Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pizza dough, revised

With the death of my trusty Kenwood mixer, well not death but I need to order a couple of capacitors and get out the trusty soldering iron, I’ve had to revisit my trusty pizza dough recipe, I used to make a pretty standard 60% hydration dough but recently have been experimenting with the water content of the dough and have found nudging up the liquid content to 80% and adding about 5% fat, in the form of olive oil, has drastically improved my crust. I mentioned earlier, the trusty mixer is dead, and quite frankly I’ve become pretty lazy when it comes to kneading dough, I rely pretty heavily on it, and hey I broke a bone in my wrist so kneading is not that pleasant at the moment, excuses excuses, anyway this is my no knead method that doesn’t take 24+ hours but does involve a little more labour than mix and forget. It will require a good 3-4 hours of your time, but probably no more than 10 minutes of attention, the initial mixing, and then hourly folding, and by the end of it you should have a wonderful light puffy dough.

500 g flour
400 g warm water
25 ml Olive oil
5 g salt
2 g yeast
2 g sugar/honey

Stir together the water, sugar and yeast, let it sit until the yeast has bloomed and you have nice frothy mixture.

Mix together the salt and olive oil, make a well and pour in the yeast-water along with the oil. Set aside for 30-45 minutes, this will give the gluten a chance to hydrate.

After the dough has rested, and risen, probably about doubled, use a spatula to bring one edge up to the centre, rotate the bowl 90° and repeat until all four ‘sides’ have been folded over 3 or 4 times, let the dough rest for another hour and repeat. This is a long fermenting dough and the folding will be repeated 3 more times, about 4 hours rising time in total.

Pick off a lump of dough, roll thin, trying to use as little extra flour as possible, and cook in a very hot oven (250-300°C) on a pizza stone that has been preheating for 40-60 minutes until blistered and golden.


  1. One thing I am not is much of a baker, although I have recently decided to develop my skills in this area. I am very fortunate to have access to an excellent wood fired bread oven, but I want to do some baking at home, so I am going to use my home oven. My question is this. Have you tried using the method where you put a hotel pan with stones and the like at the bottom of the oven and then once heated you pour water on it to generate steam without altering the temperature of the oven too much and hence get a good crust? I've read about it, but haven't gotten there yet, any thoughts?

    Also do you find the no kneading technique noticeably worse (or better) than kneading techniques?

    1. I've heard of the method, but I don't know if a domestic oven would have the grunt to maintain a decent temp once the water was added to the stones, it would be interesting to try. I can see the benefits of adding a large thermal mass to the oven, but just imagine how long you'd have to preheat to make it worth while, and you'd have to have some major trust in your stones that when you add water they wont go 'bang'. Another way instead of pouring water in (with or without stones) is to use a spray bottle, and give a few bursts on fine mist when adding the bread.

      I guess it's a bit of a misnomer calling this method no-knead as the protein is being worked when it's being folded and by the end of the 3rd-4th folding the dough becomes quite smooth and elastic.

      But as for No-knead vs Kneaded, I guess it's what kind of bread you're after, I wouldn't call one better than the other, just different.

  2. Here's a great no-knead, no yeast, pizza base:
    1¾ cup (245g) plain flour (or do 200g flour & 50g semolina flour)
    1 tspn baking powder
    1 tspn salt
    2/3rd cup milk
    ¼ cup oil

    Mix together, knead for a couple of minutes if desired. Makes 2 thin bases. .