Creating a lighter deep-dish pizza crust

Tom “The Dough Doctor” Lehmann offers a solution to tough, chewy deep-dish pizzas.



 

QUESTION: 

Our deep-dish pizzas are too tough and chewy. What’s the secret to a light, tender deep-dish crust?

 

ANSWER:

This problem can be addressed in a number of ways. One way would be to add enough reducing agent—such as L-cysteine, glutathione or protease enzyme—to the dough to sufficiently weaken the flour protein. This will yield a more tender crust, but the dough will have a very short shelf life, both refrigerated and at room temperature, and it will be more prone to inconsistent performance due to temperature differences of the finished (mixed) dough. You may also have flavor problems, and dough stickiness will likely be a major complaint.

You could also use fermentation to mellow the flour proteins for a more tender finished crust. This will require paying careful attention to the finished dough temperature and fermentation time; we usually see some combination of both room temperature and refrigerated fermentation temperature employed, although a longer refrigerated fermentation time—five or more days—will sometimes do the trick. However, such a long storage time in the cooler can be problematic.

In my experience, it’s better to use flour with a lower protein content, such as an all-purpose flour or H&R, a winter wheat bread flour. My preferred strategy is to create a blend of your regular pizza flour with an all-purpose flour. Thus, you can create a flour blend that works well for your specific application and shop conditions. 

I was recently in a pizzeria where we were developing a deep-dish pizza crust. Using their regular flour (12.6% protein), the finished crust was unacceptably tough and chewy. But when we made it from a blend of 50% regular pizza flour and 50% all-purpose flour, the resulting crust had exactly the eating properties we were looking for. The crust was light and very tender, and it retained these properties even after the pizza had cooled down through a simulated delivery or carryout!

When using a blended flour, you can usually follow your regular dough management procedure. You just need to make sure that you proof the dough to the desired height before dressing it as a pizza for baking or par-baking or before storing it in the cooler for later use. To determine the right mix of your regular flour and the substitute flour, you’ll probably have to experiment a little bit. It will depend on a number of factors, such as the strength of your regular flour, the strength of the substitute flour and your dough management procedure.  

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Chef’s Corner: Pizzaiolo and rock musician Mick Mahan hits us with his best pizza shot.

In this exclusive Q&A, Pat Benatar’s bassist, owner of Parma Pizzeria Napoletana, talks about his love for all pizza styles and serving pies to rockers from REO Speedwagon, Toto and more.

Astoria: Pizza and espresso are a match made in Italy

Nothing compliments an Italian dessert like a well-made espresso or specialty coffee drink made with Astoria espresso machines.

Season’s eatings: How to harvest a bumper crop of profits throughout the year

Stuck in a rut? Start using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to rejuvenate your pizzeria’s menu while keeping your food dollars in the community.

5 effortless ways to improve your digital menu board and sell more pizza

With digital signage, your customers can see your menu in larger-than-life living color. Here’s how to use them to increase your sales and improve customer service.

The 2018 Pizza Power Report: A State-of-the-Industry Analysis

To stay competitive in the pizza business in 2018, independents will have to meet customers’ growing demand for speed, customization, delivery and convenience.

10 or 12? Advice on portion sizes for wing offerings

Will a six-count snack deal fly, and what’s the next step up from there?

Italian certified ingredients dominate the conversation at World Pizza Forum

PMQ's Missy Green takes a deeper look at the "Made in Italy" phenomenon.

What's Your Story? A pair of successful restaurateurs find a higher purpose with Little Box Pizza

This new concept with a conscience uses the power of pizza and small business ownership to turn lives around.

Get the gluten out with DeIorio's Fresh Prosciutto Gluten-Free Pizza

Serve your customers this prime pie made with fresh prosciutto, garlic and DeIorio's gluten-free pizza shells.

Will putting eggs in your dough leave you with egg on your face?

When it comes to improving your crust, eggs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags