Getty Images / Amnad
Food & Ingredients

What If You Added Pineapple Juice to Your Dough Formula?

The enzymes in just a drop or two of certain juices can help break down gluten strands for a more relaxed dough, expert bakers say.

Pineapple as a pizza topping is controversial enough. So what if you added a few drops of pineapple juice to your pizza dough? There’s a good reason to try it, according to some culinary experts.

And don’t worry—the pineapple haters need never know.

In their 2017 book, Modernist Bread, a James Beard Award-winning encyclopedia of knowledge and techniques for bakers, authors Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya put forth the idea of using pineapple juice as a dough relaxer. And not just for bakery-style bread—it works for pizza dough, too, they said.

Related: How to minimize snap-back in your pizza dough

Dough conditioners improve volume, dough handling, crumb structure, crust color and more. They often come in the forms of reducing agents, emulsifying agents, various malts, vital wheat gluten, oxidizing agents and more.

Reducing agents, for example help dough develop (or mix) faster and become softer and more extensible, with significantly less shrinkage. These dough characteristics lend themselves well to modern pizzerias’ high-speed production styles. The more “relaxed” your dough is, the easier it is to manage and shape into a pizza crust.

But if you try adding pineapple juice to your dough formula, don’t add much. In bakers percentage terms, the Modernist Bread authors recommend adding anywhere from .01% to .05% of fresh pineapple juice. You can also try papaya juice at .03%. That comes to just one or two drops of juice from an eyedropper, but it always depends on your overall dough formula.

Related: How to calculate bakers percent in dough-making

As Epicurious explains, fruits like pineapple, kiwis and papayas contain powerful proteases—enzymes that break down proteins, including long strands of gluten. “The result, if a given enzyme is used in the correct proportions, is a dough that doesn’t angrily snap back when you stretch or roll it out (a quality that bakers call ‘extensibility’). For pizza, pretzel, and bagel recipes, having a relaxed dough is a real boon when you attempt to shape it.”

Best of all, a drop or two of pineapple juice won’t affect your dough’s flavor in the least. But it’s always best to start with less juice and do some experimenting with multiple batches of dough.