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I would like to make a pizza base that is similar to takeaway pizza, in other words a base that is quite thick, spongy, chewy and stretchy. Domino's and Papa Johns are examples of the kind of base, but most takeaway pizza places do something similar. The base is usually covered in quite a bit of cornmeal.

I have tried all sorts of ways, plain flour, strong bread flour, extra strong bread flour, more oil, less oil, drier dough, wetter dough etc. and I've have always kneaded well for at least 12 minutes. My base turns out soft but always comes apart really easily, far from the chewy and stretchy nature of a typical takeaway base.

I do not have a pizza oven, my oven can only reach a maximum of 250C.

So does anybody know the secret to a good takeaway style base?

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Probably the pan has a lot to do with it, they cook them in pretty heavyweight iron skillets from what I've seen, no doubt with a fair bit of oil as lubrication, which will effect the crust formation. –  Orbling Nov 29 '10 at 21:03
    
One thing, I've found when making pizza base it to let it rise twice (like it was bread). Most pizza base recipes don't call for this, but i find it really helps, with making it more spongy –  Oxinabox Dec 1 '13 at 9:02
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

For a chewy pizza base, use bread flour. Do not use oil. Bread flour has a higher protein content that will help gluten form. Gluten makes the connections that keep dough together. Fat inhibits gluten formation.

A recipe of just water, flour, salt, and yeast mixed, kneaded, allowed to rise until doubled, and then rolled out will get you what you want. Make sure to roll out quite thin. Preheat your oven absolutely as high as it goes with a stone inside. Put your toppings on maximum one minute before they go into the oven so that the sauce does not make your dough soft. Place pizza on preheated pizza stone - cooking time at high temperatures will be quite short (max 10 minutes).

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Ah, I think adding oil is where I have been going wrong. Sugar also inhibits gluten formation apparently but salt strengthens it. That is according to McGee which for some reason I didn't think to consult first. I will do a test run soon and see how it goes and maybe get a stone. I have never seen a takeaway place use a stone, though, they just use thin pizza ovens and metal trays. –  Borbus Nov 29 '10 at 23:25
    
The stone is about increasing the heat potential of your domestic oven. It holds large amounts of heat if fully pre-warmed. It will release the heat into the cold pizza dough at a faster rate than a domestic over can heat. Having said that it never works well for me? I find a plain steel tray does the trick with the oven on MAX. I use a thin smear of olive oil to conduct the heat through the tray, and not cornmeal etc –  TFD Nov 30 '10 at 1:50
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I just made my test base using just strong white bread flour, water, salt and (instant) yeast. About 3.5:1 flour:water by volume. Raised for 2 hours then rolled ball in cornmeal before flattening out. Cooked at highest temperature in thin metal tray and it turned out much closer to my goal than anything I've done before. I pre-baked it on its own for about 3 minutes before adding some cheese and tomato to the top (a sort of lazy pizza) and I brushed the exposed crust with some oil. It's not quite as chewy and stretchy as domino's but close enough for me. Thanks! –  Borbus Nov 30 '10 at 17:14
    
Actually, as I eat more while typing this it seems it gets more chewy as it cools and sweats a bit. Maybe the cardboard box that a takeaway is delivered in helps it... –  Borbus Nov 30 '10 at 17:15
    
@Borbus - thanks for the update and glad it worked. Good call on par-cooking. That would help the toppings not soften it up. –  justkt Nov 30 '10 at 17:36
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