FAQ #3: Three Pizza Doughs

 

Can you send me a recipe for pizza dough? I get this question a lot so here are three to get you going. We often refer to the first two recipes, below, in our instructional section and many of you already have them in your repertoire. But for those of you who are new, I'm reprinting them here in one place for easier retrieval. In addition, I've added a unique gluten-free recipe using sprouted gluten-free flour, along with the contact info for where to get the flour. I've written about this new development in the world of flour, sprouted grain flours, in previous posts so please refer to those for background. But here, for the first time, is a recipe you can use to make this dough at home.

We'd love to hear back from you, in the comments section below, with your results and also any questions that we can answer for the benefit of everyone.

One final note: in some of our pizzas we referred to the special Birra Basta dough we made last fall at the Great American Beer Festival with Kelly Whitaker and the folks from The Bruery. It is very similar to the Country dough, below. You can make your own version by using coarse, pumpernickel grind flour in place of the whole wheat flour and adding 1 tablespoon of dry malt powder (aka malt crystal), or use an equal amount of barley malt syrup.  You can also contact our flour sponsor, Central Milling, and order some of their Germainia flour and also a small bag of malt crystal, to make it exactly the same way we did.  I love that Germainia flour and hope to create a number of doughs in the future that use it.

 

Classic Pizza Dough, Neo-Neapolitan Style

(Makes five 8-ounce pizzas)

What makes this Neo-Neapolitan is that I use American bread flour instead of Italian -00- flour, but you can certainly use Italian flour, such as from Caputo, if you want to make an authentic Napoletana dough. Just cut back on the water by about 2 ounces, since Italian flour does not absorb as much as the higher protein American flour (if you use Central Milling's -00- flour you don't have to cut back on the water and it makes an amazing dough). Always use unbleached flour for better flavor but, if you only have bleached flour it will still work even if it doesn’t taste quite as good. If you want to make it more like a New Haven-style dough (or like Totonno’s or other coal-oven pizzerias), add 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. These are optional--the dough is great with or without them. As with the Country Dough, the key is to make it wet enough so that the cornicione (the edge or crown) really puffs in the oven.

5 1/4 cups (24 ounces by weight) unbleached bread flour

2 teaspoons (0.5 oz.) kosher salt

1 1/4 teaspoons (0.14 oz.) instant yeast (or 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast dissolved in the water)

2 tablespoons (1 oz.) olive oil (optional)

1 tablespoons (1/2 oz.) sugar or honey (optional)

2 1/4 cups (18 oz.) room temperature water (less if using honey or oil)

--You can mix this by hand with a big spoon or in an electric mixer using the paddle (not the dough hook).

--Combine all the ingredients in the bowl and mix for one minute, to form a coarse, sticky dough ball.

--Let the dough rest for five minutes, then mix again for one minute to make a smooth, very tacky ball of dough.

--Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, rub a little oil on your hands, and fold the dough into a smooth ball. Let it rest on the work surface for 5 minutes and then stretch and fold the dough into a tight ball. Repeat this again, two more times, at 5 minute intervals. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and immediately place in the refrigerator. The dough can be used anywhere from 6 hours to three days after it goes in the fridge.

-- (Note: the following steps are the same as for the Country Pizza Dough:) When ready to make the pizzas, pull the dough from the refrigerator two hours prior to when you plan to bake. Divide the dough into five 8-ounce pieces (if there is any extra dough divide it evenly among the dough balls). With either oil or flour on your hands, form each piece into a tight dough ball and place on a lightly oiled pan. Mist the dough balls with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or place the pan inside a large plastic bag. Give the dough at least 90 minutes before making the pizzas. If you don’t plan to use them all, place the extra dough balls inside of an oiled freezer bag and keep in the refrigerator (for up to three days) or in the freezer (for up to three months).

--If using a pizza stone in your home oven, preheat the oven to the highest setting one hour before you plan to make the pizzas. If using a wood-fired oven, you know what to do for your particular oven. If you do not have a baking stone you can bake the pizzas on a sheet pan.

--Top with your favorite toppings--this dough can be stretched thin (12-13 inches) for Roman-style pizzas, or 10-11-inches for Naples-style.

 

Country Pizza Dough

(Makes five 8-ounce pizzas)

This is one of the doughs we used at The Fire Within Conference in Boulder, in October, 2010, featured in a number of our instructional videos. The conference was attended by owners of the fabulous mobile pizza rigs you will see in the video, created by Joseph Pergolizzi and his team of craftsmen. There are now more than 100 of these rigs in operation throughout the USA and Canada, and we had 20 of the owners at the conference, where I got to offer a few classes on dough options, and where we also put on a big pizza party for about 200 Boulderites, right on the farm where we held the conference. We made 175 pizzas in an hour an half, in four of the rigs, each manned by a team of oven owners who do this kind of thing for a living in one of the most exciting trends in the world of artisan foods (look for one of these rigs at a farmers market near you, or contact Joseph if you want to get into the game).

I call this a country pizza dough to contrast it with a classical white dough, which is made with white flour only. This one has 25% whole wheat flour which, while not making a true whole grain dough, does give it a country, as opposed to city, feel--providing some nice earth tones as well as a more wheat-like flavor. The key is to make it wet enough so that it really pops in the oven, like the one in the video.

4 cups (18 ounces by weight) unbleached bread flour

1 1/4 cups (6 ounces) whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons (0.5 oz.) kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons (0.18 oz.) instant yeast (or 2 teaspoons active dry yeast dissolved in the water)

2 tablespoons (1 oz.) olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons (1 oz.) honey

2 cups plus 2 tablesoons (17 oz.) room temperature water

--You can mix this by hand with a big spoon or in an electric mixer using the paddle (not the dough hook).

