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Very Large Bubbles in Pizza Dough

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have a solution to my ever increasing over bubbly pizza dough problem?
I work at an incredibly high volume pizzeria where of course the dough needs to be consistent and beautiful everytime.  Occasionally this happens for me however all of a sudden - and usually on the weekend when it is the busiest - the dough will puff up like crazy and my pizzaoli has to spend time popping bubbles while the orders pile up.  My sous and I have tried almost everything that we can think of.  Any professional opinions are greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 31
You need to dock the dough. Just poke it with a fork every inch or so. Takes about 10 seconds per pizza. For more speed they sell a 4 inch or so roller to do it quickly.

If you're already docking the dough, some one is being sloppy about it under pressure  of business probably.
post #3 of 31
Bingo. phatch nailed it, no question.
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post #4 of 31
I guess I should clarify. After you roll/toss/form the pizza dough into it's cooking shape, that's when you dock it, before saucing.
post #5 of 31
Unless the OP is describing the common occurance of bubblling in the oven, in which case you would use a pizza poke to pop them while the pizza cooks.
The pizzaoli shouldn't have any problem with this, it should be part of tending the pizzas, just as rotating or spinning them would be, as most ovens have hot spots.
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post #6 of 31
what flour are you using ... self raising flour?
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post #7 of 31
It might be that every once in a while the yeast is replaced or grows with lactic bacterias.
Bubbles are carbon dioxide created by yeast fermentating the sugar released by starch. The large ones are sometimes created by lactic bacteria who have the possibility to get more sugar from starch.
This is hard to control. check ingredients that you use with flour. Do you add milk? do you add sugar as starter?
Sometimes this happes because something reduce the activity of yeast, example (but will not be your case) is the use of honey as starter.  Other example is the use of salt or if the dough is heated too much, depressing the yeast population and having lactic acid overcome.
post #8 of 31
 hi
I am the op's sous, and i thought i would chime in,
we do use honey in our recipe, not sugar.
our flour is all purpose. we tried cutting it with pastry flour, but found it way too cakie.
docking is not really an option, for both time and quality reasons.
our production system is both time and temperature consistent yet as the week progresses we seem to have more problems (Tuesday is great, Friday is awful)
tuscan chef, can you elaborate more on the lactic bacteria's effects on the dough?
post #9 of 31
II don't see how docking would affect quality if you already have a quality problem from failure to dock.
post #10 of 31
our restaurant has been around for 15 years now and they never docked before, 
we got a new oven last year and started to experience inconsistencies.
we modified to dough recipe and production to eliminate as many problems as possible and yet leading up to the weekend there seem to be more large bubbles.
we are trying to find the possible source of the problem, and not just a quick solution.
post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodforachange View Post

 hi

Docking is not really an option, for both time and quality reasons.
our production system is both time and temperature consistent yet as the week progresses we seem to have more problems (Tuesday is great, Friday is awful)
tuscan chef, can you elaborate more on the lactic bacteria's effects on the dough?

I too can't understand why docking would cause a quality issue but I did want to ask........as far as time.........a docking pin takes less than 2 seconds to run across the pie before you sauce so............

You mentioned Tuesday was fine but Friday wasn't? How often are you making dough and are you combining batches? I.e. adding what's left over fro Tuesday to Fridays batch. Does a different person make the dough Tuesday as opposed to Friday?

Are you using a cold method for dough production? That's adding the yeast directly to the flour and then combining the dough with 50% ice water/tap water instead of blooming the yeast in warn water prior.

Is it cake yeast or dry/active?

At any rate.........

I also believe that tending to the pizza's is a necessary thing. Sometimes....no matter what you do.........a bubble will appear.  JMHPO
post #12 of 31
 what i meant by quality issue is that we are trying to figure out the source of the problem,
with docking being the last possible solution, as it solves a problem at the end of a long process (making the dough, proofing, rolling...)
we are trying to solve the problem earlier in the process. it might have to come to docking, only if nothing else works.
as far as our process goes. we use dry instant yeast, we dont combine batches, we have our formula, and its translated into 3 different size batches and me make the dough every night after service according to what we expect tomorrow  to look like.
we control temp by averaging to 76 (water, flour, room, friction) ala cavel, first autolysing then adding the yeast oil, honey and salt.
then the dough get batch proof in the walkin over night and portioned/balled in the morning.
only my chef and i make the dough, and we use a white board to track temp. and batch sizes
post #13 of 31
seriously? I would have thought that the dough would have to be docked every time, cause you were making right., not wrong.  you have said that it didn't used to do this, i would be worried if it didn't. Its the sign of a healthy dough.   
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post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Kuepfer View Post

