Very Large Bubbles in Pizza Dough

Joined Jun 27, 2006
 what i meant by quality issue is that we are trying to figure out the source of the problem,
with docking being the last possible solution, as it solves a problem at the end of a long process (making the dough, proofing, rolling...)
we are trying to solve the problem earlier in the process. it might have to come to docking, only if nothing else works.
as far as our process goes. we use dry instant yeast, we dont combine batches, we have our formula, and its translated into 3 different size batches and me make the dough every night after service according to what we expect tomorrow  to look like.
we control temp by averaging to 76 (water, flour, room, friction) ala cavel, first autolysing then adding the yeast oil, honey and salt.
then the dough get batch proof in the walkin over night and portioned/balled in the morning.
only my chef and i make the dough, and we use a white board to track temp. and batch sizes
I mentioned a cold mix method above. That's the ice water and yeast straight to the flour. Sort of the same process when making a Biga but you're completing the dough.

Have you thought of eliminating the proof and just go straight to ball and in the cooler. Try it. It may work. From what I can gather it might be that initial proof that is causing the over-abundance of bubbles. I've used that method for Neapolitan style pizza's in the past with great success. Dough shelf life is usually 2 days too. Anything after that and the yeast, because it hasn't dissolved completely, causes dark specks and a darkening of the dough takes place. You can par-bake the crusts, 5 minutes in the oven, and then into the freezer but that's a last ditch effort to save cost. Actually works well if you do a crowd control appetizer. I've made za's for customers to sample when on a long wait using par-baked crusts. Folks always loved them.


alot of bubbles are fixed with skilled stretching technique its fairly obvious when a newer guy is making pizzas in my place as they have bubbles build up but same dough batch all of the seasoned guys can make pretty much  bubble free pizza. From time to time bubbles happen and that is a fact of life and the guy manning the oven needs to deal with it.
Joined Apr 13, 2012
We are a small deli and we bought a pizza oven last year.  People are saying that we make the best pizza around which is great to hear, but we are having some issues with philosophy of how the dough edges should come out (there are 3 of us owners and we all have diffierent cooking styles).  We get bubbles, but only around the edge of the crust, which I think is fine.  However, one of my partners  pops all the bubbles when she is there.  She hates them so she thinks everyone should hate them.  I just want to make a consistent product.  I am  originally from NY and there were always bubbles on the edges of the really good pizzas.  I just recently ate at a Napoleonic (sp?) pizza place in Denver- guess what?  Bubbles on the edges. 
Joined Feb 4, 2012
If it doesn't bubble you may have other problems...the only problem with the bubbles is that if they get too large, the cheese and toppings will slide off (leaving a less than desirable slice)--so you are technically both correct.  I would pop the large bubbles (larger than a golf ball) and let the others bake in for the more authentic style of pie:>) 

Just my 2 a qualified pizza freak!


Joined Aug 7, 2008
I hate docked dough. When you dock the entire pie it kills the rise on the crust and it ends up looking like pre-fab frozen dough bought from the likes of S*sco instead of an artisanal product. We used to just keep a very long handled fork that resembles a carving fork to pop any large bubbles that would develop while the pie was cooking. You can get them from most restaurant suppliers that carry pizza utensils. I think some of the best pizza dough is made from brewers years and not dry yeast. I used to but Budweiser yeast but that was way back in the dark ages before cell phones and lap tops. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

Joined Mar 31, 2012
Logically think about what yeast does, yeast  commonly used as a leavening agent  in baking  bread  and bakery products, where it converts the fermentable  sugars  present in the dough  into carbon dioxide  (gas).  If using the dry active yeast you have to rehydrate it in warm water to liven it up right!   The presence of large bubbles you may be rushing this process and the granules are not fully dissolved, dispersed and/or sticking together (clumbs).  If using the rapid or instant yeast you have to add the dry granules to the flour and again has to be uniformly dispersed.  Fresh yeast same logic.   But in all sense kneading your dough a bit longer should do this.  I have seen the sponge method of making pizza dough like focaccia.  Never heard of docking pizza dough.  It shocked an Italian mama why do you think they have nice strong arms... kneading of course.    
Joined Dec 29, 2010
That's an interesting issue.  A couple of things occur to me as possible answers.  There may be to much yeast.  That can cause it.  Also, if you autolyse your dough for too long, that could also make that happen.  Finally, the more a dough is punched down, the less bumbles and "crumb" you get in the final product.  So if you do not punch down the dough or only do it slightly, then that could be the answer.   
Joined Dec 29, 2010
I personally think that if it were a lactic acid issue in your dough, there would be a foul taste there...
Joined Oct 28, 2011
Simple solution call your pizza resturant      Bubbles Pizza       Run with it     if it taste good    don't fix it if it's not broken
Joined Jan 12, 2017

