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perfect pizza dough~

I am looking for a everyday pizza dough that is both chewy and has those crunchy bubbles at the crown. it should have good flavor and can be baked up moderately thin to medium (i suppose super thin/ deep dish is another topic) I want to be able to make a rather sizable batch of 10-15 balls and keep them in the fridge and freezer (or share with sister). how do i store them? parbaked or in balls?

the ones i have made in the past are "ok" - they are more bready but not chewy and bubbly..

we generally get organic unbleached flour from arrowhead mills or the brand with the red barn. I have not tried KArthur or other fancy flours yet, as i use the same flour jar for baking cookies, quickbreads and pancakes etc..

we use a pizza stone and peel with the good o' polenta/cornmeal.

Thank you everyone!

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  1. The key to chewy and bubbly pizza crust has less to do with the composition of your pizza dough and more to do with the prepping of the dough and the baking process -- or, more specifically, the temperature of your oven.

    1. Never, ever roll your pizza dough. Always stretch and always allow sufficient resting time.

    2. Get your oven hot, really really hot. Some people even bake pizza on the "clean" cycle in their ovens -- not recommended, but you get the idea. And, yes, pizza stone for home pies are critical.

    *Side note: to add that extra "chew" to your crust add some semolina flour to your dough.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      any dough fomulas? do you think the dough will survive in the freezer?

      1. re: jeniyo

        I like this one http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...

        Yes, you can freeze pizza dough. See Step No. 3 in the above link.

        Good luck and enjoy.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          If you like this recipe, I highly recommend checking out Reinhart's other pizza dough recipes in Crust and Crumb.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            I am excited about trying this dough, thanks for the link. I tried Jim Lahey's No Knead pizza dough, but found it very difficult to work with. Hopefully this one is a bit more forgiving.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              This sounds like a perfect recipe. It tells me how to do everything living breathing thing - which I need being dough-phobic.

        2. Pour 236 grams of warm water (90 – 95 degrees) into a bowl. Add ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp granulated sugar, and 2 Tbsp active dry yeast. Stir to combine and let stand five minutes.
          Place 120 grams of bread flour (subst. AP flour) in large bowl. Create a well in center of the flour, pour in the yeast mixture until well blended. Allow rest for ten minutes.
          Add 300 grams of flour and 114 grams of Olive Oil and mix until dough forms a ball. Add a VERY small amount of flour or water as necessary to achieve a smooth dough ball. It’s alright if it’s slightly tacky, but it shouldn’t be sticky.
          Knead the ball of dough, folding it back toward you (to double its thickness) with each kneading. Knead for 1 – 2 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise 30 – 45 minutes or until double or almost double in bulk.
          Remove the dough from the bowl and gently de-gas with fingertips. Return to oiled bowl, set aside and allow to rise another 60 – 90 minutes.
          At this point you can de-gas one more time or proceed with preparing the pizza crust. If you elect to degras and set aside for this one additional period, allow to rest for about one hour before beginning processing the crust.
          Place the dough on lightly floured counter top and press flat with your hands. Try to flatten as much as possible into an even semi-round mass.
          At this point you can either roll the dough out or, my preference, stretch it gradually, moving incrementally around the flattened dough and working from the center toward the outer edges to shape the pizza crust. Try to maintain an even thickness and if the dough resists stretching, take a five minutes break and come back to it after it’s had a chance to relax.
          If you want a light high crust, bake as is. It you want a heavier center, dock the dough with a fork or docking tool prior to baking.
          Sprinkle your peel with a little corn meal, semolina, bread crumbs, etc. and place the dough onto peel, prepare your oven and bake. You can bake with toppings in place or, as an alternative, partially bake and add toppings about midway through the baking time before returning to the oven to finish the pizza.
          You can freeze this dough, if it's tightly wrapped in a quality freezer wrap, for several days.
          I bake at 500 degrees on a baking stone but you can use your own judgement based upon the oven you're using.

            1. re: alanbarnes

              Isn't he amazing!? I discovered this website recently as well and it made me completely obsessed with everything pizza. My only problem is that I am really very interested in a healthier soaked whole wheat sourdough crust that we can feel better about consuming on a regular basis.

            2. I'm no expert, but I've seen in various places that an extended rise in the refrigerator (for several days) results in more complex fermentation by products and a crust with more "character."

              1. I use Jim Lahey's No Knead pizza dough and I bake it on a hot (pre-heated for an hour) pizza stone with my oven cranked to the max. I turn the top (broil) burner on right after I slide the pizza on the stone. The hot stone cooks the dough from below and the broiler cooks the toppings from above.

                Alternatively, I use a pizza stone on a BBQ grill ( a Weber Q120 to be exact) - cook it there for a few minutes - then I broil the top in my oven to finish.

                A short note on the Lahey dough - it is very hydrated and could get tricky to work with if you ferment it too long ("too long" depends mostly on ambient room temperature). I suggest you "retard" the dough by sticking it in the fridge after an 8-12 hr ferment at room temp. You'll have more control of the dough's final workability this way....you can leave it in the fridge for a couple of days or more (2.5 days seems to be optimal for me...YMMV). It took me a few tries to get a decent slice.

                Store a few of your doughballs in the fridge unbaked and in little tupperwares - the flavour improves over a few days. It starts to get too sticky to handle after about a week. Freeze the rest.

                Another note on toppings....be very sparse with toppings...specially the sauce and any "wet" ingredients (eg use olives in oil instead of brine).