Does anyone have a solution to my ever increasing over bubbly pizza dough problem?
I work at an incredibly high volume pizzeria where of course the dough needs to be consistent and beautiful everytime.  Occasionally this happens for me however all of a sudden - and usually on the weekend when it is the busiest - the dough will puff up like crazy and my pizzaoli has to spend time popping bubbles while the orders pile up.  My sous and I have tried almost everything that we can think of.  Any professional opinions are greatly appreciated.

I'm not a professional chef, but I make a ton of pizza, and used to service appliances, so I hope nobody jumps on me for posting here.

I've never seen a really good pizza that didn't have a few bubbles, and popping them is a normal part of baking.

On the other hand, you mentioned that you started having problems when you got your new oven.  Some ovens have a very wide temerature spread between where the heater comes on and then turns off (this is actually a thermostat defect). Others have an insufficient recovery rate, which is caused by having too small a heater, or a damaged heater or running the wrong heater for the electrical service in your building (for example a 240 volt heater on a 208 or 120 volt circuit) or burned/damaged wiring inside the oven.

This means that opening and closing the door too often or loading the oven up with pizza will cool the oven down enough that you're not cooking anywhere near where you think you are. You might want to see if you can borrow a good high temp thermometer see what's actually going on in there while it's in use. I'm guessing you'll find it's nowhere near as hot as it's supposed to be.

Good luck!

Terry

And for no special reason except that you guys talking about bubbly pizza has made me hungry, here's one of mine 8-)

Sausage, roasted red pepper and mushroom pizza.
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodforachange View Post

our restaurant has been around for 15 years now and they never docked before, 

we got a new oven last year and started to experience inconsistencies.

leading up to the weekend there seem to be more large bubbles.
we are trying to find the possible source of the problem, and not just a quick solution.
 

I agree with Web Monkey as the quotes from your above post says it all . You didn't have these problems before on such a scale until the arrival of the new oven and during busy periods, you see the problem increase- because you are opening the oven more presumably- thus lowering the temperature even more. 


As Web Monkey suggests you could get a thermometer to see if this is the problem. Then you can get if fixed or  you could just 'get to know ' your oven by adjusting the temperatures and keeping an eye on the results.
post #16 of 31
after rereading, I agree too. AND THAT PIZZA LOOKS YUMMY!!
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post #17 of 31
Web monkey offered an insightful answer. +1
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post

after rereading, I agree too.

  I knew that someday, all those years of driving around in a service truck would pay off! 8-)




Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post

   AND THAT PIZZA LOOKS YUMMY!!

Thanks!  It's a real complement coming from a pro!

Luckily, it takes a couple of days to make the dough and prep everything. If I could do it in a couple of hours, I'd look like Jabba The Hut. 8-)

Terry
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by web monkey View Post


  I knew that someday, all those years of driving around in a service truck would pay off! 8-)





Thanks!  It's a real complement coming from a pro!

Luckily, it takes a couple of days to make the dough and prep everything. If I could do it in a couple of hours, I'd look like Jabba The Hut. 8-)

Terry




 

I am also glad that good dough takes at least 12 hours to cold proof.  I would need a crane to leave the house otherwise.
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #20 of 31

I made pizza for years.  One of our main bubble problems was from dough handling.  Does your dough cut into portions and rolled into doughballs?  A doughball made of 3 or 4 cut pieces will have more bubbles in it than one made from 1 or 2 cut pieces.  When the doughball was rolled by hand (before proofing), the air bubbles can be worked out and popped by more experienced hands.  After proofing, when the dough is formed into a crust, visible bubbles can be popped.  Do different people make doughballs on Tuesdays and Fridays?

post #21 of 31



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by foodforachange View Post

 what i meant by quality issue is that we are trying to figure out the source of the problem,
with docking being the last possible solution, as it solves a problem at the end of a long process (making the dough, proofing, rolling...)
we are trying to solve the problem earlier in the process. it might have to come to docking, only if nothing else works.
as far as our process goes. we use dry instant yeast, we dont combine batches, we have our formula, and its translated into 3 different size batches and me make the dough every night after service according to what we expect tomorrow  to look like.
we control temp by averaging to 76 (water, flour, room, friction) ala cavel, first autolysing then adding the yeast oil, honey and salt.
then the dough get batch proof in the walkin over night and portioned/balled in the morning.
only my chef and i make the dough, and we use a white board to track temp. and batch sizes


I mentioned a cold mix method above. That's the ice water and yeast straight to the flour. Sort of the same process when making a Biga but you're completing the dough.

