If you are a beginner are you have this question in your mind- Why is my pizza crust hard? then you have to read this post on how to fix tough dough.
Ending up with a too-hard pizza crust on the bottom of the pizza is just a disaster as the pizza ends up being inedible. If you want to understand how to soften hard pizza crust then do read the reasons why your pizza crust is hard in the first place.
The most important part of a pizza is the crust as it holds all the other ingredients while also adding texture to the food.
If you are unable to bite into your pizza comfortably, you might be wondering why is my pizza crust too hard?
The pizza crust is not supposed to be hard, instead, it should be crispy. Now, there is a big difference between a hard pizza crust and a pizza crust that is crispy.
Pizza crust should be hard enough to hold the other ingredients but it should not chew or separate. You should be able to easily cut a slice of pizza from the whole pie.
I have experienced this many times and that is why I have put together a list of reasons your pizza crust is hard. It is most often about the processing before cooking.
When your pizza has a hard pizza crust after cooking, you most likely have prepared it the wrong way. There are many mistakes that most of us, beginners, make when making pizzas.
If you cook pizzas in microwave then I will talk about how to keep pizza crust from getting hard in the microwave.
Luckily for you, I have the most common mistakes and how you could improve your pizza-making skills instead of just going with the hard-crusted pizza you have.
What Is The Perfect Crust?
The perfect crust should be crispy but not hard. I know that this statement is a bit confusing but there is a big difference between crispy and hard pizza crusts that you should know about.
This all starts in the process of making the dough for your pizza. If you have processed it the right way, you will have a perfect pizza crust but a small mistake can make the pizza crust too hard.
A pizza crust hard on the bottom is difficult to chew and it is not going to be fun to eat this pizza.
The Difference Between Crispy Pizza Crust And Hard Pizza Crust
Thin-crust pizzas are hard to make since you need to make sure that the crust is crispy and airy at the same time. That is the main difference between a crispy crust and a hard crust.
A crispy crust is tough on the outside to hold the other pizza ingredients together, but it should still be soft and airy inside. You get a crisp sound when you take a bite from the crust.
Just imagine a grilled steak, you will love the crisp coming from the slightly charred outer parts, but the interior should still be soft and juicy when you eat it.
I am not saying that the crust should be soft and juicy but it should be soft and airy on the inside. The outer part of the crust should have that crispiness that you are looking for.
As for hard pizza crusts, they are most likely compacted and are too tough to bite or pull. The dough should have been crispy on the outside but it is too compacted to turn out too hard.
You will see that the hard pizza crust does not have any large bubbles inside it when you rip it in half. There should be some bubbles inside the crust as those are what make the crust airy and crispy.
A dense dough or crust cannot make a crispy finish no matter how good your cooking skills are. This happens when making homemade pizza crust and rushing the process resulting in a pizza crust hard on the bottom.
Why Is My Pizza Crust Hard?
As I have mentioned, there are many reasons why your pizza crust is hard instead of crispy. Since you know why your pizza dough gets hard after cooking, let’s start with the reasons.
How to keep Pizza crust from getting hard in Microwave
If there is anything that you need to know about pizzas, they need to cook in a very hot oven and they need to cook quickly to get that very crispy crust.
It is common to end up with a tough pizza crust while you are cooking in the microwave. There are times that I have ended up with a pizza dough that is tough and chewy.
So, if you are using a microwave and often get a tough pizza crust then you might be wondering how to keep pizza crust from getting hard in the microwave.
Well, one of the main reasons your pizza crust is hard is that it is not cooked in that environment. It is most likely that you went with lower temperatures and a longer cooking time for the pizza.
You usually get a soft soggy pizza crust if you cook at a low temperature for 15 minutes.
The cooking time for Neapolitan pizzas is only 90 seconds or even less when you cook them at high temperatures.
By that time, the pizza cooks perfectly with a crispy crust and evenly cooked toppings on the pizza. But this is not possible with a microwave and you can cook neapolitan pizzas in a microwave if you do it right.
When you cook the pizza at a lower temperature, you do not allow the crust to rise quickly. That makes the dough denser and tougher when it is cooked.
Cooking it for too long means letting the moisture soak into the dough and making the crust tough. Instead of releasing the excess moisture, you let it stay in the crust and make it denser.
Solution: More Heat, Less Cooking Time
To make up for that tough pizza crust, you can use the highest temperature that your oven can get. That way, the cooking time will be much shorter and the moisture content lowers quickly helping you soften hard pizza crust.
Using pizza stones or pizza steels is also extremely helpful. These baking surfaces are great for making the crust crispier as they add heat to the oven and cook the crust almost instantly.
This solution should instantly change your entire pizza game and you should be successful in keeping away tough pizza crust and help you soften the hard pizza crust.
If you have a pizza oven available, then the pizza oven instead of your regular home oven.
Wood-fired pizza ovens are great at making hotter cooking surfaces and raising the overall temperature.
