At the beginning of your pizza maestro journey, you might be confused about what hydration is in pizza dough, what is 70% hydration in pizza dough, and how is it better. Let me tell you, and it’s a super important concept if you truly want to become a master of Italian pizza.
Following the best 70% hydration pizza dough recipe, you can make next-level Neapolitan pizza dough. How?
The answer lies in this article. Just give a 10 mins read and enjoy super soft, chewy pizza crust bites with your dear ones. Let’s begin.
What is Hydration, and What is 70% Hydration Pizza Dough?
Hydration is an exciting concept in pizza making; it refers to the water ratio relative to the amount of flour in the dough.
Let’s take an example of this, and if a recipe requires 100g of flour in it, then if we add 70g of water into it, it’ll be known as a dough with 70% hydration.
Varying percentages of this hydration affect the result, i.e., the quality of the crust. With too little hydration, you’d have a dry and dense crust.
Recipe for the best unmatched 70% Hydration Pizza dough
70% hydration pizza dough is super easy to handle and form into dough balls with your hands compared to 60% hydration pizza dough. Many Italian pizza maestros consider it the best hydration for pizza.
But, if you follow a simple short recipe, you might be left confused because a 70% hydration dough is also pretty technical. You need to take care during the dough-making process. So stick to this recipe and note every detail.
- 400g of flour (00 flour as it’s much finer).
- 280ml of cold water (cold water makes your dough rise slower, resulting in an airy, delicious crust).
- 15g of sea salt (it’s antibacterial and doesn’t have harmful additives in it).
- 5g of dry yeast or 8 gram of fresh yeast
Easy steps to follow for 70% hydration dough
To make the best 70% hydration dough that you’ve ever had in your life, set up your mixer first. You can also do it by hand, but the dough mixer will make it much more manageable.
Step-1 Mix dry ingredients first and add some water.
- The first thing you need to do is put the flour in the mixer bowl. Next up, throw in the yeast and lock up the mixer. Mix up the dry ingredients now, and if you’re doing it by hand, then it’s also essential that you carefully mix up the flour and the yeast. Mixing the dry ingredients is super important; the water will hydrate the yeast much better with the flour as it’s evenly distributed.
- Now you have to add water while the mixer is running. Before adding the water, separate about 50ml of the water from the rest. Let the water mix well with the dough; once it’s mixed up correctly, we add in the salt and let that mix properly.
Step-2 Add more water and mix.
This step is crucial for the best dough.
- When the salt has been mixed in properly, add the water gently. Slowly keep adding it as the mixer mixes it, don’t throw it all in together, though; that’ll ruin it.
- Set up the mixer to max speed for a bit, then bring it down again. Let it mix the dough for 15-20 minutes but keep checking it every 5 to 10 minutes. For the last 5 minutes, speed up the machine to the max speed.
Step-3 Form the large dough ball and rest it at room temperature.
- To make a dough ball, cup the dough in your hands and pull it towards yourself, do it 4 times, and your dough ball will be ready!
- Then, you must let your dough ball rest for 30 minutes under a bowl (you need to cover it) in a warm place in your kitchen.
Step-4 Form dough balls and let them rest for fermentation.
- After that, take the dough, make a dough ball and leave it for 4-6 hours.
- Divide the large dough ball into smaller 250g counterparts.
- Place these dough balls into a large box and leave them in the fridge for 4-6 more hours.
Step-5 Turn the dough into the perfect pizza.
- First of all, to make the pizza, you need to shape the dough; it’s pretty easy but a very important step. Don’t rush the process; be quick with your hands as they might stick. Take the dough ball and sprinkle some flour on it. This will prevent it from sticking to any surface.
- Shape your dough ball slowly and lay it on a surface. Try to give your dough ball a circular shape using your hands.
- For the final step, you need to slap it in the middle while turning it again and again; this will remove the air from the center and leave it at the sides. Don’t touch the rim of the dough as it’ll become the crust later on. Voila! You’ll have an amazing crust with airy edges.
- Spread the thin layer of pizza sauce and your favorite toppings over the pizza crust. Or opt for authentic Neapolitan pizza toppings.
Step-6 Bake your 70% Hydration Pizza.
The best temperature for a pizza to cook in a pizza oven is 626 Fahrenheit, and it’s a high temperature that usually can’t be achieved by regular domestic ovens. Always preheat your oven, as this allows it to cook more evenly.
- Inside a wood fired oven, you’ll need to bake it for about a minute to 90 seconds while turning it every 20-30 seconds. If you have a domestic electric oven like a convection oven, you need to cook it for about 8 minutes at max temperature, turning the pizza every 3 minutes.
An important tip to note is that if you use a home oven, you’ll need a pizza stone, and you need to preheat it for about an hour beforehand, as it needs to be super hot.
How should you knead the dough by hand?
If you don’t have a dough mixer, then you can opt to do it by hand as well. It’s easy, and you must mix everything up first. Slowly add the flour while kneading with your hand or a wooden spoon. This will take 15 minutes.