--Combine all the ingredients in the bowl and mix for one minute, to form a coarse, sticky dough ball.

--Let the dough rest for five minutes, then mix again for one minute to make a smooth, very tacky ball of dough.

--Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, rub a little oil on your hands, and fold the dough into a smooth ball. Place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and immediately place in the refrigerator. The dough can be used anywhere from 6 hours to three days after it goes in the fridge.

--When ready to make pizzas, pull the dough two hours prior to when you plan to bake. Divide the dough into five 8-ounce pieces (if there is any extra dough divide it evenly among the dough balls). Form each piece into a tight dough ball and place on a lightly oiled pan. Mist the dough balls with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap, or place the pan inside a large plastic bag. Give the dough balls at least 90 minutes to wake up at room temperature (less on a hot day, longer on a cold day) before making the pizzas. If you don’t plan to use them all, place the extra dough balls inside of an oiled freezer bag and keep hem in the refrigerator (for up to three days) or in the freezer (for up to three months).

--If using a pizza stone in your home oven, preheat the oven to the highest setting one hour before you plan to make the pizzas. If you do not have a baking stone you can bake the pizzas on a sheet pan. If using a wood-fired oven, you know what to do for your particular oven.

 

Sprouted Grain, Gluten-Free Dough

You will need to order sprouted flour from either Lindley Mills or To Your Health. In either case, call them because I don't know what their latest policies are about fulfilling small orders, but they have both been pretty good about helping people get acquainted with their products.  For Lindley Mills call (336) 376-6190  or write to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   For To Your Health, call (877) 401-6837  or check out their website at www.organicsproutedflour.net  In either instance, please tell them that you heard about it from me so they know you're legit.

Lindley Mills has an "Ancient Grain" blend that uses quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and sorghum flour.  To Your Health has a number of individual flours, including sprouted bean flours, that you can blend yourself, so ask them about their selection.  In my experience, nearly any combination will work, but as you play with these flours you'll decide for yourself which ones you like best.  You will also need xanthan gum to hold the dough together, and you should now be able to get this at any natural foods market. You will also need cake or pie pans (disposable aluminum pans are okay).

For your first batch, make a small one, maybe half of the recipe below, to see how you like it, and then play with the combinations after that and increase this recipe to any size you prefer.  The recipe below will make about 4 to 5 pizzas, depending on the size of the pans you use. Here's how to do it:

--16 ounces of your favorite blend of sprouted gluten free flour

--0.25 ounces salt (1 teaspoon)

--1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

--1 teaspoon xanthan gum

--24 ounces of water, room temp.

Use the paddle if mixing in a machine, or a whisk if mixing by hand. Add all the dry ingredients together and stir to distribute. Add all the water and mix or whisk long enough to make a smooth, pasty batter, about 1 or 2 minutes. Leave the batter in the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it ferment at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until it starts to bubble. (Note: if you don't plan to use it till the next day, you can put the bowl in the refrigerator after just 20 minutes of fermentation to chill it down. It will be good for up to three days if kept chilled).

To bake the dough, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. or 177 degrees C.  Oil a pie or cake pan with olive oil and pour in enough of the batter to cover the bottom of the pan, to a depth of just under 1/4 of an inch. Roll the pan around in your hands to spread the batter.  Bake the pan of dough for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the dough sets up like a pancake. It should be fully baked, begin turning brown, but not crisp (this happens on the re-bake).  You can actually use it as a pancake at this point, and cover it with maple syrup,  but that's a whole different application.

When the dough cools, use a plastic spatula to get under it to make sure it will release from the pan. For an extra crisp pizza you can bake this, with pizza toppings, directly on the oven rack. Or, you can leave it in the pan for the re-bake.  Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F./ 232 degrees C. and top the dough as you would any pizza. Bake for about 7 to 9 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the toppings are done. The crust should get crispy around the edges and underneath. Enjoy!!!

 

 

Comments 

 
#1 James Rodriguez 2012-07-13 19:58
tried your dough recipe, I had misplaced my stone for the oven, but still turned out fairly well without, but when I found the stone the dough then expired, still experimenting. just wanted to say thanks cause I am a pizza lover and you just put me one step closer to making an awesome pizza, I will be buying one of your books, still waiting on which one.
thanks,

James
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#2 Jon Levin 2012-07-27 06:06
Hello Peter,

I have started to keep a dough sponge, why is it that none of the recipes are for using a sponge starter rather than instant, active or fresh yeast?

I've found that the taste is very different using a sponge, far less "yeasty". Typically, I would use the equivalent of one pkg per cup of water and 2-2 1/2 cups of flour. Now I use two 3 oz spoons of the sponge starter and add water, flour, salt, and oil. Using the sponge I use approximately 3 cups of flour.

I'd like to see more recipes using the old tradition of a sponge. I'm pretty sure that Tony at Pizza Una Napoletana in SF is using a sponge. He does make the best "italian" type pizza (nothing like the New Haven Pepe's, Sally's nor the Spot).

Thank you,

Jon
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#3 Maureen Lyon 2012-07-27 13:54
We just finished our outdoor pizza oven. I've used your pizza dough recipe from BB Apprentice for years. Do you think it will work in the wood fired oven?
Thank you,
Maureen
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#4 Mike Dazio 2012-08-13 06:43
What temperature should the water be for the yeast?
mike
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