If you are looking to invest in a nice affordable pizza oven that resembles the wood fired pizza oven but weight only 10 kgs and cooks pizza under 60 seconds then do take a look at Ooni Pizza ovens.
You must have the right ratio between the flour you use and the water when making your dough. Again, a good crust starts with good preparation and cooking skills.
Hydration is one of the most important things when it comes to making pizza dough. Pizza dough usually has a lot of hydration compared to other dough types used for baking.
If you are not hydratig the dough enough then you are going to end up with a tough pizza dough that is dry, hard and chewy.
Ofcourse we want our pizza dough to be chewy but this level of chewy might hurt your jaw so it is necessary to hydrate the pizza dough well and soften the hard pizza dough.
I have a guide on best flour for pizza and pizza dough hydration which you can read more about.
The type of flour you use can make a difference in the texture but you should not get a tough pizza crust regardless of the type of flour you use.
On average, pizza dough is made with a hydration level somewhere between 55 to 65 percent so it is quite hydrated.
The problem comes when you put too much flour in the mix. More flour in the mix means that the dough is too dry and it will most likely make the dough denser and prevent it from rising.
So, if your problem is how to fix tough pizza dough or just fixing tough pizza dough in general then you should add more water and maintain minimum hydration between 60-65 percent.
This is one of the best ways to make hard pizza dough turn soft and hence give you the desired results that you are looking for.
This can happen if you do not know the proper hydration level of the flour that you have used for making the pizza dough.
You might have also added too much flour when kneading the dough.
This is a common mistake where home bakers put too much flour on the workspace and the dough soaks up that flour making the hydration level imbalanced and drying out the dough.
Solution: Balance The Water, Knead With Oil
You should label the flour that you use for making the dough in terms of its percentage of hydration. Always look at the labels and make sure that you add enough water to the mix before kneading.
If you think it is easier to knead the dough by hand, add only a sprinkle of flour on your workspace and your hands. The excess flour should be just enough to prevent the dough from sticking.
You can knead the dough in a stand mixer to not risk adding more flour to the mix. If you are wondering how to fix tough dough then the solution to it is just simple- add more water.
Either that or you use oil when kneading the dough so it does not stick to your hands.
Proofing is the term used to describe the final fermentation process of the dough before it is stored or cooked. This is a very important stage that is affected by two main factors.
If your proofed well, your dough can be stressed and it will cause a hard pizza dough at the bottom. So, you have to proof the pizza dough well in order to get the best results.
First, for the dough to properly rise, you need to make sure that you have enough yeast and the yeast that you use is still active. Yeast is the bacteria that acts on the glucose inside the flour.
While it acts on the flour, the yeast produces carbon dioxide, creating bubbles inside the dough. This makes the dough rise and develop those air pockets in the crust when cooked.
Yeast depends on the temperature that it is in, the warmer it is, the faster it will act. So when you put the dough inside the fridge or the freezer, the yeast will slow down, preserving the dough.
You need to test if the yeast is still active by putting it first in a glass of warm water. If the yeast becomes murky and creates bubbles on top, then the yeast is still active.
The second factor is the kneading process, as you can see, kneading the dough properly is extremely important. It should make the dough lighter and easier to rise when proofing.
Kneading the dough properly creates pockets that will be filled by air from the yeast. Kneading also stretches the gluten which means the pizza dough will be easier to shape.
Solution: Knead By Hand
Kneading by hand can be tiring as the average kneading time for pizza dough by hand is around 12 to 15 minutes. This means that your hands will be tired and cramping when kneading.
That is a good sign that you have kneaded the dough enough. Always use Tipo 00 flour when making the pizza dough as it is one of the best qualities you can find for any pizza.
00 flour is a well-refined type of flour and milled to the point where it is almost impossible to over-knead it. So make sure that you knead the dough as much as you can to develop more pockets.
Reason 4: Shaping The Dough
The carbon dioxide inside the dough is what makes it soft and airy when cooked. So when you shape the pizza dough into the pizza you want, it is important to keep as much CO2.
The most common mistake made by shaping the dough is when you use a rolling pin. Although a rolling pin helps create a thin and flat dough, it essentially pushes the CO2 out of the dough.
As you press against the dough, you destroy the bubbles inside the dough so you might have a thin crust, but it will not have that airy interior, making it a bit hard when cooked.
Solution: Always Shape By Hand
Knead and shape your pizza dough by hand to keep the air bubbles inside the crust. It is really easy especially if you have allowed the dough to rise properly.
Just use your fingers to slightly push the dough outwards. This will allow you to stretch the dough thinly without pushing out the air bubbles from the dough.
From there, you can bake your pizza in a nice hot oven and get a crispy pizza crust with amazing toppings. Enjoy your pizza with your favorite beverages!
I hope this answers your question on “why is my pizza crust hard”, if you have any more tips on how to not end up with a hard pizza crust on the bottom then leave them in the comments as it helps our readers.
If you still end up with too-hard pizza crust on the bottom then let me know in the comments below!
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