In the previous Pizza Math article, I talked about cup-to-gram conversions, ingredient swapping, and conversions.
I thought I’d do a follow-up with basics and some helpful tips on using the dough calculator if you are working on your own dough recipe or trying to size a dough recipe up or down for the pan you are using.
The dough calculator can be very helpful, but I understand why it could seem a bit overwhelming to use.
Let’s start with ‘Thickness Factor‘, or ‘TF‘.
What is it? TF is literally the “How thick do you want your dough to be?” factor. Do you want a crust that ends up 1/4 inch thick? Enter 0.125. Do you want a 1 inch thick crust? Enter 1.
Would you like to speak to customer service representative?
Wait… that’s another thing. Where were we? Oh… right – PIZZA MATH!
Obviously, we’re working in those crazy U.S. measurements, which is using inches for pizza measurement, but the dough calc linked above also has a Metric setting if you like that better, in which case, you’d enter a centimeter measurement here.
You can also choose to bypass ‘Thickness Factor’ setting altogether in favor of a desired dough weight that you’re trying to reach in ounces (US) or grams (Metric).
Let’s stick with the ‘Thickness Factor’ option for now.
The next options are: Dough Balls and Pizza Size:
Do I need to explain these? Well, if you have an industrial size mixer in your garage, you might want to make more than one dough ball from a larger batch of dough. If you have that ability, the dough calc can help you quickly multiply your ingredients for a larger batch of dough. ‘Pizza Size’ is the diameter of the pizza you want to make. I have a 12 inch pan, so I’m entering 12 here.
There are ‘Deep Dish’ and ‘Stuffed’ options also:
If you select ‘Deep Dish’, the “How Far Up the Sides” (HFUTS) variable appears. It tries to guess the approximate hollow cylinder of extra dough that you may choose to add into your dough calculation.
Selecting the ‘Stuffed’ option brings up an ‘Outer Skin’ variable. This is asking you what percentage of your main dough amount would you like to add for the extra amount of dough required to make a stuffed pizza, since it has a bottom crust that is covering the bottom and sides, along with a thinner top crust. You’re essentially calculating a hollow cylinder plus a top and bottom disc, made out of pizza dough.
I usually avoid the stuffed setting, 1) because I don’t often make that style, and 2) because it’s a lot easier just to make a double batch of thin crust or quick dough, and if there’s extra dough left over, I’ll save it for a future tiny pizza.
Future Tiny Pizza would be a good name for a rock band.
‘Hydration’ means WATER.
Hydration is based on the weight of flour you are using. If your hydration is 50%, it means the water is half the weight of the flour being used. Messing with the amount of water in your dough can lead to all kinds of fun!
Yeast, Preferment, Salt, Oil, Sugar:
The rest is fairly simple. All of these amounts are percentages based on the flour amount. I mostly use Instant Yeast (IDY) these days because it’s the most consistent, but feel free to use other kinds that work for you. I’ve got my deep dish yeast percentage at 1%, which comes out to about a teaspoon of yeast. If you’re using a whole packet, like I do in the ‘Quick Dough’ recipe, that number would be a bit over 2%.
‘Preferment’ is a combination of flour water, and yeast. Sourdough starter is a kind of preferment. It’s absolutely optional, and you should probably get your basic recipe down first before you go messing with that stuff, so leave that one set to ‘None’ for now.
I’m currently using Morton fine sea salt. If table salt is all you have, you can use it, but bakers will tend to prefer sea salt instead of iodized, which can potentially add a metallic taste. My deep dish dough recipe is currently at 0.45%, which you can feel free to modify for your own taste and results. On the Quick Dough recipe, I’m closer to 1%. Other sources will tell you most pizza dough recipes have somewhere from 1.5% to 2.5%, and no more than 3% of salt in their dough, so you could potentially increase your salt amount to be closer to that range.
I’ve currently got my oil percentage for deep dish at 17.25% , which translates to about 4 tbsp (or 1/4 cup) of oil for a 12 inch deep dish. You can certainly go with less oil than that, but I wouldn’t recommend going much higher.
When I use sugar, I typically keep the sugar amount close to the measured salt amount. (i.e.- using 1/2 teaspoon of salt? use a 1/2 tsp of sugar) Sugar crystals are slightly bigger than fine salt crystals, so you might find the percentage amount for sugar by weight is a bit lower than the one for salt.
Trying to get the pizza math right for your deep dish dough? Hopefully these tips can help:
When you realize how paper-thin you really want to press up the outer rim of the dough (because it expands) for traditional deep dish, it makes a lot of sense to:
Eliminate the “How Far Up the Sides” (HFUTS) variable by setting that number to ZERO (enter 0, not the word ‘zero’).
You won’t need a lot of extra dough to press up the sides for a traditional deep dish pizza, so adding an ‘HFUTS’ number could have you ending up with more dough than you wanted.
Set “bowl residue” to zero as well.
That is a really specific variable that might be helpful for a commercial baker trying to conserve ingredients or compensate for the small amount of dough that might have remained stuck to the bowl, but it’s really more data than a home-baker needs to get a reliable dough formula.
“Thickness Factor”, or TF, is the more important variable, and it really depends on how thick you like your dough.
You should have a reasonable amount of deep dish dough for your pan by setting your “Thickness Factor”
between 1/8 inch (or 0.125) and 1/4 inch (or 0.25). If you like thicker dough, you can go higher.
My latest version of the “Deep Dish Holy Grail” is using a TF of 0.1657. You don’t have to go 4 decimal places on your number.
How did I end up with 0.1657?
Because this is a website for the home baker, I was trying to get the bakers percentages close enough to convert them to basic rounded cup & tsp/tbsp measurements. That way, a person with a 12 inch pan who isn’t using a scale can still get a relatively consistent and proper size dough ball without too much effort.
If you’re looking for it, the new dough calc from the incredible amazing members of the Pizzamaking dot com Forum is located here: https://pizza-dough-calculator.herokuapp.com/calculator