charbo and ernestrome,
The question raised by charbo is a great question. Unfortunately, the lines between bread dough and pizza dough have become blurred, especially as a result of the membership on this forum applying bread-making techniques to pizza dough making. A good example of the foregoing is the use of autolyse. Autolyse was developed--by Prof. Raymond Calvel in France--for bread making, but many of our members are using it for pizza dough making. Although I am aware of a few anecdotal instances where pizza operators have used autolyse-like rest periods (such as the riposo
in Italy), I am not aware of any professional pizza operators using the classic autolyse as devised by Prof. Calvel even though he developed the technique in the 70s.
Another difference is the tightness of the crumb. Unless one is making high-hydration dough for a ciabatta or artisan bread, bread dough (especially commercial dough) will usually be kneaded to produce a tight crumb, with small holes (voids) that are of like size and shape. By contrast, the usual recommendation from dough experts like Tom Lehmann is to slightly underknead dough that is to be used to make pizzas. Along with fairly high hydration levels, the finished crumb ideally should have large holes of irregular size and shape. The cut-off hydration level for pizza dough is around 70%. Above that level, it will be almost impossible for the normal pizza maker to handle, shape and stretch a dough into a normal-sized pizza round and then dress it and bake it. The dough handling problem is not a real problem with a ciabatta or similar dough, which can have a hydration level above 80%.
Standard preferments like poolish, bigas, sponges, etc. are most commonly associated with bread making rather than pizza dough making, although as I mentioned earlier, such preferments are starting to be used with greater frequency with pizza dough making. When used in the context of pizza dough making, the finished results will depend on the nature and amounts of the preferments. The amount of the preferment is a critical factor. According to pizzanapoletana (Marco), a natural preferment (like the Criscito
) will act as a leavening agent when used in small amounts (below 5% by weight of water), but above that amount the dough will, according to Marco, be bread dough, not pizza dough. It is when I have used large amounts of preferments that I have gotten the results I described before in which the finished crust is more like a bread crust (like a baguette) than a pizza crust. If you are interested, I reported on some of the results at Reply 343 at page 18 of the Lehmann thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.340.html
. and at Reply 362 at page 19 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.360.html
. The pizzas described and shown in those posts were both made using large amounts of preferment (better than 40% of the total dough weight). While I liked the crust flavors very much, I found both pizzas to be too crispy. I subsequently learned that crispiness is a common result when using large amounts of preferments.
Another difference between bread dough making and pizza dough making is that many bread doughs are allowed to proof a second (or final) time before baking. This is sometimes done with certain pizza dough applications (e.g., deep-dish and standard pan doughs or on screens/disks where a thick, soft crust is desired), but often the final "proof” step is eliminated. Certainly this is true with respect to most cold fermented doughs, and some same-day bulk doughs, where essentially the only rising of the dough is on the bench before dressing and baking.
There is also sometimes a difference in ingredients used to make bread doughs as opposed to pizza doughs. For example, if a bread is to have long keeping, anti-staling qualities, it is common to use fair amounts of sugar and oil, both of which have softening effects and serve to keep the bread from drying out too soon. Sourdough breads using sourdough preferments or starters have the same keeping, anti-staling qualities because of the antibiotic effects produced by biochemical activity in the dough. Most pizzas are consumed right after baking, so keeping and anti-staling qualities are rarely considerations.
I’m sure there are other differences, but the ones mentioned above are the ones that immediately come to mind. The nice thing about our forum is that our members, several of whom are also avid bread makers, are always trying to improve their pizzas no matter where the inspirations come from. In that respect we are in the forefront because most professional pizza operators are not interested in using autolyse, natural preferments and other useful bread-making techniques to make better tasting pizzas. It’s far too much work, and time- and labor-intensive.