1. How to make a different amount of dough (ie, smaller or larger pizzas, less or more pizzas, and/or thicker pizza?):
a. Click on the Pizzamaking.com dough calculator.
b. After opening the link, scroll down to the bottom of the page to the pizza calculator and enter the following values:
- For “Thickness Factor” enter 0.08 (very thin) (that’s a pretty thin pizza but you might find that too thin, you can enter a value of 0.1 (average/thin), which is the suggested low in the calculator for most people’s taste)
- For the remaining values enter:
- Hydration, 62%
- Yeast 0.4%
- Salt 1.5%
- Oil 1.5%
- Sugar 1%
2. Does the dough rise much?
No, this dough does not rise much in the refrigerator but you will see some bubbling activity on the bottom, if you use a see-through plastic container
3. Why is my dough so sticky?
The dough can be a little sticky. I flour the top and bottom of the dough pretty well before I form the pizza which helps with the stickiness and also I oil the plastic bags or containers that the dough gets stored in before refrigerating it.
Please note that bread flours absorb more water than do all purpose or other lower protein flours so the lower the protein content in your flour, the stickier your dough will be.
4. My dough does not stretch easily – what went wrong?
This can happen if the gluten is not relaxed enough. Usually you can just let the dough sit for a few more minutes and it becomes easier to stretch. That said, this recipe usually produces a fairly extensible dough that is easy to stretch. Read about extensibility vs elasticity here.
1. I can’t find instant yeast/ how do I convert between instant and active yeast?
You can use active dry yeast or even cake yeast. I use Red Star yeast, and the amounts between instant and active are interchangeable for that particular brand. I recommend Googling your brand to see what the conversion is between instant and active because it may not be 1:1. Red Star is an excellent site for more information on yeast and I highly recommend their brand or SAF brand.
2. How do I convert between dry yeast and cake yeast?
See here to convert between cake yeast and dry yeast (instant or active).
3. What is the difference between active yeast and instant yeast?
According to the Red Star yeast website, instant yeast is dried in smaller particles which caused it to act faster than active dry yeast; instant yeast doughs will proof 50% sooner than active dry yeast doughs.
Read more about yeast on Red Star yeast’s site.
1. Why is salt in pizza dough?
Salt is an important flavor enhancer and it amplifies the fermentation flavors in the pizza dough. Salt also acts to tighten the gluten network in the dough (ie, gives strength and helps with final product volume) and delays fermentation, enhancing flavor.
2. How do I convert table salt measurements to kosher salt?
Please refer to this conversion table
3. Why add salt after a minute or two of mixing the dough (ie, delay adding the salt)?
I delay adding the salt until after the dough comes together because salt tightens the gluten network and so delaying the addition is supposed to facilitate the kneading process (I have also read that it’s best to add it earlier on so you can try and compare).
1. What is the difference between all-purpose flour and bread flour?
All purpose flour has less protein in it compared with bread flour. Bread flour will absorb more water and also makes a bit of a chewier and crispier/denser bread/pizza crust.
I highly prefer unbleached, unbromated flour. I typically use King Arthur all-purpose (which has a relatively high protein content compared with other national all purpose brands); I also have used King Arthur bread flour.
2. How much protein does my brand of flour have in it?
This list gives some guidance. I have not been able to find a more comprehensive listing.
1. Should I add sugar to the dough and what does it do?
Sugar is needed to help the top of your crust brown before the pizza dries out or the cheese burns. Adding a small amount of sugar also helps cold-retarded doughs perform better as the sugar provides additional food for the yeast.
1. What happens when I add oil to the pizza dough?
Oil will help to make the crust more tender, more flavorful and, at higher percents (3% or higher), helps to speed up the stretching of the pizza dough. It also makes the dough easier to stretch (ie, extensible)
1. What is the best kind of cheese to use in NY pizza?
The most commonly used cheese is mozzarella cheese. I have noticed that the BEST cheese to use is low moisture, WHOLE milk cheese, which is usually tough to find. Most markets carry the part skim which burns faster and just doesn’t melt as well.
1. What kind of tomato sauce do you use?
At the time of this writing, I have switched to 7/11 ground tomatoes. I love this sauce! It is hard to find, unfortunately. I’m buying it at a local Italian market.
PIZZA BAKING QUESTIONS
1. How do I bake a NY pizza in my home oven for optimal results?
In my oven, I have found that the best method is to use a pizza steel or pizza stone which has been placed within 6 to 8 inches of the top of the oven. Preheat at 500 degrees for about 45 mins and then slide the pizza in the oven. The goal is to cook a 14 inch pizza in 6 mins or less (otherwise, the crust begins to dry out and lose that crisp yet flexible quality)
2. My cheese is burning before the rim of my pizza is cooked – what should I do?
First, make sure you are using whole milk, low moisture mozzarella. The part skim cheese will burn much sooner! Other tips would be to use a touch more sauce or to use frozen shredded cheese.
3. Why is a short bake time important?
The shorter bake times help ensure that your crust does not dry out and remains crisp yet flexible, a hallmark of NY style pizza