As we’re heading into a new season of the year, it’s top of mind to consider how fluctuating air temperatures, shifting weather patterns and dips in humidity affect pizza dough. These environmental changes put your pizza dough consistency and crust quality at risk, but you can combat their negative impact by implementing a few simple best practices during dough preparation:
Align water and air temperatures
When mixing your own dough, controlling yeast activation is imperative for best crust flavor and texture. Generally, adding warm water initiates yeast fermentation; however, if the air temperature is close to or exceeds that of the water used, the dough may rise too quickly. On warmer days, add ice water to the dough to slow the process. On cooler days, warm water is likely the best choice for your recipe.
Adjust dough formulation
Dough absorption is influenced by humidity. To compensate, many pizza makers adjust the amount of water used in their dough mix and also introduce a complementary amount of oil to enhance crust quality and performance. Since the viscosity of oil really doesn’t change when it’s added to the dough, it acts much like water in that it makes the dough softer and easier to work with in humid weather. The caution, however, is in when to add the oil to the formula. Use a delayed oil addition method after the flour is hydrated to ensure gluten properly forms, otherwise crust inconsistencies may arise that could ruin your entire batch.
Control dough ball proofing
Pre-made dough balls like Dough Shop® by A&K Dough Balls, are a great timesaver in the kitchen and make for consistent pie preparation across pizzeria locations. To maximize the benefits, proper pizza dough proofing is key, especially as it relates to temperature. Designate a proofing area that is free from temperature variations, such as away from walk-in cooler doors or exposure to sunlight.
Monitor equipment and prep area temperatures
By now, you understand that temperature plays a significant role in maintaining pizza dough and crust integrity. Carefully consider the extremes you expose your dough to during preparation — from cooler to prep area to oven. Are you aware of the walk-in temps? Do you regularly calibrate the oven? Does the heat or air conditioning need to be adjusted in the kitchen to factor in weather conditions? The attention paid to these often overlooked factors will be reflected in the end product.
You can’t control the weather, but you can adjust your pie preparation practices to accommodate environmental factors and deliver the delicious pizzas your patrons love — and come back for time and again. Learn some more best practices in our quick reference guide, How to Achieve Perfectly Proofed Pizza Dough. Click the button below to access your free copy!