Why is knowing the hydration levels in your pizza dough so important?
- The more water you use in a recipe the higher the hydration level in your pizza dough.
- The higher the hydration level there is in your pizza dough, the stickier the dough will be.
I've created a Pizza for Beginners YouTube playlist that gives some great tips to help your learning to cook pizza journey! Enjoy your Pizza Cooking!
That stickiness does create a challenge if you are learning how to make pizza dough.
Higher hydration levels increases the stickiness level of the dough and it takes a lot of skill to manage it, shape it into a dough ball and then stretch it out on your work surface.
I use a hydration level of 60% to 62% for my pizza dough as I find that level is more manageable and provides a nice leoparding crust and a tasty dough structure.
Technically, we should be using as little flour as possible when we stretch out our pizza dough. If we use lots of flour, we should try to shake off the flour from the dough before it's launched into the pizza oven.
As a beginner, I think that the latter option is easier. Both these videos show us using different levels of flour for the stretch. And as can be seen in the videos, this does impact on the shape and launch of the pizza.
I used very little flour for the stretch when I made the mustard and cheese pizza and cooked it in the Roccbox Pizza Oven which was so delicious even though the colour may be off-putting to some! It did cause a few launch issues as the dough kept sticking and re-sticking to the peel.
The taste of the pizza was truly delicious but the effort to ensure the pizza launched into the oven was challenging. I used a lot less flour and my thoughts on using less flour with this cook are as follows:
- it was a lot harder to stretch and the dough kept sticking to my hands and the wooden peel
- it was a challenge to shape the pizza into a round shape.
- the taste of the pizza was no different.
- the base of the pizza tasted the same.
I tested out two different flour levels using the same dough for these Steak Pizza cooks using the Ooni Pro Pizza Oven.
The first pizza cook went a bit awry because I
- I used very little flour and the dough was very sticky.
- I found it difficult to stretch the pizza into a round shape.
The second cook was much improved:
- used just a little more flour and this allowed me to shape the dough properly
- this allowed me to launch the pizza into the oven without issue.
Overall, from these cooks I found that using very little dough at this stage was of no benefit, but using a lot less than I used to but using enough to shape the dough is a good amount and creates a nice balance for stretching and launching.
For more information on making pizza dough check out this YouTube video: