This is a no-knead, long-rise dough (at least 2 days) recipe that produces a pizzeria-quality, medium-thickness, crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside crust.
One limiting factor for home cooks is that our ovens don’t generally get hot enough to bake good pizza. Another factor is that most people don’t have good access to high-gluten (14%) flour. Both of those things are pretty much necessary for that pizzeria-quality pizza. This recipe seems to solve those issues for home cooks.
If you care to understand about the ingredients and technique, read on after the recipe.
Because of all the rising time and resting time, it is probably advised to read the entire recipe before beginning. Read it maybe 4 days before you want to eat your pizza because the technique includes at LEAST 2 days of rising if not 3.
Perfect Pizzeria Pizza at Home
Makes dough for two 12″ pizzas.
by Beth Goodnight
• 1 ¾ cups luke-warm water (possibly ¼ cup additional)
• ¼ tsp. active dry yeast
• 3 ¾ cups (500 grams) King Arthur Bread Flour (12% gluten)
• 3 ¾ tsp. gluten powder
• 1 ½ tsp. fine sea salt
In a large mixing bowl add 1 ¾ cups water and yeast. Allow mixture to stand for 5 minutes to be sure the yeast is active. Be sure the water isn’t too warm or it will kill the yeast. Also, I find it helpful to use only ½ cup of warm water in which to proof the yeast. For some reason, with the entire volume of water, you don’t get a really good view of the yeast’s foaming action. So you may want to proof the yeast in ½ cup of water, then add the rest to the bowl. Just be sure none of the water is too hot.
Add one cup of flour to water and yeast mixture. Combine thoroughly, by hand with wooden spoon. Add another cup of flour, salt and gluten. Mix thoroughly. Add remaining flour, and mix thoroughly. The dough should be the consistency of moist biscuit dough. Add some of the additional ¼ cup of water only if necessary. [I have made this recipe using 2 cups of water, and it seemed really wet, but made into great crust, so don’t be afraid of it being on the wet side. But it was hard to work with while building the pizza. So experiment a bit.]
Rising / Fermenting
Turn dough into a Yogotherm bucket (see note at bottom), cover and slip it into the insulation part. Or turn dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, put on counter and wrap in towel to avoid drafts. In either vessel, let dough rise on counter about 24 hours.
After 24-30 hours the dough will completely fill the bowl or Yogotherm bucket and will be wonderfully bubbly. Cut 2 pieces of plastic wrap that will completely wrap up each dough piece, and place on the counter out of the way.
Turn dough out of container onto lightly oiled counter top. Divide into 2 equal pieces (or maybe 4 if you intend to make individual pizzas or calzones). The dough will flatten out rather than holding a ball shape. For each dough piece, fold the edges, like there are 4 corners, bringing the corners into the center, then turning it over with the folded side down onto the plastic wrap. Wrap up one piece and put into fridge for at least 1 day, and up to 2 days. [If you are freezing other dough piece, then place the wrapped piece into a zip-lock freezer bag. Pop into freezer for up to a month.]
Take dough out of fridge at least 2 hours before assembling the pizza so it is at room temp before working. [For the frozen dough, get out of freezer a day ahead and thaw in fridge. Then take out of fridge just like previously stated above.]
About 60 minutes before time to bake the pizza, prepare the oven. Move a rack to the lowest position in the oven and put your pizza stone on it. You don’t absolutely need a stone, but it really helps. This rack placement sounds counter-intuitive, but my recent research says the lowest rack position is best. Preheat oven to 550°F. or as hot as you can go.
You can move the other rack up to the top so you have room inside your oven, or you can remove it and place on your counter for a resting place for the pizza later on. If you don’t put it on the counter, get out a baking rack that will hold the size of your pizza for the after-baking resting.
[Note: You can bake the pizza on the grill if you have one that gets hot enough. I have baked other pizzas on our grill, but not this recipe yet. Our grill gets well above 600°F. If yours does, too, watch it carefully! Our grilled pizzas were fantastic!]
Build the Pizza
On lightly oiled pan, with lightly oiled hands, very gently pat and stretch the dough into the pan. It may resist. If it does, let it rest a few minutes. Stretch some more. Never force the stretching! Let rest, then stretch some more until it’s the size you desire. Same would go if you are rolling out the dough, but this dough is VERY moist and sticky, I doubt it would have rolled well. And many pizza resources advise against rolling pizza dough.
You can build your pizza on a peel for transfer to the stone in the oven. If you do this, sprinkle corn meal on the peel. You can use corn meal on the pan if you like. It adds even more crunch to the bottom of the pizza. You could also use parchment paper under the dough to keep the dough from sticking.
