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I use the following recipe (based on this Serious eats article) for a sicilian style pizza:

  • 500 g All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 10 g kosher salt
  • 5 g rapid rise yeast
  • 347 g water

Mix in food processor til dough comes together then another 40 seconds.

Then, I turn it out on a half sheet pan with 6 tbsp oil, let it sit for ~3 hours, top with a can of Muir Glenn pizza sauce, some shredded cheese and some lunch meats. Bake at 550 F for about 16 minutes.

When I used Pillsbury/Gold Medal all purpose flour, I got better browning (and flavor) than compared to King Arthur all purpose flour. On the other hand, King Arthur gave better bubbles (I'm guessing due to the higher protein content).

I know King Arthur has more protein, so how does that affect browning? And can I do something to the recipe to increase my browning? I've played with the oven racks to bottom and middle, but not much luck (it's a relatively small oven, so it might not have as much effect as I'd like).

Note: I tested about 5 times with each Pillsbury, Gold Medal and King Arthur.

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    I'm at a bit of a loss here. KA flour should give more browning, according to most characteristics. Higher protein means more Maillard browning. KA is unbleached (unlike the others which are bleached and should remain somewhat lighter in color overall). KA flour should dry the crust sooner, both due to greater water absorption (which you kept constant) and higher bubbles which should have less moisture concentration near surface. It must come down to detailed flour composition, including ash and starch content, milling size, etc. but those aren't readily listed for most commercial flours. – Athanasius Jun 11 '16 at 16:42
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    By the way, if you want to increase browning, one of the common recommendations for pizza is to add diastatic malt powder. I've personally never used it for pizza, but a lot of bakers do recommend it to increase color. Another thing that can help: longer fermentation overnight in the fridge (or even for a couple days in the fridge). As for oven position, if you're trying to get the top of the pizza to brown more, put it higher in the oven. For bottom browning, place lower or invest in a baking stone. – Athanasius Jun 11 '16 at 17:03
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Changing the protein content affects the dough and the eventual crumb (when cooked). So the question shouldn't exactly be how does protein more protein/gluten affect browning, apart from the increased gluten will give you are more flexible dough which you work with more (ie thinner).

The two ways you can increase the crisping/browning of your pizza is:

  1. Roll/stretch out your dough thinner
  2. Placing your pizza on a pre-heated skillet before either placing into a hot oven, or better still using a broiler to apply a high heat from above. This will increase temperature on the base and topping.

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