Herb Infused Dough
When making a flavored crust, is there a rule of thumb for how much dried herbs to add to the dough?
When adding either onion or garlic to the dough, you must be careful not to add too much. Both onion and garlic have a significant dough softening effect. So, keep the amount of onion and garlic at, or below, 0.15 percent of the flour weight. By the way, this figures out to a little over 1/2 ounce of material per 25 pounds of flour weight. If you’re looking to get the biggest flavor bang without affecting your dough, I would suggest using either the onion or garlic as a topical application (pureed onion or garlic) on the dough just before baking. This will really add flavor to your crust.
Then, there is cinnamon. While we don’t normally think of cinnamon as something we would use in our dough, it can be used in a dessert pizza crust to impart a desirable flavor to the crust. Here again, caution must be exercised.
Cinnamon can significantly slow or even stop the yeast activity of your dough if it is added in sufficient quantity directly to the dough. The best way to handle the cinnamon issue is to simply add it to the dough rather than in the dough. You can mix it with butter and slather it onto the dough surface just before dressing the dough, or sprinkle it onto the pizza just before putting it into the oven. I like putting it into some butter and spreading it onto the dough surface. This method of addition provides for the greatest flavor retention of the cinnamon after baking. After all, we do want the crust to taste like cinnamon.
Let’s move on to some of the more traditional flavoring materials, like sun-dried tomato, oregano, basil, fennel, or even anise. These flavorings do not affect any of the dough handling or performance characteristics. As such, they can be added to the dough in amounts to provide whatever flavor profile you’re seeking to achieve. Whatever you decide to add to your crust, just remember not to overdo it, a little can go a long ways and it will give your finished crust a great background flavor that can compliment rather than overwhelm your other toppings.