Pizza lovers everywhere have seen it. You go to grab a pizza out of the oven only to notice a huge, shiny, charred bubble rising out of the dough. The voice in your head screams. “Pop it!” Am I supposed to pop it? Why are there bubbles in my crust to begin with? First off all pizza crusts have bubbles.
These bubbles are formed when the air in the dough mixes with steam. This allows the dough to rise and expand creating that chewy center that makes pizza crust so enjoyable. However, if the dough contains too much air it can gather in a thin spot in the dough and form a large bubble. Many Pizzalo’s using wood fired ovens consider a char bubble as art. They see the bubbles as a byproduct of using good dough. In other ovens it can be see as an imperfection on the pizza. So, bubbles are a preference for Pizzalo’s and consumers.
There can be a problem if you are getting extremely large bubbles, or just too many of them. As mentioned above all dough has air trapped inside. Yeast inside can create a significant amount of air. The air is good as it helps bread rise and gives it the light fluffy texture we come to know and love in breads. If we find that we are getting a lot of bubbles then we may want to remove some air from the dough.
Removing air from your dough is called Proofing the Dough. This process is so easy you may already be doing it. We need to make sure all the dough balls made are the same scale; size and weight. We want to space dough balls out evenly in a baking sheet or dough tray and brush them with oil to prevent them from drying out. Dry dough does not allow air to escape freely. Dry areas on dough are places where bubbles can form. Cover the balls with a towel and allow them to sit for 1hr 30min to 2hrs. Then place them into a cooler at about 35 degrees for the nex 1 to 3 days. Under-proofing your dough can result in large bubbles forming in the crust. Over-proofing it can result in a flat crust that won’t rise. Finally, when spreading the dough. Try to keep the thickness of the dough consistent. Thin areas are at risk of tearing or forming a bubble.
Docking is a method that uses a spiked rolling pin to poke the dough and release air. This method is not full proof and does not eliminate bubbles, but helps to control them a bit better. If you like your bubbles and want to stop them from burning then try to reduce or remove the sugar in the dough.
All in all bubbles can show the consistency of great dough with strong glucose bonds. But if the bonds are too strong, a bubble can inflate an entire pizza leaving the toppings to slide off the side. The pizza bubble is more accepted when working with wood fired ovens. It is preferred you pop them if they become too big or you are using an electric / conventional oven.
Got any tips on pizza bubbles? Let us know and we will test them out so you don’t have to.