Add about ½ cup of thick sauce — make sure it’s room temp or cooler. And do NOT do ‘extra sauce’ or very liquid sauce or fresh tomatoes or other very wet ingredients, this crust doesn’t support that much moisture.
Sprinkle with herbs of your choosing. I like them applied now rather than on top so they won’t burn in the hot oven.
Add grated cheese — your choice of just mozzarella or a blend; about 2 cups. Don’t use fresh mozzarella because it’s too wet.
Add toppings of your choice, with caution. My favorite local pizzeria (Apizza Scholls in Portland, OR) says never apply more than 2 toppings. NEVER! And go lightly with them.
Finally, apply a sprinkling of granulated garlic.
Bake and Serve
Bake ~10 minutes at 550°F. Turned the pizza around at the 5 minute mark if you have a funky oven. I almost always set the timer for 8 minutes and check to see if it needs longer.
You want the pizza a it darker brown than you think it should be because that indicates you attain proper caramelization of the cheese. Which means YUMMY! The photo attached to this recipe is actually a bit under baked. Should have gone 2 more minutes.
Cool pizza on a rack on the counter 2-3 minutes before cutting. This helps the bottom crust to NOT get soggy. Transfer to cutting board. Cut. Enjoy with favorite adult beverage. :)
…about flour and gluten
If I understand correctly, gluten is what makes a bread chewy. Think bagels. The recipe I based my own recipe upon called for all-purpose flour. I didn’t even try that because I was well on my way to understanding how to work with high-gluten flour. And I wanted chewy-crispy crust. I’ve previously made a lot of scratch pizza dough from all-purpose flour and been disappointed every time.
I have read that for really good, chewy-crust, pizza dough you MUST have 14% gluten. (Sorry gluten-free people, pizzeria-style pizza is not the right food for you.) There is one high-gluten (14%) flour that is fairly readily available to home bakers, King Arthur’s Lancelot Unbleached High-gluten Flour. Another is from Italy, Antimo Caputo 00 Pizzeria Flour which you can buy from a distributor or from Amazon.com. Both of these flours are expensive.
What a dilemma. So in doing some research, I found that you can 1 tsp of powder gluten per cup of bread flour (12% gluten) to make bring it up to roughly 14% gluten content. That is what I do. I buy the powdered gluten at a grocery with bulk bins like Whole Foods. I use the very readily available, and not too expensive, King Arthur Bread Flour (12% gluten) and add the gluten to the dry ingredients to arrive at the desired 14% gluten content.
One more very important thing to note is that high-gluten flour requires more water to wet it than lower-gluten flours. I have experimented from the base recipe with how much additional water to add for my substitution of bread flour and extra gluten, and the recipe above states the amount of water I actually used. So you don’t need to compensate if you follow my recipe and use the flour and gluten stated. I have done the compensating for you.
…about no-knead and fermentation
Apparently, dough attains much better flavor if it is allowed to rise a long time. Not less than 18-24 hours. Three days is even better. Many sources said that, just like yogurt, one should ferment the dough on the counter at room temperature for the first at least 24 hours, not in the fridge. I use my yogurt fermenting vessel called Yogotherm which is basically a plastic bucket with insulated shell. Low-tech, without need for power. [I bought my Yogotherm at Amazon, but I see the price is double what I paid. Here is a more reasonable price: https://www.lehmans.com/p-1512-yogotherm-yogurt-incubator.aspx And here is an even better price: http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/p/100-Yogotherm-Yogurt-Maker-2-QT-w-Free-Y1.html ] I mix up the dough by hand with a wooden spoon. You do not need your mixer or a dough hook. The mixing process takes less than 5 minutes. Turn the dough into the bucket (or use a large bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap and wrap bowl with a towel to avoid draft). Drop the bucket into the Styrafoam insulating container, then set it (or the bowl) aside on the counter for 24 hours or so. See recipe for specifics about the rest of the process.
You really don’t need to knead dough to create the chew. Trust me on this. I have done research, and now have personal experience. The long-rise fermentation does all the work for you. I was a skeptic at first, but read so many accounts about good results using time vs kneading, and at this typing I have successfully made this recipe 3 times.
It also seems like there is not nearly enough yeast, but over the long ferment/rise time and with the room-temperature initial rise, it goes gangbusters after 4 hours or so.
I’ve also read that rolling out the dough makes it tough. Gently stretching and patting it into shape in the pan or on the peel produces nice tender crust.
This dough makes great bread!