Why Your Pizza Crust Is So Hard

If you’ve tried making homemade pizza crust before, you’ve probably encountered this problem before. You’re expecting a light, puffy, slightly crispy crust, but instead your pizza crust ends up hard, dry and pale. So frustrating! Read on to learn how to fix hard pizza crust.

This is a common problem – and thankfully it comes with an easy solution.

homemade pizza dough recipe
Photo: This pizza crust came out light and fluffy, thanks to a couple of adjustments.


Why Is My Pizza Crust So Hard & Pale?

Add honey and oil to your dough recipe to aid browning and cook it less. Then, adjust the level of hydration in your dough to avoid drying out in the oven. I aim for 70-80% for my homemade pizza doughs. Check out my homemade pizza dough recipe for more information.

You see, your home oven isn’t the same as the ovens they use in pizzerias – and that’s why it’s harder for us to make good dough at home.

Home ovens only reach temperatures of around 500°F max, while pizzeria ovens can go up to 1000°F or even higher.

And generally speaking, the hotter the oven, the better the pizza crust.

There are two main advantages to baking pizza in a super-hot oven. First, pizzeria ovens are hot enough to brown the crust of the pizza—this is often called “leopard spotting”, those slightly charred edges around the crust that taste so good.

Second, the extreme high heat allows the pizza to cook quickly enough before the inner part of the crust dries out completely.

This all leaves you with a pizzeria pizza that’s crispy and charred along the edges, but soft and chewy when you bite into it—basically the perfect pizza.

So where does this leave home pizza-makers, especially when our ovens barely go over 500°F? Thankfully, all hope is not lost. We just need to make a couple of alterations to our recipe … 

Related Post: Why Your Pizza Crust Is Soggy

Jump straight to the fix

a margherita pizza sliding out of a pizza oven
That oven will make anything crispy…

How To Fix Hard Pizza Dough

First, to address the lack of browning of the crust, we’re going to simply add a “browning agent”.

There are plenty of browning agents availability to use. I like to add a teaspoon of honey and a glug of extra virgin olive oil when I make my dough (see my complete dough recipe with even more tips here).

This little bit of honey and oil is not enough to change the taste of the dough, but more than enough to make your outer crust crispy and golden. Honey is also incredibly healthy, by the way!

a spoonful of fresh honey
Try adding a little honey to your pizza dough.

Second, we’re going to address the issue of the dryness from leaving the pizza in the oven so long at a low temperature.

For this, I’m simply going to increase the hydration level of my dough. This allows the crust to withstand the extra cooking time without completely drying out. 

For example, your typical pizza recipe calls for around 55% hydration, and that’s perfectly fine for a pizza oven. But for my homemade pizzas, I use between 70-80% hydration and the difference really shows (recipe here).

 At the end of the day, learning to make pizza is a journey as you build a new (and totally tasty) skill. Experiment lots – because when your experiments aren’t perfect, they’re usually still tasty enough! 

So go ahead and experiment by adding a bit of honey and extra water to your pizza dough recipes. Or if you like, you can check out my pan pizza and neapolitan pizza recipes.

Buon Appetito!

Pizza dough secret ingredient
Did you find this article useful? Please consider pinning it to your recipes and cooking Pinterest boards!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

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