After mixing all the ingredients up, you’ll notice the dough adheres. At this point, you cover up the dough ball and leave it to rest for 5-10 minutes in a humid place. This process is Autolyse, and it invokes the yeast to grow.
After that, take the dough, and start kneading it by hand for about 20 minutes. After it’s soft and uniform, make a dough ball and leave it for 4-6 hours. Then divide the large dough ball into smaller 250g counterparts and leave it in the fridge for 4-6 more hours.
Why should you form the dough balls?
The easy explanation is that if you leave it out, it’ll spread into a weird puddle of dough; therefore, we give it shape. This shape helps provide it with tension and makes the gluten tight. The dough will rise instead of spread.
Furthermore, when you pick the dough to stretch, it doesn’t lose its proofing, e.g, if you ferment the dough first and form the dough balls later, the air pockets will be destroyed, and the pizza crust won’t rise properly. Thus, the result will be flat pizza. Here is how you can form the dough balls perfectly.
What is cold fermentation, and how does it help to make better pizzas?
Cold fermenting is the best type of fermentation for rising your pizzas. It’ll leave you with the most delicious crust you have ever tasted.
After you mix up all your ingredients and you’ve kneaded your dough, put it in an air-tight container and leave it in the fridge for up to 3 days at a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius. The minimum required time is 24 hours to cold ferment the pizza dough.
After that, take them out, make your dough balls, cover them up again, and leave them to rest for about 4 hours at room temperature.
This process is necessary to turn a weak pizza into a strong pizza. The whole process results in gluten forming, which helps give the pizza a nice and airy dough later.
Taking all styles of fermentation and pizzas into account, it’s indeed a matter of personal preference that you choose either room temperature fermentation or cold fermentation. Only, if you require a quick pizza, then you should go for the room temperature fermentation.
60% Vs 70% Vs 80%: what’s the best hydration for pizza dough?
The first thing that you need to know is that the more the water inside the dough, the softer and puffier it’ll be, but that’s not all! Let’s go through the differences. All the ingredients of the three hydration doughs are the same. The only difference lies in the water.
Higher hydration doughs will also grow faster compared to other hydrations. Coming to the 60% hydration dough, you’ll notice that it’s a little hard and dry compared to the 70% hydration dough. While the dough with high hydration of 80% is wet and much softer, this makes it harder to use.
The 60% dough will be hard when you stretch it out, and it’s perfect for making new york style pizza or when you want the crust to be crunchy. The 70% is perfect as it’s not too soft and crunchy simultaneously.
The 80% is super challenging to handle, being extra soft or almost runny. But it’s great to make the pizza softest and most fluffy pizza crust. It might even break up in your hands, so it’s not recommended unless you’re experienced.
When done about the pizza dough hydration, the poolish-based pizza dough can elevate your pizza to the next level.
Differences after Baking
The 60% hydration pizza is pretty crunchy. Higher hydration pizza will be softer and fluffier. The reason for this is that when inside the oven, the water will evaporate, making the gluten airier. Thus the 80% hydration pizza is the softest, perfect for authentic Neapolitan pizza, but beginners might fail to handle it. So, 70% is the best.
What kind of flour is necessary for making pizza dough?
You need to use 00-flour for this recipe to work perfectly. This is because 00-flour has a much higher protein content than normal bread flour or any other type of flour. Due to this higher protein content, there is more gluten formation.
This gluten allows your dough to rise better and be more airy and puffy instead of flat and hard.
Why is cold water necessary for making pizza dough?
You should always use cold water, as we are cold-fermenting the pizza for best results. Many recipes tell you to use warm water, which is actually to boost the rising of the dough in a very fast time. In pizza, you need a slow rise with cold fermentation for the best pizza ever!
How to interchange fresh and dry yeast?
The authentic Neapolitan recipes call for fresh yeast. You can use dry yeast in your pizza too. Just remember the basic formula: use half as much dry yeast as fresh yeast. Dry yeast is a lot more potent compared to fresh yeast.
How much salt is required in the dough?
This is a pretty complex question to answer. You’ll see that your dough rises much quicker on a hot day. You can combat this not only by using cold water but by putting more salt in the dough. The higher the salt content, the slower the dough will rise.
How do I know my poolish is ready?
If your yeast inside the poolish isn’t ready, it won’t grow your pizza properly, so you must first check that your yeast is active.
To check, take a small amount of the poolish and place it on water; if it floats, then that means there is a lot of air inside, which means the yeast is ready to use!
Can I leave my dough in the open air?
The biggest issue with leaving the dough in the open air is that it’ll dry out. This dry dough will be difficult, if not impossible, to work with.
What if I make pizza from dough straight from the fridge?
If you use pizza dough straight from the refrigerator, the pizza won’t come out great. It’ll have hard black spots from burning that’ll hurt the inside of the mouth.
This is a sign that it’s not fermented properly. Always let the dough rest for about an hour after taking it out from the fridge.
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