You've probably wondered how to do pizza dough proofing. The good news is that the process can be done in just a few steps.
First, make sure that the dough is at room temperature for 2 hours before slicing it. During this time, the dough will degas or generate air bubbles, which give the pizza a crisper and lighter texture. Once it's at room temperature, you can shape and bake the pizza as soon as the next morning.
However, while this little description may clear the bigger picture, it's the details that make a pizza proof perfectly. At Pizza Bien, we have gathered years of experience in finding the secret behind pizza dough proofing. Thus, without any further ado, let's see how to do pizza dough proofing.
The Complete Guide to Neapolitan Pizza Dough Proofing
In order to prepare a truly Neapolitan pizza, you must follow the proper method for Neapolitan-style dough proofing.
Neapolitan pizza dough is made with only four ingredients: type 0 flour, water, natural yeast, and salt. Although it is difficult to find double zero flour in North America, it is not impossible to replicate the recipe using all-purpose flour. You can also use 00 flour if you wish. You will have a more delicate dough than all-purpose flour, but this type of dough will never yield the same results.
Step 1: Prepare The Dough
In order to achieve the best pizza base, you must first make the dough. You need a wooden board and two-thirds flour with salt on one side. Pour water into the other area and knead it for another two to three minutes. As the dough rises, add water little by little until it reaches the proper consistency. The dough needs to be proofed for at least one hour.
Where To Store Pizza Dough During Pizza Proofing?
You can either place the dough in a cool room or place it in an oven. An oven will hold a constant temperature for longer. This helps the dough develop richer and more complex flavors.
Using the oven for proofing is ideal if you want to experiment with temperature and time. A temperature of around 33 degrees Fahrenheit is best for slow, extended fermentation. While the oven can also be used to proof dough, it must be turned off when not in use.
Step 2: Cover It Up
To proof, place a bowl or another cover on top of the dough. Once the dough is proofed, you must then bake it in a preheated oven. The process is crucial for making the most authentic Neapolitan pizza, so follow these steps to ensure a perfect dough base.
Step 3: Divide The Dough
Typically, Neapolitan pizza dough is around 200-250g, while a thick-crusted 12 to 14-inch pizza dough is around 300-400g. After this, the dough should rest on a flat surface for at least two hours.
You should cover it with a damp cloth to avoid drying. Next, you should weigh the dough and divide it by the desired weight. You can divide the dough into small balls and put them in Tupperware containers.
Step 4: Bake Your Pizza
Lastly, you can use an oven or a wood-fired pizza oven. A wood-fired oven is perfect for baking a Neapolitan pizza. It's not difficult to make, and the process is worth the effort.
You can even bake a pizza with homemade pizza dough, which is delicious and easy to make. If you have never tried making your own, check out our complete guide to Neapolitan pizza dough proofing.
Pizza Proofing Made Easy For Beginners
The proofing stage is an essential step in making pizza dough. While you're kneading the dough, you can leave it on the counter for an hour or so. Once it has doubled in size, it's ready to be baked.
However, it's important to follow the directions below carefully, so you don't destroy the yeast or the dough.
1. Warm It Up
If you are not sure how to proof the dough, the first step is to warm it up by covering it with a plastic wrap. Once it is warm, you can stretch it, roll it, and it will snap back into shape.
You should leave the dough out for at least an hour before you start baking. You can then slice the dough, if you like, and enjoy the deliciousness of the homemade pizza. It doesn't take much time and effort!
2. Give It Time
It's important to give your ample dough time to proof. Otherwise, the dough may become over-proofed. Fortunately, the longer it is proofed, the better its tastes and texture will develop.
Plus, it's much easier to cut a crispy pizza than to make a dough with a soft center. If you want the perfect burnt crust, prove it! This will improve your dough's texture, flavor, and appearance.
Once you've shaped your dough and given it the right amount of time, you can begin shaping the dough. By shaping the dough, you can prevent air from being trapped in it and stretch it into the desired shape. This will help the pizza turn out fuller and lighter.
3. Mixing, Kneading and Rising
After mixing, kneading, and rising, your dough should reach double bulk and be ready for baking. Once this happens, it's time to stretch it out, roll it out, and bake it!
If you've made your dough before, make sure that it has a longer shelf life than you'd expect it to have. If you have extra dough, you can divide it up into balls and store them in the fridge. Cut them off as needed.
Proofing your dough should take anywhere from one to 24 hours. Cold-proofing it can take as long as 72 hours! And don't forget to use an airtight container or plastic wrap-covered bowl.
How To Not Overproof Your Pizza Dough?
When proofing pizza dough, it's important not to overproof it. Ideally, the dough should double in size. While proofing, you should check for bubbles. Large bubbles indicate over-proofing.
First, make sure that the yeast you are using is fresh. You can test the yeast by mixing a teaspoon of yeast with one cup of water and checking for a layer of foam. If the foam doesn't form, you should replace it. Next, combine the yeast with flour and water. Once the dough is flat, you can proceed to the final proofing. The proofing process should last between 8 and 12 hours. The temperature of the dough should be around 20°C or slightly higher.
Sugar is a natural food source for yeast and will encourage the production of carbon dioxide. A pinch of sugar should be sufficient. Another alternative to sugar is vinegar, which will produce the same effect. The best thing to do is an experiment and see which method works best for you.
If you overproof your dough, don't despair. It is possible to salvage over-proofed dough by degassing it and reshaping it into a ball. Proofed dough can still be used for other recipes. If you're wondering what properly proofed pizza should smell like, click here.
But make sure to follow the proper methods to prevent over-proofing. There are some tips and advice below to help you achieve perfect results.
Proofing Pizza Dough Tips and Advice
You should have a basic understanding of the process of proofing pizza dough to ensure the most successful results. Several techniques have been established as the most effective. This section will offer helpful tips and advice on how to proof your dough. The following are just a few:
- If you have already kneaded your dough, it's best to form it into eight-ounce balls.
- Rub the balls with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil to prevent them from sticking to each other.
- If you'd like to proof the dough faster, you can place it in the oven or in a large plastic bag. Make sure the dough is at the right temperature for proofing.
- Yeast and sugars in flour provide the nutrients necessary for the yeast to grow. This gas forms bubbles that form in the dough, which are held in by the network of gluten strands, so add the right amount.
- If your dough does not rise at all, it needs to be kneaded a few times to develop its gluten structure. For best results, allow the dough to rise twice.
- Most doughs should double in volume. If they haven't, you need to extend the proofing time. A higher temperature encourages the yeast to multiply more quickly, while a lower temperature discourages it. Taking these two variables into consideration, your dough will be proofed the first time correctly.
The above pointers should help you get a kick start in your pizza-proofing career. Remember - proficiency in pizza baking doesn't come overnight. With patience and practice, you can master pizza proofing in no time at all.
Therefore, we hope you've learned enough about pizza proofing to become a seasoned professional at it. However, if you want to taste authentic Neapolitan pizza that has been through an extensive proofing process that yields perfection - try authentic Margherita pizza from the comfort of your own home.
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