Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When I cook pizza it gets all watery. There's literarily water formed on top of the dough. I believe it's released by the mozzarella, but I'm not totally sure.
Any ideas how to avoid this?

Some more information: I'm cooking at around 230C (according to the oven, who knows!) with an electric oven. No stone, just the metal tray. The pizza has exactly the same shape as the metal tray (which is a rectangle, just as the oven).

According to my last experiments, the source of the water is definitely the cheese. I'm cooking the dough, then adding the tomato sauce, then adding the cheese and the water doesn't appear until the cheese-phase. I tried all the possible mozzarellas that I can get at the supermarket with the same result.

share|improve this question
1  
How hot is your oven? Are you using a pizza stone? If so, how long did you heat the stone for? –  derobert Apr 25 '11 at 23:02
    
@derobert: I answered your questions in my question. –  J. Pablo Fernández Apr 27 '11 at 11:29
    
I'm just soaking the water with paper towel if it happens to me. I don't worry about it a lot. In my case, the water was from mushrooms and sauce. –  Ska Sep 4 '13 at 20:38
add comment

5 Answers 5

up vote 16 down vote accepted

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a watery pizza:

  • Cheese If you think the cheese is the culprit, you can try using a "low moisture" mozzarella (these are dry to the touch on the outside). If you are using a "fresh" mozzarella (these usually are sold in a brine), e.g., classic mozzarella di bufala or mozzarella fior di latte, I recommend slicing the cheese as opposed to grating the cheese. The idea is that slicing the cheese will produce less surface area, and thereby reduce the amount of water that leeches out. Also, I recommend dabbing the cheese slices with a kitchen towel to remove any surface moisture. If you use this method, it will also help to cut the cheese in very thin slices, since that will release more moisture before it touches the pizza and it will also reduce the amount of cooking time.
  • Tomato Sauce I recommend making the sauce yourself. As opposed to simmering the tomatoes/sauce on the stove for a long time, I prefer making a light tomato sauce that actually cooks on the pizza itself. I quickly purée the tomatoes (canned are fine) in a food processor and then let them strain in a fine mesh colander for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. That gets rid of a lot of water (the tomatoes lose about half of their volume). Throw in some minced garlic, chopped basil, and season and it is ready to go on the pizza.
  • The Cooking Method Since my home oven doesn't get as hot as a traditional pizza oven, I always "blind" cook my pizza without the cheese. In other words, I throw the dough, add the sauce, and then cook it with just the sauce for 4 or 5 minutes. This allows any extra moisture in the sauce to cook off. I then remove the pizza, add the cheese, and then broil it until the cheese is melted and browned.
  • The Dough If the dough ends up becoming soggy, you can always compensate by making it a bit thicker.
share|improve this answer
6  
Also : pre-cooking ingredients; some items like onions and bell peppers may give off too much liquid to evaporate quickly in a home oven; you can saute or roast them first, then use them on the pizza. And my normal method for home cooking is to par-bake the crust a little first, before adding any sauce or other toppings. –  Joe Apr 22 '11 at 17:26
1  
I'm a newbie when it comes to the kitchen. As far as I know, I'm using fresh mozzarella and according to my recent experiments, the water is definitely coming out of the mozzarella, which I'm grating, so it seems your advice is spot on there. I'm going to slice next time and report back. Aside of that, my cooking method is the same as yours except that I buy the dough and the tomato sauce. –  J. Pablo Fernández Apr 27 '11 at 11:33
3  
Straining the sauce... I tried it on Friday -- holy rusted metal, Batman, that makes for some good pizza. (The cheese gets a little slippery, though.) –  Neil Fein May 2 '11 at 1:52
1  
I dried the mozzarella as explained and got a lot of water out. It took two hours and it was definitely an improvement but still too much water in the pizza and it took a lot of kitchen paper towels. I'll have to improve the method. –  J. Pablo Fernández May 9 '11 at 13:39
    
Even better for fresh mozzarella: tear it apart with your hands, and leave it in a bowl to release the milk. You can do this before making the dough, and leave the bowl in the fridge in the meantime. –  nico Jan 26 '12 at 19:43
add comment

Basically you have to avoid ingredients with too much water. For instance, if you use mushrooms use them fresh, don't cook then and then add to the pizza. When handling products that use a liquid as preservative (salt water/ vinegar/ oil) drain them with a colander or something similar.

However, what's really important is to keep the tomato sauce and fior di latte dry. When it comes to the tomato sauce, mixing the fresh tomato with a tomato paste is helpful. If thickens the tomato sause so you still can use a good amount of those in your pizza, so you don't have to worry about losing any flavor. As a second option you might use less tomato sause, what comes with loss of flavor and moisture, very important for the pizza texture as well.

If you go for a common mozzarella, the yellow one, be aware they'll release lots of oil (usually those products have a high level of fat). Oil plus water in not a good combination on the top of your pizza. There's not much you can do here but use less or find a mozzarella with less/ no fat (again, at flavor loss, as fat is a flavor enhancer).

Fior di latte would be a better choice for a traditional pizza, it's lighter than the mozzarella and has a great flavor. I've seen fior di latte that comes inside buckets with water, what makes them very, very wet, not a good help for you. But there are some hard blocks or shredded fior di latte. Those are a great choice, 'coz they will not make your pizza soggy as they don't release too much water (or any whatsoever).

Cooking from home don't expect much though. As the cook is slow due to the low oven temperature (the ideal temperature starts between 350 and 400 degrees) it slowly dehydrates the toppings, so the water comes out. I work in a wood fire oven and the pizzas are cooked under 6 minutes. At home it takes me 10 to 15 minutes.

Hope it helps.

Cheers!

Rodd

share|improve this answer
add comment

is it water or fat/lipids? It can indeed be the cheese, but many tomatoes also contain high amounts of water. Use harder cheese, and source your tomatoes from elsewhere. Nice, firm, fleshy tomatoes rather than the bloated balls of water typically sold under the name in supermarkets.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I would slice my ingredients thinly eg tomtoes mushrooms and also mozzarella, half bake the dough first as its less likely to soak up the moisture when a little harder. I found the more you put on the pizza the higher the risk of a soggy bottom!!

share|improve this answer
add comment

I've come up with a better means of "pre-cooking" the dough, as I've found that the sauce can prevent the dough from getting crisp. Use cheese to prevent the dough from rising in the middle, it allows the crust to rise alone. Just a light amount of mozzarella, mind you, not all of it. Then, after the edges rise and the bottom is slightly cooked, put the sauce on, then the remaining cheese.

I've had tremendous results doing it this way.

share|improve this answer
    
That doesn't help if the cheese is a source of the moisture? –  talon8 Jan 24 '13 at 20:31
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.