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I am a complete noob to baking/making dough so if I made a clear mistake in my process please correct me.

I am trying to make pizza dough. Based on the recipe I was following I suppose its neopolitan pizza dough, but honestly I just see it as pizza dough.

I mixed 500g of bread flour, 14g instant yeast, 14g cane sugar, 380g (65% hydration) of water at 115 degrees F (46 degrees C). I also mixed in 70g of Greek Yogurt and some arbitrary amount of salt and garlic powder. Once I mixed this all together in a bowl, I attempted an easy kneading process where I cover the bowl with saran wrap, then every 5 minutes I unwrap the bowl, fold the dough over on itself from all 4 sides, then rewrap, repeating 4 times (20 minutes). After doing this, the dough was still sticky and wet, and NOT springy at all.

Finally, I lifted the still very sticky dough out of the bowl, sprayed with some olive oil so it doesn't stick, then let the covered bowl sit on my windowsill under direct sunlight. My understanding is that doing all of this was supposed to build the gluten network as well as let the dough rise.

After about 2+ hours of it sitting on my windowsill, my dough looked like this, which doesn't look right at all: enter image description here

It did rise, but seems to have "popped". And certainly the saran wrap did not have dough on it before, so my assumption is that the dough rose to the point where it hit the saran wrap then "popped". It was still sticky at this point, so I "kneaded" it in the bowl (mostly just mushing it around to be honest), added a bit of AP flour on the surface of the dough, rewrapped then placed in the fridge.

My question is, is my dough still useable for pizza? What did I do incorrectly? The video I was following gave the instructions for kneading like that and stated the dough should be springy afterward, but it was not as I mentioned above. My dough is still very sticky. Also, I have no idea anymore whether I should let it proof at room temp or in the fridge.

My understanding of pizza dough is:

  1. Mix ingredients with yeast, with correct temp water, and proper hydration

  2. Knead dough to build gluten network until its no longer sticky but rather smooth and springy

  3. Let it bulk ferment in warm place for about 2 hours

  4. Once it's risen, cut into smaller dough balls and place dough balls in fridge

  5. Eat delicious pizza

Can someone help me understand what went wrong here and how I can correct this for next time?

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  • For homescale baking, it's useful to be willing to say "that looks too wet, let's add some flour" though I grasp that this does not sit well with precision recipe-followers, and people who read bread books claiming you can't do that. Of course, you lack the experience, but you knew... I'd also delay adding the "arbitrary amount of salt" until later in the process (well, I wouldn't add it at all, which has been working well for me for multiple decades...)
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 7 at 0:03
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    Nice socks brother! Aug 7 at 16:06
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    Not sure where you got that recipe, but it is NOT neopolitan pizza dough, which is made with only salt, water, flour, and yeast. That sounds more like a recipe for pita bread.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 7 at 18:53
  • @Beautifullyirrational lmao thanks Aug 7 at 19:04

1 Answer 1

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If you divide the amount of water (380) by the amount of flour (500) you get .76 x 100 = 76% hydration. Then, you added 70 grams of yogurt (which is not usually found in pizza dough), but that adds to your hydration....now you at around 90% hydration. Neapolitan pizza is usually around 55 to 60 percent hydration. So, I would say you have too much liquid for the amount of flour, and you might want to use a different formula.

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    I just realized I made a typo in my OP. I meant to put 580g. Nevertheless, 380g water + 70g yogurt = 450g and 450/580 is 77% hydration so hydration and putting it in direct sunlight which overproofed it were the problems. Aug 7 at 3:05
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    While I agree with this analysis I would recommend to also skip the sugar and reduce the amount of yeast drastically. Check the AVPN recipe for detailed and well tested instructions to gain authentic results: pizzanapoletana.org/public/pdf/disciplinare%202008%20UK.pdf
    – J. Mueller
    Aug 7 at 13:41
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    To be honest, it actually turned out okay. I just mushed it around again in the bowl, then covered it and let it sit in the fridge. It rose again in the fridge, I portioned about my dough balls and made a pizza. Is it perfect pizza dough? No. But it works for me and my pan pizza tasted delicious :) Aug 7 at 19:05
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    I think the learnings for next time though are 1) proper hydration, 2) better kneading for better gluten development and 3) not leaving it on the windowsill in direct sunlight which caused overproofing. Probably will leave it at room temp then cut it and let each dough ball rise in the fridge. Aug 7 at 19:06
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    @JeremyFisher I was going to comment that the dough in the op looked perfectly serviceable. High hydration dough tends to make the great crusts. Check out cold ferment (refrigerator rise) methods on YouTube, best result with almost no kneading or initial rise.
    – eps
    Aug 7 at 20:49

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