Steve: How much does the kitchen’s humidity affect the rise of the dough or cause blown pizza dough? Due to special restrictions, our dough table is six feet away from the back of our oven. It seems like our dough doesn’t blow up nearly as fast when we make it in the morning. Recently, we were slammed on a Wednesday night and had to knock out five 50-pound flour batches to get ready for Friday. We did this at around 7 p.m. The water temperature was as cold as we could get it. But the dough balls blew up to the point that they fell off the trays in the walk-in. Should we relocate the dough table/mixer to a cooler place in the store?
Tom Lehmann: Are you monitoring your finished dough temperatures? The humidity has little to nothing to do with blown pizza dough. It’s all in the dough temperature. Additionally, when mixing multiple doughs back to back, keep a 5-gallon bucket of ice water at hand. Pour the ice water into your mixing bowl while you’re scaling the ingredients, then pour the water back into the bucket prior to starting the mixing process. Add your dough water with the appropriate amount of shaved or flake ice (never cube or tube ice). Repeat this for each dough. Alternatively, you can put water in a large food-safe container, add ice to it and store it in your walk-in cooler. Assuming a mixing time of around eight to 10 minutes, the ice water should get your finished dough temperature down into the 70s even on the hottest days.
famousperry: I added a Mitsubishi split HVAC to my kitchen last year. It has been a game changer in both summer and winter months, and the operating costs aren’t bad. We also use it on humid days to get the humidity out of the kitchen. Also, on hot summer days, we keep our water buckets for dough in the walk-in freezer until they’re just about ready to freeze.
gmac42: We encountered the same issue when I was in the pizza business. The best dough we made resulted from putting our dough flour in the walk-in a week ahead of time. In addition, we made up portioned buckets of water and put them in the walk-in the night before we made dough. We also made our dough in the early morning during the hottest months.