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Assuming that you ever saw someone making a pizza out of a dough, you probably noticed that usually they push with quite some energy the dough down and use the other part of their energy to enlarge the disc . Even after all this stress applied to the dough, most pizza are really soft, airy and fluffy inside: why is that and what makes this happen ?

I would like to replicate this with my own recipe because this behaviour is really useful, especially if I can just let the dough rise, make the disc just before putting it in the oven and get a nice soft result .

The only thing I can't replicate for sure is an oven capable of expressing 1,100° F and more, mine is about 400° F tops; based on my experiments something like a teaspoon of honey or fructose in general helps to get some more fluff, but not too much elasticity or structure .

  • I don't understand what you mean by "recover". Are you asking why pizza dough quickly regains its shape during kneading (it's elastic), or why it rises in the oven? – rumtscho Oct 16 '14 at 9:24
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Yeast action is only one factor in getting a rise when baking. Yeast metabolizes sugars and produces CO2 bubbles which puff up your dough, and also help with gluten development to make your dough stretchy. However, when you bake your dough much of the lift you get is from the expansion of water turning into steam - this is what makes pizza dough puff up a bit when baked and gives you that texture.

Water is also important in gluten development when your dough is proofing, without enough water you won't get an elastic dough with good crumb. My thinking is that your dough is too dry, so add more water to your dough. Stick to the amounts of flour and water in a trusted recipe and knead with oil instead of flour. After kneading your dough should be fairly loose and just a bit sticky, and you should be able to stretch it quite a bit without breaking.

Regarding oven temperatures you don't need the fires of hades to make a good pizza - the most important things for a good pizza is a good base, sauce, and quality ingredients. Crank your oven up as high as it will go and use a pizza stone (make sure to heat it up for at least 30 minutes) and you'll get a good result.

  • I never really understood the suggestions regarding adding more water, are you implying the use of a flour with more starch in it so the dough retains more water or are you suggesting the creation of a more "sticky" dough ? – user2485710 Oct 16 '14 at 17:25
  • I'm not implying using a flour with more starch, simply saying to increase the amount of water in the dough in proportion to the flour. – GdD Oct 16 '14 at 19:34
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I believe that you want to be able to mix, knead, and shape the dough like in a fast food pizza establishment. They use special flour mixes with chemicals designed for this stretch and fast rise process. A good quality restaurant uses a 1 to 2 day cold rise process. After removing the dough from the fridge with oil on the outside is kneaded into the dough. The ball is allowed to rest for 30 min. Then separate into balls for each pizza. Form disk shape and place in bags for each into the fridge for 30 to 60 min. Then remove and expand into a thin dough disk. This will rise the best and have very small dense air pockets. Consider how the kneading, cold rise, kneading, cold rest/proofing, and warm rest add to the opportunities to form air pockets as well how the resting and tightening of the gluten network add to the final elasticity of the dough yet allow for significant rise.

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The molecules (arrangement of atoms) which comprise pizza dough are polymeric in affinity.

You've probably heard of polymer chains, usually in association with petrochemicals. But foods too can possess this property.

Polymers invariably are long structures because their individual molecules like to come together in relatively straight lines, sort of like what happens to a handful of neodymium magnets tossed into close proximity.

Accordingly, such structures resist bending, much less folding over into loops. If forced into such states they will always and immediately commence to resume their preferred state, to wit a roughly linear one (in the Euclidian sense).

The mere act of manipulating pizza dough is unable to overcome this property. The application of heat however suffices to do so, at least to some noteworthy extent, because it has the power to break some of the nuclear forces which bind the molecules together ...thus turning them into slightly different kinds of molecules.

Much more delicious ones. Toss it up to experience, lol.

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