The Fresh Loaf

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Bland pizza dough -- what gives?

Urchina's picture

Bland pizza dough -- what gives?

Tonight's dinner was homemade pizza. I put my regular dough recipe away in favor of trying an overnight, slow-fermented pizza dough. We ended up with a pizza dough that was crispy on the bottom, chewy and pillowy up top, but so unbelievably bland. This was even more surprising considering the long, cold ferentation (24 hours in the fridge). The recipe is as follows: 


20 oz KAF Bread flour

~ 2 cups water

4 t active dry yeast

2 T olive oil

3.5 t salt

The flour and 1.5 c water are mixed and autolyzed for 20 minutes while the yeast is dissolved in the rest of the water. After the autolyse, the yeast, oil and salt are mixed in and the dough is kneaded (KA mixer 2) for 5-6 minutes. The very wet, sticky dough is then put in a large oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and popped in the fridge for 24 hours. 

To make the pizza, the dough is set at room temp for an hour or so, then turned out, divided into two, and stretched into a 14" round. Topped, then baked at 450 for 15 minutes. 


The flavor of the crust was less bread-y than the quicker crusts I make on the same day, although the texture was better. Any ideas for boosting flavor in this type of dough? Thanks!


dwcoleman's picture

560g of flour, and you're using 4t of yeast?  Usually with an overnight fermentation you would use far less yeast, say maybe 1t or 1.5t.  


Search for Peter Reinharts Breadbakers Apprentice recipe, it is very good and employs an overnight fermentation.

Elagins's picture

i use an imported tipo 00 flour for my pizzas and the miller recommends a *minimum* of 7.5 hours of fermentation. generally, i ferment in my wine cooler at least overnight, and more often somewhere around 20-24 hours, using the equivalent of 1/4% of instant yeast.

also, 80% hydration, plus oil, is excessively slack. the official regulations for Pizza Napoletana specify 55-60% water and no oil. i used to hydrate 65% with another 10% of extra-virgin olive oil thrown in. i've since lowered my hydration to 58% and cut out the oil entirely.

my daughter, who just got back from 14 months in Milan, told me that my crust is the equal of anything she ate in Italy.

Stan Ginsberg

Dragonbones's picture

Reinhart's Neo-neopolitan pizza dough from Artisan Breads Every Day has 0.44% yeast, i.e. 1 tsp per 24 oz flour for an overnight dough. The OP's amount is more than quadruple this. Perhaps the huge amount of yeast means the sugars are too depleted, resulting in poor browning and poor flavor?  Why not try again with only 1 t yeast?

Urchina's picture

I just picked a random recipe out of Cooking Light (I know, I know, when there are so many excellent ones here, why? the answer is, i was hungry and it looked good). I can easily try another recipe. But I was more curious as to why the crust was so incredibly bland. Was it because I used bread flour instead of AP flour? Was it due (as Dragonbones suggested) to the large amount of yeast using up the available sugar in the dough? I was particularly surprised because in my experience the overnight fermentation makes for a more flavorful bread, not usually a less-flavorful one. But in this case....  


Any other ideas on the bread chemistry would be welcome. Thanks!

rayel's picture

I like Dragonbones explanation, But i feel the flavor also might have been

drowned out by the yeast's overbearing presence.   Ray