August 16, 2012 |

Deep-Dish Pizza Dough

By Tom Lehmann

I’m a newcomer to the pizza business. I’ve been experimenting making a deep-dish pizza in addition to my regular thin crust pizza. The thin crust pizza comes out really well, but the deep-dish pizza is always too tough and chewy. What’s going on?

The term “pizza flour” became synonymous with a strong, high protein flour back when the majority of pizzas made were of a thin crust variety. The method used to make the dough consisted of mixing the dough, transferring it to a suitably sized container, and allowing it to ferment for several hours. To enable the dough to withstand this fermentation, and still have sufficient strength to produce a light, flaky crust, the flour had to be very strong in nature. It had to have a high protein content, and that protein had to be very strong.

Times have changed from those early years of pizza production. We now use more effective methods of dough management. With the ever growing popularity of thick crust pizza varieties, and the quest for specific textural properties, pizza flour is not necessarily the flour of choice.
To achieve better handling and shaping properties, with reduced snap-back/memory, bread flour with 11-12.5 percent protein content is often used in pizza production. These lower protein flours also tend to produce finished crusts having a more tender eating characteristic. This is not meant to say that high protein pizza flour is a thing of the past, to the contrary, it is still the best flour to use for making many types of thin crust pizza. It is by far the choice of flour to use for making a New York style pizza. But, it is not the one flour for making all types of pizza. We’ve now got to choose between different types of flour to find the one best suited for making our specific pizza. I guess that’s the price of progress.