What causes speckled pizza dough—and how to solve the problem.

Magnetic dough is a real thing, says Tom “The Dough Doctor” Lehmann, and it’s one of two reasons for discoloration on your dough balls.



 

Q We recently made dough that came out speckled. Otherwise, it performed normally, and the crust didn’t taste any different. What happened?

 

A Speckling is caused by one of two factors. If you added a blend to the flour for vitamin and mineral enrichment, the speckling might be iron or rust spots due to the iron in the blend. The other possibility is oxidized bran particles. It’s easy to distinguish between the two. Carefully snip off several spots using scissors and place them on a magnet. If the bits are magnetic, the problem is most likely due to the iron in the enrichment blend, and you should discuss it with your flour supplier/miller. If the bits of dough aren’t magnetic, the problem is probably due to oxidized bran particles.

The latter seems to be getting more common, and I think it’s due to a change in the way wheat is milled into flour. Over the past several years, the flour extraction rate has crept up from about 76% (76 pounds of flour from 100 pounds of wheat) to 78% or more. This is also reflected in the higher ash content of today’s flour, compared to the flour of 25-plus years ago. The higher extraction rate typically leads to more bran in the flour. This is not necessarily a bad thing; bran and fiber are good for you. But when bran particles are exposed to air for a significant length of time (as in a dough being refrigerated or undergoing cold fermentation for a number of days) the bran particles become oxidized and turn a darker color, giving the dough balls a salt-and-pepper appearance. If you sell dough balls, that’s not a good thing, but if they’re for in-house use only, they’re perfectly safe to use. As you mentioned, speckling doesn’t affect the dough’s performance or the crust’s flavor.

So how do you prevent speckling? By oiling the dough balls immediately after forming them, you might be able to eliminate or diminish the problem. Placing them into individual plastic bags also seems to prevent speckling. Or you can ask your flour supplier or the milling company to recommend a flour slightly lower in ash content (and remember, ash content is an indicator of bran content). 

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Should You Be Buying New Equipment Before the Tax Year Ends?

Mike Rassmussen breaks down the do's and don'ts of equipment purchases prior to December 31.

Chef's Corner | Shawn Randazzo Explains His Philosophy Behind Detroit-Style Pizza

Shawn Randazzo, master of the Motor City pizza, teaches you all you need to know about Detroit-style pies so you don’t have to hear it through the grapevine.

December 2018: The 2019 Pizza Power Report and more!

Detroit-style pizza, cheese trends, chicken wings and more marketing tips.

Quick-Fire Questions with The Dough Doctor

Tom “The Dough Doctor” Lehmann provides rapid-fire responses to operators’ minor dilemmas.

Make Your Wing Sales Soar With These Insights From Operators

Chefs report on the hottest flavor trends and innovative cooking techniques for pizza’s best companion: the chicken wing.

The Best Local Marketing to Find You Long-Term Pizza Customers

What cheese trends are taking off in restaurants across the country? Experts and operators weigh in.

Your restaurant should be making the most out of your cheese choices.

Detroit-Style Is Motown's Favorite Pizza

Airy dough, crispy crust and signature caramelized cheese makes Detroit-style pizza an instant winner on any pizza lover’s list.

The 2019 Pizza Power Report: A State-of-the-Industry Analysis

To stay competitive in the pizza business in 2019, independents will have to meet customers’ growing demand for speed, customization, delivery and convenience.

How to make the most of your mozz

A staple at every pizzeria, mozzarella shines for its versatility in everything from apps and salads to pizza and pasta.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags