Why is My Pizza Dough Raw / Stodgy?

There’s nothing quite as disappointing as  biting into a bit of pizza, only to find the dough is stodgy, or even worse, still raw. Achieving a perfectly cooked pizza crust with a crisp exterior and a soft, chewy interior is what most people want, and we’re here to help you get just that.

The truth is, there’s several things that might be causing your pizza-making problems (among the worst is raw or stodgy dough). Finding a groovy pizza dough recipe is the obvious solution, but what you should probably do first is learn the very basics of pizza-making, so you don’t need to worry about these pizza troubleshooting things in the first place.

If you’re facing raw or stodgy dough, here we explain some common reasons why your pizza might turn out that way, while offering tips to help you achieve the texture you actually want.

Using the Wrong Flour or Yeast

The type of flour and yeast you use can significantly affect the texture and cooking properties of your pizza dough. Using the wrong type of flour or yeast can lead to a raw or stodgy crust. Opt for high-protein flours like bread flour or 00 flour, as they have more gluten, which promotes a chewy and good textured crust. Additionally, ensure that your yeast is actually alive and active. Expired or inactive yeast can hinder the dough’s ability to rise and cook properly.

Inadequate Oven Temperature

One of the most common culprits behind raw or stodgy pizza dough is an inadequate oven temperature. If your oven isn’t hot enough, the dough won’t cook properly, resulting in an undercooked and dense crust. To ensure proper cooking, preheat your oven to a high temperature (full whack if cooking your pizza in a regular home oven), or as recommended by your recipe, which will most definitely mean above 300C using a pizza oven.

Insufficient Preheating Time

In addition to setting the oven to a sufficient temperature, it’s crucial to allow enough preheating time. Many ovens take longer than the indicated preheating time to reach the desired temperature, especially if they’re older or have poor insulation. If you don’t allow adequate time for preheating, the pizza dough may end up raw or stodgy. Always check that your oven is up to the desired cooking temperature before you even think about launching that pizza.

Dough Too Thick 

Another reason why your pizza dough may turn out raw or stodgy is if the dough is just too thick. Thick dough takes longer to cook through, so in your hurry to make and eat some super-groovy tasting pizza, you might be tempted to pull it from the oven too soon, leaving you with a raw pile of stodge. To avoid this, roll or stretch your pizza dough to a uniform thickness (depending on which style of pizza you’re going for).

Incorrect Placement of the Pizza

The placement of your pizza within the oven can greatly impact the cooking process. If you place the pizza too close to the oven’s bottom or too far from the heat source, the dough may not receive enough direct heat, resulting in a raw or stodgy crust. For optimal cooking, you’ll usually want to position your pizza in the middle of the oven you’re using, allowing for even heat distribution and dough that’s cooked from both the top and bottom.

Insufficient Par-Baking

Par-baking, or partially pre-baking the pizza dough before adding the toppings, can help prevent a raw or stodgy crust. Although not exactly groovy if you’re going for traditional pizza, pre-baking dough for a short period in some circumstances can allow the dough to ‘set’ and develop a solid foundation, which prevents the toppings from weighing it down and inhibiting proper cooking. If you choose to go for this method, after par-baking, remove the partially cooked dough from the oven, add your desired toppings, and return it to the oven to finish baking.

Overloading the Pizza with Cold Toppings

If you add cold or refrigerated toppings directly onto pizza, it can lower the overall temperature of the dough, making it harder to cook through. Cold toppings can also release moisture, making the crust soggy. To avoid this, try pre-cooking or sautéing certain toppings before adding them to the pizza. This will remove excess moisture and ensure that the toppings are already warmed when placed on the dough. Or, bring refrigerated toppings to room temperature before adding to the pizza.

In Summary 

Achieving a perfectly cooked pizza dough requires attention to various factors. To avoid a raw or stodgy crust, make sure to use suitable flour and yeast, preheat your oven adequately, use the right temperature and placement, avoid overloading the pizza with toppings, and consider par-baking the dough (if absolutely necessary). By understanding the potential pitfalls and implementing the suggested tips, you should enjoy some groovy homemade pizza in no time at all…