Pizza dough requires a watchful eye, a careful hand and precise timing. High-quality ingredients and the perfect environment for yeast help as well. Sometimes, there are so many variables involved that it can seem miraculous when a batch of dough works at all — but demystifying the proofing process can help.
“Proofing” refers to the dough’s final rise, right before it’s baked. Thin-crust pizzas need very minimal, if any, proofing time, but pies with medium and thicker crusts take longer, and their height may double or even triple during the proof. Proofing is also what gives pizza dough those lovely air pockets, and develops gluten to the point at which the baked dough is tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to get proofing right. Dough needs to be covered during the proof, but if there’s a hole in your plastic wrap or you use a cloth that doesn’t create a tight seal, air exposure will cause the top of your dough to become crusty and tough. Varying air temperatures can also contribute to inconsistent or incomplete proofing. In addition to developing an “off” taste or unpleasantly sour notes, dough that hasn’t been fully proofed can be less filling and cause you to feel parched after you eat the finished product.
- When possible, opt for a longer proofing time at a cooler temperature. That will slow the growth of the dough, produce a better flavor and make the dough more elastic. Refrigerated dough can be proofed for 24 to 72 hours before baking.
- Try to keep a consistent temperature. Avoid stacking dough batches on top of a heated oven, for example, since they’ll proof unevenly.
- Keep your dough in a food-safe container and cover it completely with an airtight seal. A well-made pizza dough box prevents crusting on top and encourages complete and consistent proofing.
Of course, some high-quality mozzarella and fresh basil go a long way toward creating a delectable pizza as well. Eat up and enjoy the process!
Categories: Cambro Products