We run a Pizza take-away in Thje Hague Netherlands. We also have airbubbles in the dough. Unfortounatly not only on fridays but every day. It is not unmanageble but it takes time. We learned the trade in a pizza academy in Forence Italy. We make the dough in exactly the same way with exactly the same ingredients. In Florence we had bubbles seldom.

My question is, we make the dough in a three day cycle. Day 1 we make biga (with cold water) which stays 1 day outside the fridge. On day 2 we finish the dough with the biga as an ingredient and make balls. The balls stay in the fridge for 2 days.

We like the dough. It is very tastefull, very light and very 'Italian'. The only problem are the bubbles during baking.

Do you, or has anyone, a tip?

Thanks in advance

Joined Sep 18, 2012
The type of flour and its protein content make a hugh difference in both the character, taste, and the bubbles that a dough is capable of holding. High gluten means more bubbles,  I use SAF-Instant Yeast Red Label, and KA European-styleArtisan Bread Flour made from medium-protein spring and winter wheats. I also use, 1/3 by volume, of KA Italian “00” flour.

When kneading, there are three punch downs which are very hard and knock the bubble size down to small. (Monitor the bubble size by cutting through a cross section to examine the effectivity of your process.) In Naples Italy, pizza is often cooked at 750 F wood-fired ovens.

An occasional bubble makes for character while the high temperature gives the pizza its charcateristic aroma. All my crusts are HARD rolled to 3/16[sup]th[/sup] thickness before hand. Thinner crust have smaller bubbles as well.

BTW I ferment the yeast sponge for three days so there is a ample buildup of lactic acid given the crust increased nutrition and a "sourdough" flavor. I been making pizza since I was 12 which is 60 years.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
You have to pop them with something sharp.  That's all.
Joined Mar 4, 2007
How are the doughballs portioned and formed?  Bubbles have to be worked out as the doughballs are formed and rolled, otherwise there will be bubbles in the dough from the very beginning.
Joined Jan 12, 2017
Hi Tralfaz,

The doughballs are 260 grams each and handrolled. We try to take out all teh bubbles we see when we roll the dough but that's not enough...
Joined Jan 21, 2017
It's not the dough but the pizza cook I believe.

Your pizzaiolo seems to be doing fine during the weekdays, however- on the weekends during peak times you are having issues.

Couple questions I would ask:

Who's making the dough?
Who's rolling out the dough (portioned)?
Who is actually slapping the dough before putting on toppings (during the week & weekends)?
Have you tried checking on each cook's end product?

What I think is happening is that the dough's not being worked well enough when it's busy. That's not to say he/she doesn't know what they're doing, but what I'm picturing is that the cook is trying to keep up with the busy service and not smashing out the air bubbles.

Stretching and slapping the dough before going into the oven is just as important as every other step necessary.

I really doubt it has to do with the recipe.

You can't rush a perfect pizza. It takes an experienced pizzaiolo with true finesse, to execute perfection.
Joined Mar 2, 2015
How long are you allowing the dough balls to warm up after removing them from the cooler?  Using the dough while it's still cool will result in bubbles.  
Joined Dec 2, 2017
we are a family business making pre-cooked pizza dough for super markets. We have a bubbles problem which I've tried to study and after reading professional comments here I suspect my problem may be in turning out a warm dough onto a cold marble table for cutting, and later opening warm risen balls onto cold metal trays....I will experiment with this in mind tomorrow en sha Allah. Our bubble problem is as the winter draws in (we are in Egypt )...No bubbling through the hot summer months. Any comments please.
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