I’m a sucker for great pizza! So many different combinations of toppings and sauces, whether it’s steak and mushroom with BBQ sauce or a vegetarian pizza with passata. Endless possibilities. Yet my tried and tested pizza dough recipe has remained the same … could that be improved?
Yep, it could. And it has been. I tried one of Ken Forkish’s pizza dough recipes, this has upped the quality for our homemade pizzas. It’s easy to manipulate, not too thin and perfect elasticity. The pizza has more texture and flavour, is slightly chewy with just the right level of crispness. And it’s just as simple to make as ever …
New And Improved Pizza Dough Recipe
|6-24 hours prep (mostly unattended)
4-9 mins cooking
|2-5 dough balls|
The method below is based on a recipe in The Elements of Pizza by Ken Forkish. I highly recommend this book, it’s a great insight into how to bake awesome pizza. Ken already owned and operated a successful pizzeria and bakery when he visited Italy to discover the secrets of making great pizza. The book covers his journey, and how he changed his pizza dough making methods for the better.
What I present here is a method that works in our ovens whilst staying true to Ken’s approach, long fermentation time for great pizza. For a pizza dough recipe that can be made after work for evening dinner, check out the dough recipe in this blog post.
- Kitchen scales
- Large mixing bowl
- Dough scraper
- Measuring jug and spoons
- Large deep casserole dish
- Dinner plates
- 500g ’00’ flour plus more for dusting
- 375ml warm water (275ml cold/100ml boiling)
- 2 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp dried yeast
- 1 tsp olive oil
I’ve made this recipe using standard flour, 250g strong white bread flour and 250g plain flour. It’s good, however there is a noticeable improvement when using ’00’ flour.
The recipe described below makes enough dough for 2 large (14 inch), 3 medium (10 inch) or 5 small (8 inch) pizzas. The pizza dough can be made in the evening for pizza the next day, or during the afternoon for an evening meal.
Making the Dough
- Add the warm water to a mixing bowl, then the salt. Whisk the water to dissolve the salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water, leave for 1 min to hydrate, then whisk again.
- Add the flour to the mixing bowl, combine it with the liquid using a wet dough scraper. Wet your hands and dig down under the dough, folding it back onto itself four or five times. Gently squeeze the dough all over, then stretch and fold it onto itself six to eight times, re-wetting your hands if necessary. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 20 mins.
- Lightly oil a casserole dish. Dust a worksurface with flour and gently turn the dough out of the bowl onto it. Stretch and knead the dough for 30 seconds, or until it starts to resist. Add a little more flour if the dough starts to stick. Form into a single dough ball, and place seam side down in the casserole dish. Cover the dish with clingfilm and rest it for 2 hours.
- Dust a worksurface with flour, turn the risen dough onto it. Divide the dough evenly into the portion sizes needed. For each portion, stretch and fold the dough back onto itself 4-5 times (without tearing the dough), then form a dough ball.
- Place each dough ball seam side down on an individual, floured large plate, sprinkling some flour on top of the ball. Loosely cover with cling film.
- For baking the same day, leave the dough until it has trebled in size, 3-4 hours depending on room temperature.
- For baking over the next couple of days, place the plates in the fridge. Take the plates out an hour before the pizzas are due to be made (longer if your kitchen is cold).
Shaping the Pizza Base
Flour a worksurface and shape your pizza base. The method is a personal choice, the video clips below show a few methods of pizza base shaping:
- tossing in the air
- pushing down with your fingers … this is my preferred method
- using a rolling-pin … perfect for thin crust
The YouTube clip below shows Ken Forkish shaping his dough into a pizza base:
Baking the Pizza
I bake our pizzas in a Big Green Egg, please look at this detailed blog post for further information. If you’re baking in an oven, preheat the oven and pizza stone to as hot as your stone can handle and bake until the crust is golden.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- Shaping pizza dough takes a bit of practice, if you find it’s not shaping well and the dough starts to resist/tear, rest the dough for 15 minutes and try again.
- The dough balls can be frozen after letting the pizza dough rise on the plates. Take them out of the freezer in the morning for use in the evening.
- Make sure the plate is big enough, the pizza dough will expand a lot during the second rise. The pictures below are at the start of the second fermentation and after three hours, just before shaping the pizza base.
- It’s important, especially on a warm day, to not let the dough go beyond trebling in size. Leaving it any longer than this can cause the dough to collapse.