celled organism, a fungus, and it’s the driving force in your pizza dough. 

Instant Yeast

Yeast is alive, and like all living things, it has the essential functions of respiration and reproduction. There are hundreds of yeast species. Some like to eat wheat, and they all love sugar. That’s their primary food. That’s also why yeasts are harder to find in wintertime.

There isn’t as much sugar around when plants go dormant. Like other fungi, yeasts like it warm and wet, too. A warm, wet environment makes yeast grow faster. Under warm, wet conditions, you can cultivate all kinds of yeasts.

Different yeast species produce different flavor profiles in bread and pizza dough, and you can look for various yeast strains to make signature breads and pizzas.

In the late 1800s, the baker’s yeast was only available fresh. Then, during World War II, Fleischmann’s company developed active dry yeast for the US Army. Now, dried yeast is more common than fresh, and fresh is hard to get. 

Dry yeast has had up to 90% of its moisture removed to slow down its activity, so it lasts longer at room temperature. 

Most of our recipes call for active dry yeast because it’s consistent, predictable, and widely available. This kind of yeast is a little slow to wake up, but it gives pizza dough a long, slow fermentation time, which helps build flavor

Don’t use quick-rise or rapid-rising yeast. Those types are meant primarily for bread machines. 

Instant Yeast

Also called quick-rise or fast-rising yeast, there is nothing dormant in instant yeast, and therefore, you can add it to your recipe without adding warm water first.

It looks remarkably similar to active dry yeast, except its granules are smaller, and it contains other additives as well.

Because of these things, you only have to let your baked goods rise once, making it perfect for quick baking projects.

Instant yeast has more live cells than active dry yeast, which is why it is so fast-acting. For people who love to bake things without spending hours in the kitchen, instant yeast can be a life-saver.

You might be getting a little nervous by now that you might accidentally use the “wrong” type of yeast the next time you set out to make a great pizza crust, but not to worry. In most cases, it doesn’t matter which type of yeast you use because, as a general rule, they are interchangeable.

SAF Instant Yeast

If you were to use instant yeast, we strongly recommend Saf-lnstant® yeast instead of active dry yeast. They can be substituted one by one.

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

instant yeast in metal spoon

Instant Yeast General Characteristics

This type of dry yeast gets going a little faster than active dry yeast, but no other adjustments are necessary. The only thing we’ve noticed is that instant yeast sometimes gives pizza crust a slightly more “yeasty” taste after it’s baked. 

Active Dry Yeast

Active dry yeast is the most common yeast called for in pizza recipes, and some people consider it the best yeast, although that opinion depends on other factors.

This type of yeast comes in small round granules and must be dissolved in warm water before adding it to the recipe because it is a living organism and is therefore dormant until it is activated.

With active dry yeast, the yeasts are not killed but instead are dehydrated so that they become dormant. If you add the yeast to water with temperatures of 95° to 105° Fahrenheit, the yeast becomes active again.

Another reason for the process of drying out the yeast is to give it more stable shelf life. Active dry yeast lasts typically up to one year and can last up to 5 years when you keep it in the freezer.

One of the reasons it’s such a popular type of yeast is that it is inexpensive, easy to use, and you can find it in most supermarkets.

Active Dry Yeast

Active Dry Yeast

If you go for active dry yeast, you used to have to dissolve dry yeast in warm water, and packets of active dry yeast still say to do that, but it isn’t necessary. Active dry yeast now comes in smaller granules that help the yeast grow even when added directly to dry ingredients.

If you’re used to dissolving dry yeast in water first or have any doubts about whether your yeast has expired, it’s fine to keep doing that.

If not, you can just skip that step and add the yeast directly to the flour. Either way, we highly recommend measuring yeast and everything else in pizza dough by weight instead of volume.

Some of our recipes use tiny amounts of dry yeast that measure out to less than ¼ teaspoon. Just pick up a cheap digital pocket scale that measures the hundredth of a gram (0.01 grams). It’s more precise.

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

Fresh Yeast

When it comes to yeast and everything else, we prefer using fresh over dried. Fresh yeast just seems to create more leavening gases, better flavors, and more robust and mature pizza dough.

The problem is its availability.  It is not easy to find in the typical supermarket and its highly perishable.

Fresh yeast is not available everywhere, and some retailers only stock it during the fall and winter when more home cooks are baking. That’s partly because it’s so perishable. It must be kept refrigerated. 

fresh yeast

Fresh Yeast

Fresh yeast has had only 25 to 30% of the water removed. You might see it called wet yeast or compressed cake yeast if you see it at all.

how to add fresh yeast to flour

How to Use Fresh Yeast

If you use fresh compressed yeast, crumble it up and swish it around in the flour in your recipe to help disperse it. That’s how we mix fresh yeast into all of our pizza doughs. If you can’t find fresh yeast, use dry yeast, and convert the fresh to dry weight by multiplying by 0.4. In other words, 10 grams fresh yeast x 0.4 = 4 grams active dry yeast. 

Now, let’s say you want to go all out for your pizza dough’s most complex flavor. Then, go wild! Wild yeasts give pizza dough incredible layers of flavor.

The fact is yeast is everywhere. It’s on your hands, and in bread flour, you can capture yeast and then use it to make pizza dough when caught in flour and water. You might know it better as a sourdough starter. 

It’s called sourdough because natural, wild yeasts have a symbiotic relationship with various bacteria that give off different acids, and those acids give sourdough bread and pizza a sour taste.

If you want to make sourdough pizza, get some sourdough starters from a friend. Or make it yourself. It’s not hard. 

If you want to learn more about yeast check our article Yeast: Here is what you need to know.  

Pizza Pun


Seven days without pizza makes one weak!

