How to soften hard pizza crust

Making pizza at home on your own is no easy feat. It takes a lot of experience and hard work to make the perfect pizza, and even then, things might not go according to plan. One of the most common problems you might face when making pizza at home is the crust turning out to be hard. So How to soften hard pizza crust?

Why does the curst become hard? Well, there are several reasons for this, including stretching the dough incorrectly and using too much flour. The good thing is, that you can soften the hard crust.

How can you soften hard pizza crust? You can brush the crust with some water or oil, heat the pizza with some water, or microwave it with some cheese on the crust.

Read on to find out more about the reason your pizza’s crust is turning out to be hard and how you can make hard crust softer. Happy reading!

How to know if your pizza crust is too hard

There are a few signs you can look out for to help you identify if your pizza’s crust is too hard. That may sound unusual given that a hard crust is easily identifiable by touch but there are some other indicators as well. Here are some of them.

  • Appearance. If the crust is dark brown in color that means you’ve baked your pizza for too long. If the crust has black spots on it, it’s probably burnt and not suitable for eating.
  • Sound. If you pinch the crust and it breaks off, it is probably quite hard. A hard crust might also make a cracking sound when you pinch it.
  • Taste. If the crust is difficult to chew, then it is hard.

Some reasons your pizza crust is too hard

Here are some reasons your pizza crust might be too hard.

1. You baked it for too long

Baking a pizza for too long is one of the most common mistakes people make. It is quite simple: the longer you bake your pizza, the harder and drier the curst will be. You might’ve probably heard that you should bake your pizza until the cheese becomes golden in color. While this is true for industrial ovens, this tip won’t work in a normal home oven.

The reason for this is that most home ovens in the US have a maximum operating temperature of about 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which is significantly lower than that of industrial ovens. Industrial ovens can bake a pizza quickly at higher temperatures, but home ovens need more time, and baking a pizza longer than 5 to 10 minutes will make it hard and dry.

2. You didn’t add enough water to the dough

Adding the correct amount of water to the dough is important and it might be the reason your pizza crust turns out to be hard. Water is important because it keeps the dough adequately hydrated when it is in the oven and the crust turns out to be soft. If you add too little water to the dough, it will quickly be absorbed in the oven, resulting in a hard crust. A good hydration level for pizza dough for home ovens is between 60 and 75 percent.

3. You added too much flour when you kneaded the dough

Another reason you’re getting hard pizza crust can be the addition of too much flour. Adding flour to the dough when kneading it is common practice, but only a small amount of flour should be added since it can get absorbed into the dough and reduce its hydration level.

To prevent this from happening, use small quantities of flour and lightly coat the dough with it. If the dough is getting too sticky, use a dough scraper to unstick it instead of using more flour.

4. You didn’t stretch the dough

Stretching the dough is an important step in making a pizza and doing it incorrectly might be the mistake you’re making. Many beginners often use a rolling pin in an effort to flatten the dough and stretch it out. But this can make your crust hard. When you use a rolling pin, you push the dough around and the pockets of air get moved around. This causes the dough to lose its lightness and airiness and results in a hard crust after baking. 

So, remember that even though using a rolling pin may seem to be the easy and effective way to stretch your pizza, it will push around the air pockets and the crust won’t be soft.

5. You didn’t let the dough rest after kneading it

To get a perfect pizza, the dough needs to rest for a while to allow gas to build up inside it. As I mentioned previously, the gas and air inside the dough make the crust soft. Many beginners make the mistake of immediately shaping and stretching the dough after kneading it. This doesn’t give the yeast enough time to produce gas and the crust doesn’t rise as a result.

How to soften hard pizza crust

How to soften hard pizza crust

Is your pizza crust too hard? Don’t fret. There are a few things you can do to soften it. Here are some of them.

1. Add some water to the crust

This is an obvious one since water is known to make the crust soft. But don’t do this right after you’ve taken your pizza out of the oven. Wait for about 15 minutes and then brush some water on the crust and pop it back into the oven for only about 10 seconds or so. The crust’s texture will be noticeably softer when you take it out.

2. Reheat the pizza 

Reheating a pizza to soften its crust may seem counterintuitive since heating usually hardens the crust. But if you flip the pizza upside down and put it in the microwave, the crust won’t harden any further. It will be nice and warm when you take the pizza out.

3. Put the pizza in a microwave with water

Here’s another quick fix involving a microwave. Pop the pizza in the microwave and also put in a glass of water. Set the timer for half a minute and wait. The pizza crust and the rest of the pizza also should absorb some of the water and become softer than before.

4. Brush some oil on the crust

Another thing you can do to soften hard pizza crust is to brush some oil on the crust before baking it in the microwave. The oil is absorbed by the crust and as a result, the latter becomes soft. Brush some oil on the crust, wait for a couple of minutes and then pop the pizza into the microwave. Set the timer for about 20 to 30 seconds. You can also use milk in place of oil.

5. Heat the pizza with some cheese on the crust

Heating your pizza in a microwave for about 10 to 15 seconds with some cheese on the crust can also make the crust soft. The cheese melts in the microwave and gives the crust a nice, soft texture.

How can you prevent the pizza crust from becoming hard?

Here are a few tips to help you prevent the crust from becoming too hard the next time you bake a pizza.

  1. Don’t bake the pizza for a long time. Ideally, a baking time of 5 to 10 minutes is fine for home ovens.
  2. Make sure you add enough water to the dough to hydrate it properly. This ensures that the dough doesn’t become dry in the oven.
  3. Use just a small amount of flour when you’re kneading the dough. If the dough is too sticky, use a dough scraper to scrape it off.
  4. Stretch the dough using your fingers. Don’t use a rolling pin as it will move the air pockets around and the crust won’t be soft.
  5. Let the dough rest in an airtight container for about 2 hours at room temperature. This will allow the yeast to produce gas and the resulting crust will be soft.

Final thoughts 

Having a pizza with a hard crust doesn’t make it particularly appetizing for many. There can be a number of reasons your pizza has a hard crust, from overbaking the pizza to not letting the dough rest after kneading it, and I’ve mentioned them in this guide. This guide also puts forth some ways in which you can soften hard pizza crust. I hope you find them useful!

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Sam Brett

Sam Brett is the founder and editor of Pizzachefhq, a pizza enthusiast who writes about what he's learned on the way of being a pizza creator and sharing his advice, tips, and research.

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