Author Topic: Made my first Sicilian type Pizza. Middle was a little doughy. How do I fix that  (Read 528 times)

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Offline A-Neibs

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I made my first ever Sicilian style pizza last night. Everything was coming along great, but I feel like the middle of the crust was a little doughy, like it wasn't cooked through enough. How do I correct that?

I wanted to make a pizza cooked in a pan with oven roasted vegetables. Earlier in the day, I roasted some tomatoes and peppers in the oven, and sautéed some mushrooms and onions. I made the dough and let it proof in the pan for an hour. I preheated the oven to 450. Then I added some tomato sauce and mozzarella and put it in the oven. I wasn't sure when to add the vegetables since they'd already been in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes so I decided to let it cook for a bit before adding those. After about 8 or 9 minutes, I noticed that the cheese was really cooking, but it was cooking faster than the dough. I pulled it out and added the vegetables, and left it in another few minutes.

The people who tried it enjoyed it. The toppings were excellent, but like I said, I wish the dough was cooked more all the way through. How do I prevent the cheese from cooking so much faster than the dough? Should I just cook it with sauce only for a few minutes, and then add the cheese and other toppings? Would you put the vegetables on at the beginning or wait till later like I did? I wasn't sure that I wanted to cook them for another 15 minutes, but I could be wrong. Thanks for any tips!


Offline The Dough Doctor

  • Tom Lehmann
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Neibs;
Did you put any oil or shortening in the pan? This can sometimes help the crust to bake better as it improves the heat transfer properties between the dough and the pan. Was your pan dark colored or was it a bright aluminum color? Bright (shiny) pans reflect heat away from the dough which lessens the quality of bake within any given period of time. What was the baking position in the oven?
When I bake deep-dish pizzas at home, one of my favorites, I allow the dough to rise for about 75-minutes in the pan, I then dress the dough with sauce, cheese and toppings and bake at 450F beginning on a lower rack position in the oven as this allows the dough to bake without contributing excessively to the color of the cheese or scorching the toppings. After about 8 to 10-minutes, I move the pizza to a higher rack position to finish baking and developing the level of cheese browning that I'm looking for. Note: It really helps a lot if you have a pan that is 1.5 to 2-inches deep. The deeper pan traps the cool, moisture laden air over the top of the pizza protecting it from excessive bake until you place it in a higher rack position.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline A-Neibs

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Thanks for the response Tom! I did put oil in the pan and there was a little oil in the dough as well. The pan was a bright aluminum one like you described. I baked the pizza in the upper half of the oven. Not quite the top, but a lot closer to the top than the bottom. I will try your suggestion next time I make this and report back. That sounds like a good, effective method. What would you say about the toppings I used, since they'd already been roasted? Would you put them on before the bake, or more towards the end?

Offline A-Neibs

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I have a darker pan so I'll try and compare against that one as well.

Offline The Dough Doctor

  • Tom Lehmann
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Neibs;
I am a fond lover of roasted red and green peppers, but I typically use them as an added topping ingredient, that is I normally use my toppings unroasted if they will get properly cooked during the baking of the pizza, and I add the roasted vegetables only in limited amounts as another topping ingredient rather than the main topping ingredient. My reason for doing this is because I like to have some texture in the toppings rather than the toppings being too soft and mushy. If you don't mind the texture, there is nothing wrong with adding the roasted vegetable toppings at the beginning of the bake. When I have done this though, I will try to use a deeper pan which holds a protective cooling layer of moist air over the top of the pizza thus protecting the toppings from scorching. You could also watch the pizzas during baking and when you think the toppings have had enough heat just place a small piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pizza. No need to crimp or anything, just lay it over the top and it will do the rest. If your bake time is limited by the color of the top of the pizza this will also help you to extend the baking time to achieve a better crust bake.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline A-Neibs

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Ok, I made a Sicilian type pizza for the second time. I also made some focaccia. This time I used a darker pan. I started it on a lower rack and moved it to the top for the last five minutes. I do think it cooked better this way than when I did it the first time, but the bottom was still a little undercooked. It was more undercooked in the middle, not so much by the edges. I think next time I might try cooking it with just sauce on for a few minutes before adding the cheese and other toppings. I've cooked them at 450 degrees. Maybe I should go up to 500. Do you think that would help at all?

Here are the results. The first one has sauce, mozzarella, oven roasted tomatoes and peppers, sautéed mushrooms, and olives.
The second one is focaccia with manchego cheese, lemon, red onion, and rosemary. That one cooked all the way through. It's the ones with sauce that I'm having a little trouble with.

They tasted good, but I still need to play around with the cooking process. Any continued help or feedback is appreciated.


Offline Giggliato

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A lot of places will cook the dough for a few minutes untopped. I sometimes will cover the pizza with another pan towards the end of the bake to slow down the cheese and toppings and let the dough catch up.