Q We’re opening a new location in four weeks, and I’m in need of help. I’m looking for a really good dough formula for coal-fired pizza. I would like to use 50-pound bags of flour per batch. Please help me out!
A Here is a dough formula that I’ve used a number of times in coal-fired ovens:
Instant dry yeast: 0.4%
Water: 58% at 65°F (amount can be varied)
Put the water in a bowl and add salt, flour and instant dry yeast. Mix the ingredients until you don’t see any dry flour remaining in the bowl. Add your oil and continue mixing until the dough has taken on a smooth appearance. Your target finished dough temperature should be 75° to 80°F.
Immediately scale and ball the dough and place your dough balls into plastic dough boxes. Wipe the top of the dough balls with salad oil, then put them immediately into the cooler, cross-stacked, for three hours. Down-stack your dough balls and kiss ’em good night!
This dough can be stored in the cooler for up to 96 hours. It’s ready to use after 24 hours in the cooler, but it’s best after 48 hours. Once you’re ready to use the dough, allow it to warm at room temperature until the dough balls reach 50°F. Then you can start opening the dough into skins for immediate use.
Q In your last column, you talked about the many advantages of instant dry yeast. Is there any advantage to using fresh yeast? I have access to both and want to choose the better option.
A From my years of research in dough making and dough management, I would say, without hesitation, that instant dry yeast is the best way to go. Just add it dry to your flour. Once you’ve opened the bag, simply roll it down tightly against the remaining yeast and secure it with a rubber band. If you think you’ll use the entire bag within several days, you don’t even have to refrigerate it after opening.