 

Have you thought of eliminating the proof and just go straight to ball and in the cooler. Try it. It may work. From what I can gather it might be that initial proof that is causing the over-abundance of bubbles. I've used that method for Neapolitan style pizza's in the past with great success. Dough shelf life is usually 2 days too. Anything after that and the yeast, because it hasn't dissolved completely, causes dark specks and a darkening of the dough takes place. You can par-bake the crusts, 5 minutes in the oven, and then into the freezer but that's a last ditch effort to save cost. Actually works well if you do a crowd control appetizer. I've made za's for customers to sample when on a long wait using par-baked crusts. Folks always loved them.
 

post #22 of 31

alot of bubbles are fixed with skilled stretching technique its fairly obvious when a newer guy is making pizzas in my place as they have bubbles build up but same dough batch all of the seasoned guys can make pretty much  bubble free pizza. From time to time bubbles happen and that is a fact of life and the guy manning the oven needs to deal with it.

post #23 of 31

We are a small deli and we bought a pizza oven last year.  People are saying that we make the best pizza around which is great to hear, but we are having some issues with philosophy of how the dough edges should come out (there are 3 of us owners and we all have diffierent cooking styles).  We get bubbles, but only around the edge of the crust, which I think is fine.  However, one of my partners  pops all the bubbles when she is there.  She hates them so she thinks everyone should hate them.  I just want to make a consistent product.  I am  originally from NY and there were always bubbles on the edges of the really good pizzas.  I just recently ate at a Napoleonic (sp?) pizza place in Denver- guess what?  Bubbles on the edges. 

post #24 of 31

If it doesn't bubble you may have other problems...the only problem with the bubbles is that if they get too large, the cheese and toppings will slide off (leaving a less than desirable slice)--so you are technically both correct.  I would pop the large bubbles (larger than a golf ball) and let the others bake in for the more authentic style of pie:>) 

 

Just my 2 cents...as a qualified pizza freak!

 

Cheers,

Chinacats

post #25 of 31

I hate docked dough. When you dock the entire pie it kills the rise on the crust and it ends up looking like pre-fab frozen dough bought from the likes of S*sco instead of an artisanal product. We used to just keep a very long handled fork that resembles a carving fork to pop any large bubbles that would develop while the pie was cooking. You can get them from most restaurant suppliers that carry pizza utensils. I think some of the best pizza dough is made from brewers years and not dry yeast. I used to but Budweiser yeast but that was way back in the dark ages before cell phones and lap tops. lol.gif

 

 

Dave

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post #26 of 31

Logically think about what yeast does, yeast commonly used as a leavening agent in baking bread and bakery products, where it converts the fermentable sugars present in the dough into carbon dioxide (gas).  If using the dry active yeast you have to rehydrate it in warm water to liven it up right!   The presence of large bubbles you may be rushing this process and the granules are not fully dissolved, dispersed and/or sticking together (clumbs).  If using the rapid or instant yeast you have to add the dry granules to the flour and again has to be uniformly dispersed.  Fresh yeast same logic.   But in all sense kneading your dough a bit longer should do this.  I have seen the sponge method of making pizza dough like focaccia.  Never heard of docking pizza dough.  It shocked an Italian mama why do you think they have nice strong arms... kneading of course.    

post #27 of 31

bubbles give it character... flat pizzas are like pop stars bro... 

post #28 of 31

That's an interesting issue.  A couple of things occur to me as possible answers.  There may be to much yeast.  That can cause it.  Also, if you autolyse your dough for too long, that could also make that happen.  Finally, the more a dough is punched down, the less bumbles and "crumb" you get in the final product.  So if you do not punch down the dough or only do it slightly, then that could be the answer.   

post #29 of 31

I personally think that if it were a lactic acid issue in your dough, there would be a foul taste there...

post #30 of 31

Simple solution call your pizza resturant      Bubbles Pizza       Run with it     if it taste good    don't fix it if it's not broken

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