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I seem to have a bad habit of mis-calculating ingredients, particularly the liquid ones. Can I just boil off excess water that I've added to a flour mixture (in this case a pizza dough)? Any other tricks, other than adding more flour (= huge amount of dough)?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

If everything is already combined, you can't really boil off the liquid without also cooking the flour, killing the yeast, and ruining your dough. If you don't want the large amount of dough you would have from just adding flour to what you have, your best bet is to just throw away a portion of what you've made, add flour to the remainder, and proceed. In the future, try adding 75% of the water, then adding the rest as needed. Sometimes this is the only way to account for additional moisture your flour may have absorbed in humid environments.

In the case of pizza dough though, if you have too much, if you portion it, lightly oil the portions, and freeze them individually, they should keep fairly well.

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How much extra water are you adding? If it's so much that simply adding a bit of extra flour won't do, I'd probably first looking at why you're measuring wrong. I don't imagine boiling it is a good idea. You don't want to boil your dough.

I would suggest whenever you are dealing with flour, to do it by weight. Google out a similar recipe that gives you weights instead of (or in addition to volume). Measuring flour by volume is notorious affected by humidity, how long the flour has been sitting in it's container, and numerous other things.

If you don't have or don't want to use a scale, you can follow the process found on King Arthur's site (and numerous other places) for accurately measuring flour. The short version is that it tells you to "fluff up" your flour first. If you fluff up the flour and then measure out the cup (scraping a straight line across the top of the measuring cup with a chopstick or something), it is almost always sufficient for my purposes.

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I tried the boiling technique before getting responses. Whatever you do, listen to these people and don't try boiling it! Holy mother. I managed to mess this one up as I'm an American living abroad, and having no measuring cup, used a 0.4 L pint glass to add 2.5 dL of water... I should have thought longer about what I was doing. Great tips. Thanks! – ryanjdillon Jul 18 '13 at 21:12
@shootingstars I love that your explanation for it is being American ^_^ measuring cups are mighty useful ... you should just order some online if they don't sell them in stores in Bergen. – Martin Turjak Jul 18 '13 at 21:29
haha. My point was just that I'm not fully in the SI mindset when I'm in the kitchen. I'll definitely be picking up a proper measuring instrument for this new apartment after this fiasco :) – ryanjdillon Jul 19 '13 at 11:52
@shooting You can add a little amount of flour after making the mistake, and work with a higher hydration dough. For example, many pizza dough recipes are 60% hydration (250 ml water for 400 g flour). If you got it to 100% hydration (400 ml water), you can add only 100 g of flour, making it 80% hydration (workable if you are determined) instead of adding 270 g of flour for a 60% dough. As this will also reduce the amount of yeast, you can easily save the excess dough in the fridge to use it as preferment in the next few days. – rumtscho Jul 19 '13 at 14:34

If you add flour to a dough after its made to compensate for too much water it will get tough and possibly not rise properly... all other ingredients will be out of ratio. THE SOLUTION IS SIMPLE. Everything you add water to, always add less than you need...always...because it's easy to add more water, but you can't take it back out. For pizza dough, the hardest part is getting the right amount of water... so put in less than the recipe calls for, let it run to incorporate, and then add a little water at a time. When it's almost ready..add water directly to the dry bits in the bottom of the bowl, this will give you a better idea of when it's enough.

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