Pizza Making Process – Fermentation

Whether you use fresh, dry, or wild yeast, it starts working whenever you mix up pizza dough. Mostly it inflates the dough. As flour absorbs water, the water activates enzymes in both the flour and the yeast, and the proteins start converting large starch molecules in the flour to smaller, simple sugars.

Then, the yeast feeds on those sugars and passes gas. It’s true! After metabolizing the sugars, the yeast gives off carbon dioxide gas (CO2). That gas makes its way to air bubbles in the dough and inflates them like balloons.

The more the yeast eats, the more it passes gas, and the bigger the balloons get. The dough rises. If you add more yeast, the dough rises faster. This process is the basis of yeast fermentation. As it continues, the expanding bubbles act as a natural form of kneading, too.

The yeast fermentation helps to strengthen the gluten network in the dough. The bubbles stretch the dough and cause the flour and water to form even more gluten, helping to firm up the dough’s structure.

Pizza Dough Fermentation Process

pizza fermentation process

Yeast fermentation also creates flavor in pizza dough. When the yeast and other microorganisms convert large starch molecules in the flour into smaller components, these smaller components bring flavor to the dough.

You know all those alluring flavors and aromas that people love in bread and pizza? The process of yeast fermentation is a big part of what creates them.

Yeast fermentation creates another valuable by-product in pizza dough: alcohol.  That’s one reason why you don’t want to add too much yeast to your dough.  

  • When yeast fermentation goes too far, too much alcohol gets produced. If that happens, the dough gets too acidic, and the extra acid weakens both the yeast and the gluten network. With too much acid, the dough rises too high, and then it falls.
  • A smaller amount of yeast slows down the CO2 and alcohol production and allows the dough to ferment and rise nice and slow, so the structure stays strong.
  • About 5 grams of active dry yeast for every 500 grams of flour is plenty to raise pizza dough in only a few hours. But you’ll get even more flavor from the yeast if you use less of it. You can use only 0.5 grams of active dry yeast for every 500 grams of flour. With that small amount of yeast, you can let the dough take all night to ferment.
  • To slow down the fermentation process, even more, you can stick the dough in the fridge. The cold temperature “retards” or slows down the yeast and gives it even more time to develop complex flavors in the dough.
  • Less yeast and more time generally make for better-tasting pizza dough. The flavor is what you should go after when mixing up a batch of dough. 

If you want to learn more about the pizza fermentation process check our article The Ultimate Guide to Pizza Dough Fermentation.

Salt

The flavor is also the biggest reason to add salt to pizza dough. Salt amplifies the taste of everything.

We usually use kosher salt in cooking, and love finishing pizzas with big flakes of crunchy Maldon salt or, better yet, Truffle Infused Salt.

But in pizza dough, we prefer fine sea salt. It disperses better, and it’s easy to measure in small amounts.

We especially like sea salt for baking because it has more minerals than kosher salt and table salt.

hand sprinkling salt

No matter what salt you use, salt also helps tighten the gluten structure in pizza dough. The sodium interacts with gluten proteins in the flour, causing the gluten to contract. With sea salt, additional minerals like calcium and magnesium help tighten the gluten network even more. 

More Minerals = Stronger Dough

Sea salt is particularly helpful for firming up sourdough pizza doughs because the acids in these doughs can damage gluten formation. Mineral-rich salt helps minimize the gluten-damaging effect of those acids.

We usually use about 1.5% fine sea salt for most pizza doughs. That’s relative to the weight of everything else. 

It’s essential to keep in mind that salt slows down the yeast, and salt can kill the yeast altogether. That’s why we usually mix salt into pizza dough after the yeast gets going a little. That’s especially true if you are fermenting the dough in the fridge, where the cold temperatures slow down the yeast even more.

There are no rules! You can add salt early in the process if you want to slow down the yeast on purpose. We usually do it that way when fermenting pizza dough at warmer temperatures. Yeast grows faster when it’s warm, and you don’t want it to work too quickly because you won’t get as much flavor out of it.

Adding salt early slows down the yeast so it will last longer even when warm.  If you want to learn more about salt check out our article Understanding the Role of Salt in Pizza Dough.

Pizza Making Process – Pizza Cooking Time

Time is another critical variable factor. Long, slow rising times create the most profound 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 if you have risen it. 

The secret is, slow!

How to Control Pizza Cooking 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

For more information on the variables that affect pizza dough, check our article Learn the effect of these key variables on pizza.

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

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Pizza Making Process – Pizza Cooking Temperature

pizza temperature

Temperature is one of the critical elements that you need to pay close attention to. 

The dough’s temperature, the refrigerator, and the kitchen all make a massive difference in your 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. The result, you can have wetter or drier dough.

How to Control Oven Temperature for Pizza

Higher Temperature

  • Increases fermentation
  • Increases rising time
  • Speeds up yeast

Lower Temperature

  • Decreases fermentation
  • Decreases rising time
  • Slows down yeast

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

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The Last Slice

Most of all, this might seem confusing, but in pizza making, just like everything else is in life, don’t ever give up.

Keep learning, and exploring; don’t settle for store-bought cardboard. Don’t forget to check our Definitive Guide to Make Homemade Pizza.

Keep moving forward and come up with the best techniques, ratios, and ingredients that work the best for You!

Additional Baker’s Resources

Check Amazon’s Pizza Must-Haves

Best 2 in 1
Perforated Pizza Peel for Outdoor/Indoor Pizza Oven

Why have two pizza peels when you can only have one. This pizza peel surpasses the benefits of wood peels with the convenience of a metal peel. It's made entirely from anodized aluminum for a lightweight design that's incredibly durable, too. It's designed to be used frequently in high-heat pizza ovens.

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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
Perforated Pizza Peel for Outdoor/Indoor Pizza Oven 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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