Alton Brown Pizza Dough Videos


In the Serious Eats Talk section today, reader Hobsons96 asks for pizza dough help. Basically s/he can't get the dough to stretch properly. This problem reminded me of the Alton Brown episode on pizza, "Flat Is Beautiful," in which Brown explains gluten, "windowpaning," and yeast action—among other nerdriffic dough concepts.

And then I remembered that there are a number of Good Eats! segments on YouTube, including the two after the jump that might give Hobsons96 some more help.

Link: "Flat Is Beautiful," Part 1 [YouTube]

Link: "Flat Is Beautiful," Part 1 [YouTube]

If you want the recipe that Brown's using, it's on the Food Network site. Just be sure to observe the note regarding salt at the bottom.

In fact, I found Brown's recipe much too salty when I tried it, so I returned to my own recipe but followed almost all of the rest of Brown's advice. True to form, he explains all the technical aspects behind a good dough and then shows you how to stretch it, top it, and cook it. I found this episode tremendously helpful and it improved the quality of pizzas coming out of my oven.

Prior to watching this show, I had always been amazed at (and jealous of) the stretchiness and almost gumlike quality of the pizza doughs I see the pizza-makers in New York pizzerias slinging and wondered what they did to get such an easy-to-work-with dough. Mine had always been tough and hard to stretch, and I had to use a rolling pin to wrestle dough balls into shape.

This show helped me realize I wasn't kneading the dough enough. I had previously only left it in the stand mixer for five to ten minutes, whereas Brown recommends 15 minutes on a fairly high speed. This helps develop the stringy gumlike gluten fibers and allows the dough to stretch better. He even demonstrates a concept called "windowpaning." I'd explain it, but you'll see ...

The only thing I didn't follow in this episode is the long, slow rise in the fridge. I'm just too impatient. So instead, I just do an hour's rise time in a warm kitchen, punch the dough down, and let it rest a bit before stretching out. I know it doesn't make for the best tasting or best textured dough, but when a man's hungry, he's gotta eat.

But, you know, now I'm a bit curious about following this recipe to the letter, so I may set aside some time next week to do the whole 24-hour fridge rise. We'll see.