Pizza dough needs time to relax and rise, but you don't want it to over-rise. That's where aeration comes in. You introduce air without overworking the gluten by shaking or folding the dough. This makes for a more relaxed dough yielding a light and airy crust.
If you love pizza, you'll learn how to aerate your dough. It makes your pizza lighter and fluffy, allowing sauce and toppings to be evenly distributed.
But if you simply want to enjoy an airy crust direct from Naples to your dinner table, check here for a wide range of Neapolitan Pizzas.
Let's get started!
How To Get Air Bubbles in Pizza Dough?
Hollow bubbles are a unique part of the pizza; they're only achieved when you use the proper technique.
When rolling out the dough for your pie crust, ensure not to press all air out, as this will lead to flat pockets that won't form those beautiful hourglass shapes we know so well!
To create them properly, work in small amounts at a time using fingers or utensils until the desired shape has been reached. Simply let cook through before removing from the oven sooner rather than later.
Trust me on this one because deliciousness awaits any brave soul willing to take their slice home promptly after the waiting period expires.
Pizzas aren’t just about eating food-although I'm sure many could argue otherwise.
3 Factors That Contribute To Airy Pizza Dough
Getting an aerated dough may not be rocket science, but you must maintain three factors if you want your dough to be bubbly and fluffy.
Extended Fermentation Period
You can improve flavor and strength by using minimal yeast and allowing the fermentation process to go slowly.
The dough for this pizza needs to ferment for about 6 hours before you can use it. You can let it ferment in the fridge for up to 2 days to get the most flavor.
Well Moisturized Dough
For best results, I work with dough with about 75% hydration (the percent of water relative to the amount of flour). It will cause the crust to be chewy and the dough full of air bubbles, which contribute to a rich flavor.
However, the dough will not be so sticky that it becomes difficult to handle. It will be possible to form the dough into a pizza and slide it off the peel without falling apart.
A Really Really Hot Surface
Baking steel, pizza stone, inverted baking sheet, cast iron pan, or even an unglazed tile would all work. You can get the most out of your oven by preheating these surfaces. The end product is a beautiful handmade pizza with a crackling crust and charred patches.
Check our blog to find the impact of pizza dough proofing on aeration.
Pizza Dough Not Airy: What Goes Wrong?
It's crucial to knead your dough well, but too much time is unnecessary. For best results, knead your dough for at least 4 minutes, preferably 6! If you over-knead the dough, it will become too fine and crumb-like, making for a dense and heavy pizza crust rather than a crisp and airy one.
Pizza dough benefits from being kneaded to increase gluten content. Your pizza dough may not have a well-developed gluten network if you don't give it enough time to knead.
A chemical reaction occurs when you combine flour and water to make pizza dough, leading to gluten development. A dough's ability to stretch without tearing is attributable primarily to gluten's role in producing an elastic texture.
How do you Tell if Pizza Dough is Kneaded Correctly?
The dough's smoothness after kneading indicates that it is ready. At first, your dough will be rough and uneven; however, after some kneading, it should become smooth and slightly tacky.
Another indicator of well-kneaded dough is that it retains its form when held aloft without oozing or sagging. It's a sign that the gluten chains in your dough have developed, and the dough is now sturdy and tight.
If your pizza dough smells different, you must think twice before using it.
Poking holes in the dough is another simple method for determining if it has been kneaded enough. If the indentation left by your finger springs back immediately, the dough is probably ready to be used.
The windowpane test is a tried and true method that many bakers use. To accomplish this, separate a little piece of dough and gently stretch it by pinching it between your fingers.
Test your dough by stretching it into a thin film; if it doesn't tear, it's ready to be rolled out and baked.
Pizza Dough Aeration And Flour’s Protein
Pizza crust texture is determined by gluten, which is formed from the protein in the flour. High-protein bread flours provide the greatest pizza crusts. Here are the differences between pizza and bread flour.
Remember, the dough needs to rest longer if the flour has a higher protein content. The dough's strong elasticity means it will snap back into shape if it isn't rested long enough.
Even if you or your guest has a gluten intolerance, you may make a tasty pizza crust with the proper texture. Gluten-free pizza dough that performs similarly to regular doughs can be made using just a few key ingredients.
This excellent gluten-free pizza dough recipe uses Millet flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, dry yeast, and xanthan gum. It's simple to adapt for vegans and doesn't contain any gluten.
Rolling vs Stretching Pizza Dough For Aerated Crust
There are two main methods for stretching pizza dough: rolling and stretching. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, so selecting the proper method depending on your pizza-making goals is essential.
Rolling is the quicker and simpler of the two methods. All you need is a rolling pin and a flat surface. Just dust your work surface with flour, place the dough in the center, and use the hook to roll it out into a thin circle.
The main benefit of rolling is that it's easy to achieve a consistent thickness with this method. However, rolled dough can be less elastic and more prone to tearing, so it's not always ideal for creating a traditional pizza with a slightly puffy crust.
Stretching, on the other hand, takes a bit more practice to master but can produce superior results. To stretch the dough, gently press it down into a flat disc. Then, lift and stretch the dough using your hands until it's about 12 inches in diameter.
The key works slowly and evenly so the dough doesn't tear. The stretched dough tends to be more elastic than rolled dough, making it better suited for pizzas with a thicker crust. However, it can be more challenging to achieve an even thickness when stretching the dough by hand.
Whether you roll or stretch your pizza dough, the most important thing is to have fun and experiment until you find the best method!
So, what have we learned about how to get air bubbles in pizza dough? Three main factors contribute to an aerated crust: the type of flour, the way you roll or stretch the dough, and the temperature of your oven.
Understanding these principles can help you create a light and fluffy pizza crust every time. If you’re looking for a Neapolitan Pizza with an airy crust, look no further than Pizza Bien.
We use only the finest ingredients and follow all the proper techniques to ensure your pizza is perfect every time.
Thanks for reading – now go out there and start making some fantastic pizzas!
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