Pizza Dough Hydration

Mastering delicious homemade pizza is achievable as long as you understand the fundamentals of how to make it. One of the key techniques of delicious pizza dough is dough hydration. Our overnight poolish pizza dough is a high-hydration dough, which allows for a full character of fermentation, which results in flavor and texture.

Baker’s Percentage for Pizza Dough

Before diving into pizza dough hydration, we need to cover the baker’s percentage, where all ingredients in a recipe are stated as percentages of the total flour weight. In simple terms, this means the total amount of flour is always 100%, even if there are different types of flour in the recipe. And all other ingredients in the recipe are expressed as percentages of that amount.

For example, if a recipe calls for 1,000 grams of flour, 700 grams of water, 20 grams of salt, and 20 grams of yeast, then the percentages would be 100% flour, 70% water, 2% salt, and 2% yeast.

Knowing this formula can set you up for success depending on how much hydration you want for your pizza dough. I prefer high-hydration doughs between 70-80%. Still, it can be trickier to work with, so knowing this key formula, you can easily calculate dough hydration before you start in the kitchen. Depending on the type of pizza you want, most recipes range from 60% to 75% in dough hydration.

Now that you know how to calculate dough hydration, let’s talk about changing the dough hydration from 80% to 65%. To do this, you will need to figure out how much water you need for the recipe based on what it calls for. All other ingredients will stay the same, except the water amount will differ.

Let’s say you want to change the hydration from 80% to 65% with a recipe that calls for 700 grams of flour. To find out how much water in grams to add to the recipe, you will need to multiply the weight of flour by 65%, which is 455 grams.

Be careful, though, when changing the hydration. For example, our Cold Ferment Pizza Dough is at 80% hydration because we ferment the dough for 72 hours, so we want a wetter dough. Changing the hydration makes mixing the dough by hand more challenging and may not have the same flavor. Because you need to hydrate the yeast before mixing it with flour, we always recommend decreasing the amount of water in the dough by 2 or 3 percent if you prefer easier-to-manage dough.

shaping pizza dough on a floured surface.

How does hydration affect Pizza Dough?

High-hydration pizza dough is a type of pizza dough with a high water-to-flour ratio, usually around 70-80%. I prefer a higher hydration dough because it will be crispier, chewy, lighter, and more flavorful in texture, but it is wetter than traditional pizza dough. So there are some key techniques to mastering a higher-hydration pizza dough.

  • Longer Fermentation. The pizza dough will have more flavor because of the longer fermentation time. The reason why you need to ferment longer is because of the dough hydration. The dough is much slacker in texture, so it takes longer for the yeast to rise. If your pizza dough lacks those beautiful air pockets you see at pizza restaurants, 2 things went wrong with your homemade pizza. One, you overworked the dough (destroyed the gluten) or didn’t allow the dough to ferment long enough.
  • Develop Strength by Folding the Dough. After mixing it, you will want to fold the dough gently by hand to add strength and texture evenly throughout. To fold the dough by hand, you will want to grab underneath the dough, layer it over the top, rotate the bowl counterclockwise, and repeat.
  • Flour is your friend. Because these doughs have higher hydration, they will be sticky. We recommend tossing each dough ball, top and bottom, in flour before you shape it, so it doesn’t stick to your hands. Don’t knead the dough during this step; you don’t want to destroy the gluten. When you do this, it will be harder to shape the dough.

Mixing High Hydration Pizza Dough

Before making homemade pizza dough, we have to use the correct bowl. Glass bowls are the best because they are easy to clean, don’t affect the dough’s temperature, and can help you check on the dough during the fermentation process. Metal bowls should never be used because it affects the dough temperature.

After you hydrate the yeast with water, add it to the bowl with flour, and mix everything with your hands or with a spatula. The next step is the more important part. You will want to fold the dough to help develop the gluten that will give it strength and volume. Here are the key steps to folding pizza dough:

  • Wet your working hand. To fold, dip your hand in warm water to wet it, so the dough doesn’t stick to your hand.
  • Fold over dough. Reach or scoop underneath the dough and pull about one-quarter of it out to stretch until you feel resistance, and fold it over the top to the other side of the dough. Repeat about 4 to 5 times by working around the dough, doing the same technique. The dough will start to come together as a ball.
  • Wet with Olive Oil. Once the dough has been gently folded, rub olive oil on top and set it aside per the recipe instructions to allow it to rise.

Shaping the Dough 

Shaping and baking high-hydration pizza dough can be tricky because it’s wetter and thinner. If the dough has been refrigerated, don’t let the dough sit on the counter before shaping. The dough will have more strength when cold. Flour is also your friend here, but try not to add too much flour, as it will change the flavor and texture. Instead, toss the dough, top and bottom, with flour before shaping. Once shaped, transfer to parchment paper so it’s easier to transfer to the oven with a pizza peel or baking sheet.

When using a hydration pizza dough for the first time, I recommend making a simple pizza recipe, like a Margherita Pizza or an Olive Olive Pizza with Veggies.

We hope this guide on Pizza Dough Hydration helps you the next time you make homemade pizza for pizza night. As a reminder, the higher the hydration,hydrationkier it is to work with, but it results in a tasty and perfect pizza crust. 🙂


What hydration hydrationzza dough be?

The hydration hydration depending on the style of pizza you make. For a New York Style Pizza, the dough hydration is 60-65%, whereas for a Neapolitan Style Pizza, the dough is at 55-65% hydration.

Is higher-hydration pizza dough better?

If flavor and texture are important, then yes, the higher the hydration, hydrationr. While it’s trickier to work with, it’s important to understand the properties of the dough. There is a longer fermentation period, so more flavor is developed, and the dough will be softer, making it airy and crispier when baked.

What is the secret to a crispy pizza crust?

Water is the second most important factor that affects your pizza crust when you bake it. More water, also known as higher hydration, makes a softer dhydration is airy and crispier when baked.


Leave a Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.