Pizzas are undoubtedly the best comfort foods in the world, especially the ones with extra pepperoni and extra cheese. But when it comes to making a pizza at home the first problem I faced was that my pizza dough just won’t rise.
My Pizza dough didn’t rise once or twice while I started out and this really bugged me. Looking at all the recipes out there, it felt so easy to make pizza dough, so what was I doing wrong?
After some research and talking about it with some pizza enthusiasts I reached a conclusion that there are a few things that could go wrong with the Pizza Dough which could cause it to stay flat even after cooking it evenly.
So, what are the things that you could do to get the perfect crispy base at the bottom and the evenly cooked bread on the inside?
Check out the list below and see where you were probably going wrong while making your pizza dough. I would suggest that you consider all these points and make sure you aren’t overdoing anything so that you get a well-cooked pizza.
Lastly, always remember that it is okay to do mistakes and you are only going to learn from them and get better with cooking and experimenting while you enjoy cooking.
1. The Yeast isn’t in the Right Environment
The most important thing that makes the dough rise is the yeast and in my personal experience, no matter what quantity of ingredients you take, if the yeast gets the right environment to ferment then your pizzas are going to taste great.
If you are using active yeast you can add it directly to the dough and then use only warm water to knead the dough as the yeast requires sugar and warm water to give the dough the rise.
Make sure you add the salt in the end once you have finished kneading the dough and then knead it again after adding salt in it. This is something that I personally do to make sure that the yeast has some time to get activated.
Most of the time I end up using dry yeast as that is more easily available where I live and it works like a charm too. I agree active yeast is easier but with dry yeast, you get an estimate if the dough is going to rise before you put the yeast in water.
Dry yeast needs to be mixed with lukewarm water and sugar and you know your dough will rise only if the yeast rises in the cup after 5-10 minutes.
You then add this mixture to the dough along with some salt and water. This way, you can be sure that your dough will rise.
With active yeast, it can be a little tricky since you cannot add salt right away along with the yeast. Salt is an inhibitor for the yeast so make sure you add it a little later.
This should fix 90 percent of the pizzas that are not rising as this is one of the main reasons my dough wasn’t rising in the beginning.
2. Kneading and Proofing
Kneading and Proofing are also an integral part to get your dough right.
Following the above method with the yeast, your dough will rise definitely but if you want the dough to have a nice rise then you might want to knead the dough at least for 10 minutes and leave it for proofing for about 20-30 minutes.
The kneading has to be done so that the dough forms gluten bonds and gives you the much-needed rise that you usually find in pizzas from outlets like Pizza Hut and Dominos.
Stretch the dough as long as you can without breaking it and then join the ends back together, keep on doing this until you find that the dough has some elasticity or until you feel like the dough is easy to stretch.
Something that I do is take a small piece of the dough, flatten it and see it through light. If you can see a web-like structure on the dough then it is ready.
The next step after kneading is proofing. Keeping the dough aside so that it can rise is called proofing. It is good if you keep the dough aside for at least 20 minutes and even better if you keep the dough longer than that.
The dough needs to double in size and once it does you need to knead the dough for one minute before you can get started with making the dough ball for a pizza.
3. Too much sauce or toppings on the Pizza
If you put a lot of sauce or toppings on the pizza then there is a lot of moisture that seeps into the dough and there is a possibility that this can cause your dough to be wet and flat.
The pizza would get cooked but the overall taste of the pizza would be mushy and soggy. You do not want that to happen, hence it is important that you cook the pizza with just a little bit of sauce and do not overload it with toppings.
Some toppings can be more of water content like tomatoes, mushrooms, and capsicums so make sure that you spread them out and take less of them to avoid your dough from being too soggy.
If you are using chicken and other low moisture content toppings then you do not need to worry much about them as your pizza is going to be able to handle that.
The toppings are rarely a problem when it comes to the curst rising but if you have a watery sauce then that could be a whole different pizza where it’s just all very soggy and mushy.
