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Jan 20, 2005 08:18 PM

Pizza Dough 101

  • k

After months of procrastinating I have finally decided to take on making my own pizza dough. I have Lidia Bastianich's recipe which
calls for two risings, the last can take from 12 to 24 hours.

My question is, can I get away with making the dough the morning I want to make the pizza or would I be better off making the dough the day before? If I do make it the day before can I let the dough sit in the fridge for a little more than 24 hours? Also if you have what you feel is a better recipe please feel free to let me know. I've never worked with dough before and I'm pretty intimidated by the whole process. (thus the procrastination)

Thanks For Your Help

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  1. The reason for allowing the dough to retard overnight is to allow the bacteria to develop and provide a deeper flavor. The flavor of bread dough is both a function of the yeast and the lacto-bacteria. Given time the little devils provide a bit of extra flavor.

    But if you want to make it early in the day and use it that night, no problem. Just don't punch it down until you are nearer the time you want to use it. And make sure that it doesn't get too warm. Using the fridge or a cool spot would be ideal. but remember to get it back to working temperature at least 2 hours before you will need to bake the pizza.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Food Tyrant

      Good advice...

      And if you are feeling a little less ambitious than a 2 rising dough, I make mine in the bread machine, wrap it in Saran, throw it in the back of the fridge until I need it, then I pull it out to rise. Works like a charm :-) And no kneading!

    2. If really good homemade pizza is your goal, this is the website to check out


      8 Replies
      1. re: thesteiner
        Professor Salt

        Don't know about that. If Shakey's and Pizza Hut is this guy's idea of good thin crust pizza, I'm kinda skeptical of his cred.

        From their thin crust pizza page:
        "For many years I have been trying to learn the secrets of making a good thin-crust pizza. I've had this type of pie at various pizza parlors such as Shakey's Pizza Restaurant, Pizza Inn, Pizza Hut, and the Village Inn Pizza Parlor. I have been told that this type of pizza is officially known as an "Original California-Style" pizza and is also found at such restaurants as Straw Hat and Round Table."

        1. re: Professor Salt

          So what exactly is your problem with this person's credibilty? Are you some kind of Food Police/Pizza snob or something? Instead of criticizing someone who is trying to improve on their cooking skills, why don't you tell us all about your superior experience and why you are so qualified to judge someone about what they think is good pizza crust even to the extent of doubting their credibility. Well let's here it Professor!!

          1. re: pcguy67

            Pizza Inn is the most wretched pizza ever given to life. Anyone who would admire it is disgusting.

            1. re: observor

              I don't necessarily think he was admiring it but rather talking about how he thinks their thin crust is crispy and worthy of consumption. Is it possible you are being a little to hard on him for this and that maybe you just had a bad experience with Pizza Inn and are going off of that single experience? What does wretched really mean anyway? Could you maybe describe what you think was so terrible about their pizza? I mean I do understand that they are not by any means Gourmet but I at least think they should get some respect for being able to open a chain of pretty highly successful stores. I don't think anyone is saying they are the best pizza but that does not mean that they can't create a great thin crust for their pies that someone would potentially want to create for themselves. Also calling someone disgusting seems pretty harsh and am not 100% convinced that you are not just coming on here to be negative and condesending to others. Try not to be such a troll to people and see if you can actually say things that are meaningful and helpful based on fact and reality versus some overly excited negative experience you had. In other words....cheer up and stop being a jerk!!

              1. re: observor

                According to the web site, he's talking about Pizza Inn 30 years ago, not Pizza Inn today. We had a Pizza Inn in town then and it was pretty good pizza back then. It sucks now, but it didn't always.

                Believe it or not, Olive Garden used to be a pretty good restaurant too. When they first started they made their pasta fresh, right up front where you could watch it being made.

                Now it's just expensive blah dumbed down Italian, but it used to be fairly good.

                1. re: ZenSojourner

                  I remember when Olive Garden was hugely popular, but I think it became corporate crap. Their salads are filled with the whitest lettice around.

                2. re: observor

                  How old are you, observor? Did you try Pizza Inn during it's hey-day in the 1960's? Do you read and research before you make posts? Are you always so short, and non-helpful with internet posts?

              2. re: Professor Salt

                Shakey's pizza back in the '60s was great. Around 1973-74 they were bought by a large corp. and after that it was crap. The current Shakey's are supposedly back to the original owners (or family) and are supposed to be good, but I've never eaten at one of them. I've never had Pizza Inn. Pizza Hut as far as I can remember back was never good, but I never ate at one of the original ones before they had started expanding nationwide, so it could be more of the same; originally good, go big and go crap.

            2. I'm a dough fool trying to learn, too.

              This link is very helpful...

              1. Just wanted to thank everyone for all your help and let you know how things turned out. I ended up following Lidia's recipe to the letter, I left it for the second rise in the fridge for 24 hours and brought it to room temp for about two hours before rolling it out and it was perfect!!! Just like the pizza crust I remember from Italy, thin, crisp yet still a little chewy. I can't wait to get in the kitchen again, I'm even thinking about buying a second stone and peel so my boyfiend and I can make our own and eat at the same time!!

                Thank's chowhounds for helping me conquer my fear of dough, I couldn't have done it without you!

                1. Most pizzarias use whats referred to as a retarded dough formulation. The dough has less yeast than you would expect and is allowed to undergo a long, cold fermentation in a cooler. This process allows flavors to develop, improves the texture/color of the finished crust and extends the shelf life of the dough. The dough is ready to use after 24 hours and can go up to 96 hours, which is important when you're trying to control waste in a restaurant.

                  This is the formula I use at home...

                  500 grams bread flour
                  300 grams water
                  1-2 grams instant dry yeast
                  10 grams salt
                  10 grams olive oil

                  I use cold tap water that's been run through a Brita filter, add the yeast then the flour and finally the salt. This is mixed on the Kitchenaid for about 2 minutes at "mix" speed with a dough hook, then the mixer is turned off and the oil is added. I let the dough rest for about 10-20 minutes before turning the mixer back on to "mix" and letting it run for about 3-5 minutes until the dough is smooth. The the dough is portioned (makes 2-3 dough balls depending on the size pizza you want and how thick of a crust), rolled in to balls which are coated with a little oil and placed in the refrigerator in loosely closed plastic bags (bread bags work well, twisted and folded under the dough ball) until I'm ready to use them in the next four days or so.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Coogles

                    We have pizza night every Friday - my husband makes a sourdough crust on Tuesday afternoon, and it sits in the fridge until early Friday afternoon, when he takes it out of the fridge to "rise" several hours before shaping it and baking. 3 days in the fridge is pretty much the maximum, though.

                    1. re: Krislady

                      Yeah, I should have put that in my post. The dough does need to sit out for a few hours and warm up to room temperature before shaping and baking. Otherwise you'll get large bubbles in the crust.