Country Pizza Dough

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 close to 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).

Country Pizza Dough

(Makes five 8-ounce pizzas)

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.




#1 Gary 2010-12-19 23:07
The country dough says "2 teaspoons active dry yeast (dissolved in water)". Is this water in addition to the 2 cups 2 teaspoons called for later in the recipe? If so, how much water should it be? I am guessing the yeast is just supposed to be added to the 2 cups 2 ounces, but want to be sure. Thank you!
#2 Austin H 2010-12-20 07:53
This is a really interesting pizza dough I think I am going to try out. One thing I find interesting is that you don't knead this dough at all--no attempt to get it to the traditional "window pane" stage. Why is this?
#3 Peter Reinhart 2010-12-20 12:41
Two great questions! Yes, add the yeast to the water in the recipe, not to any additional water. And, as for kneading, there is a little kneading involved, just enough to get the dough developed, but most of the gluten development will happen during the cold fermentation and when you form the dough balls. The overnight method, which I'm using more and more (ever since I wrote "Artisan Breads Everyday," which uses this technique exclusively), replaces the need for long kneading--just one of its many benefits!
#4 Austin H 2010-12-20 12:52
Hmm, thanks for the quick reply. I too, have been using the cold fermentation method with bread making, ever since I bought and read your American Pie book, which is by far my favorite cooking book.
I didn't realize that the overnight fermentation helped to that extent with the gluten formation. Great info. Thanks!
#5 Celina L 2010-12-20 17:48
Hi! Congratulations Peter - this new web page is so nice! And pizza is always a perfect theme! :) I made half of this dough - we made two "winter pizzas" with it: one with dried and smoked reindeer meat and herbs and another "dessert-kind" with pears, figs and blue cheese. The strong wheaty crust fit great in these flawors! Yum Yummy Yum! Thank you!
#6 arturo 2010-12-21 16:13
Nice!Thanks P.R. I made it subbing Spelt for the whole wheat. I came out really really good. Definitely will make that again!
#7 Phil Kowalski 2011-01-03 03:00
Thanks for the great recipe Peter. We had the family over on Sunday for a pizza party and used your country pizza dough recipe for the crust. My brother in law, who used to run a pizzaria, was amazed by the great flavor of the crust. I was amazed by how much every one ate! The party was held in Melbourne, Australia.
#8 susan Bliley 2011-01-14 12:48
If I were to substitute my stiff sourdough starter for the yeast how much would I use and what if anything would change in the procedure? Thank you!
#9 LeeYong 2011-01-15 18:12
I love the idea of using some whole wheat in pizza dough - glad to have found this one in my search. I have a question - I've noticed in your recipe - one calls for AP flour and another for bread flour. Can I use AP flour in place of the bread flou in this recipe? Thank you!
Happy baking to you Peter!
#10 Don Blehm 2011-01-20 15:47
After finishing my backyard wood-fired oven I met the mother of my Italian friend who spent most of her 85 years in Italy. She laughed at the "American" obsession with measuring instead of going by feel of the dough. I got lucky the first time and have never measured since. Guests insist it's the best pizza ever. Bowl of mostly unbleached white flour, about a fourth wheat flour, Couple spoons of dry yeast, squirt of honey, large glob of plain yogart,some salt and olive oil,warm water to "feel"(Hand kneading only). happy parties follow! Don Blehm

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