January 1, 2017 |

Dough Doctor: Back to Basics

By Tom Lehmann

Create pan and thin-crust pizza with easy measurements


Tom Lehmann Pizza Today Resident Dough Expert

Tom Lehmann
Pizza Today Resident Dough Expert

Q: Can you help us develop a dough for a pan-style pizza as well as a thin-crust pizza based on 12.5 kilograms of flour? Additionally, can you show us how to make a pre-mix out of the dough formula?

A: While you don’t provide any specific information on the types of pizzas you want to make aside from pan style and thin crust, I will show how this is done using what I feel are generic formulas for both the pan style and thin-crust pizzas. I will also make the assumption that these pizzas will be baked in a deck oven as opposed to an air impingement oven.

Typical Pan Pizza Formula:

Flour: (11.4 to 12.8 percent protein content) 100 percent

Salt: 1.75 percent

Sugar: 2 percent

Shortening: (butter, margarine, lard, etc.) 4 percent

Note: Oil may also be used if

desired at 4 percent

Yeast: Active Dry Yeast/ADY at

.5 percent or Instant Dry Yeast/IDY at .4 percent or Compressed Yeast/CY at 1 percent

Water: 58 percent (variable)

Now we need to convert those percentages into actual ingredient weights. Here is how it’s done using your handy calculator:

Enter the flour weight that you want to use. In this case it will be 12.5 kilograms. and then press “X” then enter the percent showing the ingredient that you want the weight for and press the “%” key and read the answer in the display.

Here is how that looks for the above formula:

Flour: 12.5 kilograms

Salt: 12.5 x 1.75 press the “%” key and read 0.218 kilograms

Sugar: 12.5 x 2 press the “%” key and read 0.250 kilograms

Shortening: 12.5 x 4 press the “%” key and read 0.500 kilograms

Yeast: (ADY: 12.5 x 0.5 press the “%” key and read 0.0625 kilograms (IDY: 12.5 x 0.4 press the “%” key and read 0.05 kilograms.)  (CY: 12.5 x 1 press the “%” key and read 0.125 kilograms.)

Water: 12.5 x 58 press the “%” key and read 7.25 kilograms.

Note: you can manipulate the size of your dough formula up or down by adjusting the flour weight but always remember that the ingredient weights will always be shown in the same weight units (pounds, ounces, grams, kilograms, etc.) that the flour weight is shown in.

For a thin crust pizza here is a typical formula that has worked well for me for the past 30 years.

Flour (12.2 to 14+ percent protein content) 100 percent

Salt: 1.75 percent

Sugar: (optional) 2 percent

Oil: 2 percent

Yeast: 0.5 percent Active Dry Yeast/ADY or 0.4 percent instant dry yeast or compressed yeast/CY at 1 percent

Water: 62 percent (variable)

Since you want the dough to be sized on 12.5 kilograms of flour, just plug in 12.5 kilograms for the flour weight and follow the steps shown above for converting the percentages into ingredient weights.

To make a premix from the above dough formulations place 100 grams of flour in a container then add the salt, sugar (if used), and yeast (only if IDY is being used). If IDY is not being used the yeast (ADY or CY) will need to be added separately at the time the dough is mixed. Stir the above dry ingredients together and place into a suitable container such as a plastic bag making sure to identify the type of pizza the mix is intended for as well as the date that the mix was made. Securely close the bag (a twist tie works well) and set aside to store at room temperature until used. These dry mixes will keep for up to 30 days.

To use the dry mix, first add the water to the mixing bowl, followed by the weighed amount of flour (12.5 kilograms) If ADY is to be used it will need to be weighed and activated in 250-ml/grams of warm water (100 to 105 F/37.7 to 40.5 C). Once activated, it can be added at the same time the premix is added. If CY is to be used it should be crumbled and added just as it is at the time the premix is added. There is no need to suspend CY in water prior to addition to the mixing bowl.

We have found it best to hold the oil out of the dough until the flour has had a chance to hydrate which normally takes about two minutes of mixing at low speed. Once dry flour is not visually seen in the bowl the oil can be added and the dough mixed and managed in your normal manner.

There are advantages to making a dough premix which include keeping your ingredient amounts (dough formulation) as proprietary information from your staff, reducing ingredient scaling error as all of the ingredients can be weighed and assembled into the premix bags by a trusted employee rather than a number of different employees who may become distracted while weighing the ingredients. It can also speed up and simplify your dough-making process as all that is now required is to add the measured amount of water at the correct temperature, then add the flour followed by the premix and possibly the yeast if it is not included in the premix. Then mix for about two minutes at low speed, add the oil and continue mixing the dough in your normal manner.

A number of large pizzeria chains have adopted the use of premixes or “goodie bags” as they are sometimes referred to as with excellent success for the very reasons cited above. The main thing to remember is that the premixes need to be made specific to the size of dough being made (amount of flour used) with one premix bag intended for each dough. If the amount of flour used in the dough is changed the weights of ingredients contained in the premix bag will need to be adjusted to reflect the new flour weight.

Note: The small amount of flour used in making the premix is not included in the total flour weight. The flour does not even need to be the same type of flour that the dough is made from. For example, a bag of flour could be opened and set aside for use in making all of the premix bags needed regardless of the type of flour used in the dough formulation. In many instances we find that the small amount of flour used in the premix is either semolina flour or in some cases even corn flour. The type of flour really doesn’t matter as it has essentially no impact upon the dough or finished crust in any way. Instead, the flour in the premix is used as a diluent for the other premix ingredients and to mask the identity of the ingredients present in the premix.

Tom Lehmann is a former director at the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kansas and Pizza Today’s resident dough expert.