Ideally, if the sauce is too watery, your pizza would not be edible as the middle portion would feel like it is undercooked. In case you have a water sauce then use very little of it and spread it around the pizza dough evenly.
Always remember do not use a watery sauce as that can potentially ruin the taste of the pizza dough.
4. Creating a barrier for moisture
Once you have spread out the dough and pizza sauce, try not to place the vegetable on top of it, instead sprinkle some cheese and then top it with vegetables.
This way you would be creating a barrier between the pizza dough and the moisture that comes out of the vegetables. This would avoid making your pizza soggy which is another common reason that the pizza dough doesn’t rise from the middle.
There are so many people who end up with pizzas that are well cooked on the sides but extremely soggy and sometimes even sticky in between.
This usually happens when you overload the pizza with pizza sauce, vegetables and then cheese. This order of creating a pizza can result in a blunder.
It is best to use the cheese to create a barrier between the sauce and the vegetables and then maybe you can sprinkle a bit more cheese on top finally so that the toppings look nicely meshed into the pizza.
5. Expired Yeast
Another reason that your pizza dough might not be rising is if you using old yeast or using yeast that is way past its expiry date.
This yeast is not going to make any dough rise so before you waste your other ingredients in making a pizza dough using old yeast, make sure that it is not already expired or it is not stored for more than a month inside a box.
It would be best to store it in an airtight container and I use mine within a month. So make sure you do not use old yeast as that does not rise either.
6. Too hot water used with the Yeast
While you are using dry yeast or active yeast, it is important to use lukewarm water and sugar in order to start the fermentation of the yeast which makes the dough to rise.
If the water used in creating the dough is way too hot then the yeast would just die and you would not get any fermentation in the dough which can result in the dough not rising at all.
This will give you a flat and dense pizza base which is not going to taste great and you might want to consider trying out with lukewarm water instead of hot water.
If you are using dry yeast then you get to know if the temperature of the water is right because you can see the yeast begins to ferment even before you put it in the dough. If the yeast didn’t ferment before you put it in the dough then it is not going to ferment at all.
The active yeast can be a little tricky and I usually recommend beginners to go with dry yeast in the beginning to get a better idea.
7. Wrong Combination of Ingredients
Too much of anything can ruin the pizza dough, hence make sure that all your ingredients are in proportion else the yeast might not ferment well or even worse you can kill the yeast whilst making the dough mixture due to wrong measurements of ingredients.
I always recommend that you keep a log with you where you have written down the proportion of ingredients that you need in order to make the perfect dough.
You can even check out the youtube video below to get a vague idea of the measurements of ingredients that you need to make a perfect dough.
8. Mixing Salt with the yeast
Salt can kill the yeast that you have in the dough so while you might be trying to add some seasoning to your dough make sure that you do that a little later towards the end.
I usually knead my dough halfway and then add the salt as that gives the yeast some time to ferment.
Since I use dry yeast, I do not find any issue with adding salt with the dry ingredients before I mix them with the wet ingredients that include the yeast mixture.
However, you might want to be careful with the active yeast and try adding it a tad bit later so that the yeast gets some time to react with the water and sugar.
9. Too much Sugar
Too much of anything is bad and the same goes with sugar. Sugar is an important ingredient that helps the yeast in fermentation but if you are using too much of the sugar then you are going to need more time for the dough to rise.
The sugar is going to absorb the water which is so much needed for the yeast. So, try not to add too much sugar.
In case you are making sweet dough then make sure that you leave the dough longer to rise and that could be about 8 hours or even overnight.
But in the case of the pizza dough, you are not using a lot of sugar and hence you should not need a lot of time for it to rise. 20-30 minutes is more than enough for pizza dough to rise and after that, you can get started with making pizzas.
10. Too much flour
Too much of the flour can make the pizza dough dry and that would just not rise enough.
Make sure that all your ingredients are in proportion else too much of any one ingredient can cause issues like the dough not rising properly or the taste of the bread not being that great.
Do let us know if you found out what you were doing wrong while making the dough after reading this post!
In case, you have any further questions you can leave them in the comments section and I would be happy to help!
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