This basic no-knead pizza dough recipe is very similar to our no-knead bread dough recipe, but it uses a different type of flour and the dough prep is different, so we thought it deserved its own post.
When baking pizza in a wood fired oven, I prefer to use either all purpose flour (We like King Arthur – KAAP) or 00 (Caputo is a popular brand), because bread flour tends to burn in the high heat. Typically we bake most of the pizza we make in the wood fired oven for 2 – 3 minutes, tops. The exception to that rule is Neapolitan style pizza, which times are sub 60 – 120 seconds, but we will get into faster bake times with Neapolitan & Neapolitan style in later posts. However, using the dough recipe below, you will be able to bake at Neo times and temperatures, which are 800 degrees and up.
Here is the basic recipe – with detailed instructions for after the initial fermentation below it.
- 3 cups all purpose
- 1 3/4 cups of cool water
- 1/3 cup sourdough starter ( or 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast)
- 1 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- Measure out 3 level cups of flour and put them in the plastic or glass bowl.
- Measure out 1 cup of cool tap water and put it in the second bowl. Refill the measuring cup to about 1/2-3/4 cup of cool water and set it aside.
- Measure out 1/3 cup starter (or 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast) and pour it into the water. Important: this is what ferments your dough. At normal room temperature 1/3 cup is good for our fermentation time. But, if it's cooler or warmer, you will have to adjust the starter amount accordingly...warm=less cool=more. In general though I've been using 1/3 cup and it's good. If you are using dry yeast instead of starter, add that to the water
- Take the measuring cup with the remaining water, and use it to rinse the 1/3 starter cup, then pour it into the bowl. You want all of that startery goodness in your dough.
- Add the kosher salt.
- Take your fork and whisk all the wet ingredients together until starter (or yeast) is dissolved and the top is frothy.
- Pour your wet mix into the flour.
- Use a butter knife to mix the dough until it is well hydrated and the gluten starts developing. You'll know it's right when the dough starts sticking to the sides of the bowl. Timing wise, I'd guess around 5 minutes, but as Mom would say, "I'm not sure, I mix until it looks right."
- Once you get the right consistency, cover the bowl tightly with cling wrap or press and seal so no air gets in - this prevents a hard skin from developing over the surface of your dough.
- Store the covered dough in a cool place for at least 12-14 hours or until it has doubled. The initial ferment time will vary batch to batch because of variables in the tempurature. Keep an eye on how things look as the dough ferments!
Ok so you’ve got your dough made and risen – now to prep it for making pizza…
After the initial fermentation (about 12 hours or so) turn your dough out of the bowl and onto a floured surface. Stretch and fold the dough a few times as shown (more detailed instructions on the stretch and fold are in the easy no knead bread recipe,) until the dough is firm enough to cut.
Then divide the mass into individual balls weighing 9.75 oz. You should get 3 of them with this recipe as is. Each dough ball will press out into about a 10″-12″ diameter pizza crust depending on the thickness. Adjust your dough ball weight if you desire a larger or smaller size pizza.
Once you have weighed out the dough ball, cover lightly with flour and start rolling the bottom edges into the middle of the ball. Continue rolling inwards while rotating the ball in your hand, which helps maintain the round shape. If this proves difficult, simply shape the ball like we outlined in the easy bread post – by making small stretch & folds to the center, then flip over and round the ball by forming it with your hands.
Now that you have your dough balls formed, lightly flour your tray or dough box, then place the dough balls inside with several inches between them. When the dough relaxes it tends to spread and will stick, so don’t crowd a bunch of them together. You’ll want to cover them loosely so they don’t dry out while rising.
If a you have a disaster and your dough ball looks like the melting guy in the Raiders of the lost ark, don’t freak out and throw the mess in the trash. Just reball it with a little more bench flour and let it relax again. I usually like to wait about two hours before I start shaping pizza disks, but this will vary depending on how you made your dough and the room temperature. There have been times when I’ve had excellent results with 5 or more hour dough balls. It’s all about experimentation with your time and temperature as it relates to your ingredients…this can’t be stressed enough!
Once you’ve successfully removed a dough ball and it mostly retained its shape, place it in a small pile of flour and coat both sides. Remove it from the flour and place it on your prep surface. Start pressing around the edge of the ball which will form a rim which will eventually be the cornicione (crust). Now just start flattening out the dough by pressing from the middle out to the edges with the flat of your fingers while continually maintaining the outer edges. The shape of the pizza doesn’t have to be perfectly round to be tasty, but a round shape does help with the launch and rotation in the oven.
If the dough hasn’t relaxed enough and you don’t have your desired diameter, you can stretch the disk with your knuckles after draping it over both hands. Do this carefully, it’s easy to get thin spots. If you have a thin spot, pinch a bit of dough around it and fold it over the thin spot…but don’t create a new problem! Just a small pinch will do the job.
Once your dough is formed into a disk, flour your pizza peel and shake off any excess. Carefully transfer your dough onto the peel. Now you’re ready to make some pie – which is everybody’s favorite part.
Now that we’ve got some of the basics covered, we’ll be posting some of our favorite wood fired oven pizza recipes in the coming weeks! Got some favorite combinations of your own? Feel free to share your pizza recipes and photos of your creations over in our forum!
Don’t forget to enter our Blackstone 1575 Outdoor Oven Giveaway this month for your chance to win this awesome prize and be the envy of all your neighbors!