Pizza Dough vs Bread Dough – Ultimate Difference

When you feel your pizza comes bready this time, you have probably used bread dough as a base for your pizza. Don’t worry; this type of swapping doesn’t change the world order but helps you to understand some facts between types of dough, more specifically, pizza dough vs. bread dough tussle.

Pizza Dough vs Bread Dough

So, what’s the difference between pizza dough and bread dough? Are these interchangeable?

Well, for interchangeability, I would say Yes and No.

And for the difference, there are a lot of similarities, yet you have to care about concentration, proofing, and extensibility.

Let’s discuss dough strategies for making bread from pizza dough and vice versa.

Pizza Dough vs Bread Dough – Difference Between Pizza and Bread Dough

Most of the people ask me, is dough bread? Don’t confuse your mind; a dough is a dough (base). Your recipe ingredients turn into bread, pizza, sourdough, oily focaccia, etc. So, what are the points where things take different routes?

Let’s get this in points before you screw down your mind. The difference between pizza dough and bread dough is;

  • The concentration of Ingredients – Includes water level, yeast, Flour, etc
  • Criteria of making – Proofing, kneading strategy, 
  • Techniques to Cook – Temperature settings, Platform to cook

So, is pizza dough the same as bread dough?

Apart from all the above points, you’ll see pizza dough is the same as bread dough as long as it uses the same base ingredients such as flour, water, salt, yeast, etc. Things take a sharp turn when formulation and cooking strategy change for every different recipe you want to make. 

Let’s go point by point, where you can see things gradually deviating to create a difference between bread dough and pizza dough.

The concentration of Ingredients: 

Hydration Level – Maintain the Moisture Content: 

Locking the ratio of moisture level defines the bread type. Most people love a crunchier pizza base, so the water level should be less than what a soft and fluffy bread dough takes. 

However, the standard rule of thumb is that regular pizza dough contains somewhat 55-65% of hydration level, whereas bread levels need to be at 90-95% moisture level.  

Hydration Level

The idea behind this is that the bread dough is usually more on the fluid side and moderately thick. Adding more water to bread dough helps more significantly and faster rise than pizza dough. This process technically helps thinning the dough density, assisting CO2 to add more extension inside the dough, resulting in more rise. 

However, as I mentioned above, the density and texture of bread dough should be balanced. Thus, it expands due to gaseous extension and doesn’t tear due to over-thinning. 

Dairy Products – Makes a Difference:  

Pizza dough standardly doesn’t consume any dairy products like milk, or egg. The scientific reasoning behind this is chefs give more time to proofing pizza dough. 

Dairy products rot much faster than basic ingredients; it doesn’t make a good patch between pizza dough and dairy products. 

Dairy Products

On the other hand, bread dough is typically based on flavor and scents. So, adding dairy products much act like flavor-adding agents. 

Another factor is bread dough is cooked at relatively lower temperatures than pizza dough. So, the burning risk factor is much lesser than pizza dough cooked at higher temperatures. 

Dairy products have sugar that burns fast, so pizza dough typically doesn’t have dairy products.

Bread-Making Criteria:

Since ingredients somewhat defuse similarities between pizza and bread dough, bread-making steps make both types of bread different from each other. Know it how;

Kneading Strategy – Gluten Matters a Lot:

Gluten logic is the same in both cases. The stronger the gluten structure will be, the more the dough will be elastic. However, pizza dough is kneaded relatively less than bread dough. Pizza is much lighter than bread, so kneading needs to be stopped when the dough reaches a specific extent.

Kneading Strategy

Beyond that particular limit, gluten structure gets over-optimized for pizza dough; thus, there is a paradigm shift from pizza dough to bread dough. Pizza dough needs a relatively smaller timeframe, like 2-7 minutes of kneading. Bread dough needs more energetic kneading to become much denser than a pizza.

Proofing – Manage the Duration: 

Typically, if you’re using yeast as a fermenting agent in bread dough, this will take lesser time to proof than pizza dough. Otherwise, if your choice is a sourdough starter, this will need much more time than pizza dough to final proof. 

Cooking Mechanism: 

The last part, where your dough is ready to bear the temperatures, also makes the difference between pizza dough and bread dough. Here are some points you should take care of;

The Temperature Ranges:

If you are an amateur chef, stick it in your mind, bread dough needs relatively lesser temperatures to reach its fineness. If I can quote exactly, 450-550F are the best ranges for bread dough. 

On the contrary, pizzas are stubborn items that need a norm of 700-900F to get perfectly cooked. 

You can’t bake bread dough at higher temperatures as it usually has dairy products that ignite faster at soaring temperatures. So, when you plan to use pizza dough for bread, make sure you add dairy products as flavor-enhancing agents. 

The Temperature Ranges

Secondly, baking times differ in both cases. Pizzas are thinner and don’t need additional time to rise in the oven, so baking times due to higher temperatures are much lesser than bread. 

A standard pizza gets cooked in 5-8 minutes, while Neapolitan-style pizzas are much more instantaneous to get baked, even under 2 minutes. If you ever cook pizza dough longer, this will also parch out the actual moisture content, and you’ll be only left with the dried crust, which you won’t want to face in any case.  

Baking Methods – Stone Vs Tin:

Another baking methodology is bread dough mandates steam to get baked, whereas pizza dough only needs high temperatures. So for that technical reason, pizza always gets cooked on pizza stones, and bread ought to have an iron pot or other sculpture to deliver a shape to baked bread. 

Is Making Bread From Pizza Dough a Possibility?

Yes, you can make bread from pizza dough. Since pizza dough doesn’t traditionally get added up with additional ingredients like egg, cream, or milk, you can use this base for bread making. Though there might be some texture and flavor differences, I don’t think anyone can judge the base behind the bread. 


Is Bread Dough and Pizza Dough the Same?

Bread dough and pizza dough are almost identical, considering some ingredients or how they got handled. Handling mostly refers to baking techniques and temperature settings. Apart from these, they are nearly the same.

Can I Make a Loaf of Bread with Pizza Dough?

Yes, you can make a loaf of bread with the pizza dough. As I said above, there are few strategic differences; otherwise, both these things are the same in their fundamental ingredients, like salt water and flour.

Is Pizza Dough Better with Bread Flour?

Pizza dough with bread flour is always a better combination due to its rich protein content. Bread flour has higher protein enrichment, resulting in a more robust gluten structure. People who love chewy pizza crust always prefer bread flour for pizza dough. 

The Bottom Line

So, what are the key points for bread dough vs. pizza dough? The difference between pizza and bread dough is purely intent, cooking style, and managing the dough fermentation period. The ingredients are almost the same. However, bread dough sometimes gets an additional variety of ingredients to diversify its aroma. 

Apart from this, you can swap both breads, but again, you must foremost care about the ingredients. 

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