                One more note...I now use a sourdough starter instead of yeast. The flavour and texture have improved dramatically.

                2 Replies
                1. re: fmed

                  A couple more shots and a link to Lahey's dough recipe

                  1. re: fmed

                    The man behind the Sullivan Street Bakery; best bread I've ever had. And the Pizza Bianca with pecorino... wow.

                2. thanks guys for your input. i can't wait to try these methods!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: jeniyo

                    You are welcome jeniyo.

                    The one thing I would like to stress - if you want "pizza dough that is both chewy and has those crunchy bubbles at the crown" then the dough has to be wet. "Hydration" is the baker's term - Google it for more info. Pizza dough if very often at least 70% hydration...Lahey's sits around 80-90% (depending on how you convert the volume measures). Stiffer doughs will bake more bread-like.

                    1. re: fmed

                      I agree with the "wet dough" but to say it's "very often at least 70% hydration" isn't accurate. Dough is wet at 63% and anything much more than that can get very hard to handle. Most pizzerias dough doesn't even approach the 63%.

                      1. re: grampart

                        I agree with everything you are saying. I haven't had good results below 70% in my home oven, however (I'm aiming for Neapolitan-style - a bit of a Quixotic quest in a home kitchen). The Lahey dough is very often hard to handle.

                        I urge the OP to experiment with various hydration levels. (The well tested Varasano dough is at 65%, for example).

                        Edit: just re-checked the Varasano recipe...assuming he is using a 100% hydration sourdough starter, then the dough is closer to 68% Hydration.


                        1. re: fmed

                          What method of dough rise do you use? I use a low yeast, 63% dough, with a refrigerated 3-4 day rise and have been so pleased with the results that I haven't changed my recipe in over 2 years.

                          1. re: grampart

                            (It is in my post upthread).

                            I use only sourdough starter as my leavening these days - an 8 (or more) hr ferment at room temp, then a retarded ferment in the fridge for 2.5 days. Then I take it out and let it come up to room temp for 1-1.5 hrs. I shape, top, then bake.

                            1. re: fmed

                              I'm looking for a recipe using a sourdough starter, would you share yours?

                              1. re: pizzalovers

                                This is the most foolproof method I have used (I use organic Rye flour to start it off)

                  2. The only pizza dough recipe I ever use is actually Marcella Hazan's focaccia dough from the Essentials of Italian Cooking. Something about the amount of oil and salt make it perfectly chewy, thoroughly flavorful. To protect your crust from damp toppings, make sure to brush your tossed round (or square or wobble) with olive oil before you put on any sauce. This dough also freezes well--I wrap individual pizza-size balls in Saran, then plop them in a freezer bag, and in they go. A day's refrigerator defrost is the best way to resuscitate them.

                    1. 500 gms oo flour, 20 gms salt, 3 gms yeast, 325 ml ICE COLD water...... knead with dough hook 2 min on low, 5 min on high, 2 min on low..... form ball, refrigerate overnight or for 6-8 hrs... room temp for 1 hr... form into 3 balls and rest for 1 hour.... stretch and bake at highest temp oven can reach

                      1. I pride myself in my crazy elaborate homemade pizzas. A few key things:

                        1. Using some "00" Italian flour (usually available at Italian markets. Don't use 100% though, I often mix 50/50 with American baking flour. All "00" is too thin and hard to work with.
                        2. slow fermentation. Ball the dough and shove it in the fridge for 2-3 days, then take it out 2 hours or so before baking.
                        3. Very very hot oven. Stones on a gas range work okay, with a hefty outside gas BBQ and an hour you can get the temp over 800.

                        Then really good ingredients on top. Anything that goes with bread (and cheese) can be made into a great pizza.

                        Andy Gavin http://andy-gavin-eats.com

                        1. The one I'm thinking of isn't what you're looking for as it's a tender dough. I'll check at home to see the recipe for the one I use from an Italian cookbook at home.

                          I recently had a pizza at Settabello in Salt Lake City Utah.
                          Sat at the pizza bar so I could be only inches from where my pie was being made, wanted to take a sneak peek at how they did theirs.
                          Was told that they used only double zero semolina flour and pointed to the plethera of bags lined up against the wall, all imported from Italy. Well that's out I thought, sheesh, not like that's doable.
                          They had it all done in rolls and covered then taken out from under a towel as I recall so each one as it was ordered. So tender, much like Pizzaria Bianco in Phoenix.

                          Depending on my mood, I like a very tender crust like the ones I mentioned above, but I love a good chewy one as well. I'll have to read further.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: iL Divo

                            I don't think imported 00 semolina flour is all that difficult to find, is it? If so, here's just one Amazon link:


                            1. re: c oliver

                              Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica carries it.

                            2. re: iL Divo

                              I agree!! Settabello's in Salt Lake City has wonderful pizza!!!

                            3. Lots of good info here... I do a combination of the following:
                              1. Use sourdough starter. I make pizza about once a week, perfect to feed the starter (my lives in the fridge in between).
                              2. Dough needs to be on the wet side... soft and almost sticky. I use 12 oz flour, 8 oz water, and 6 oz of starter. I have increased the ratio of the starter from my standard 3:2:1 ratio since I usually don't make the dough until ~noon. This makes 2 balls, one for dinner, one goes in the fridge for later in the week.
                              3. Hot oven (I use 475) with a stone. Really nice: use a convection oven. The top cooks much faster.
                              4. I use a combination of AP and white whole wheat.
                              Just keep at it. Nothing like doing something on a regular basis to get good at it...