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Apr 24, 2014 11:04 AM

Does NY pizza dough need olive oil?

I've got a big batch of NY-style dough cold fermenting in the fridge for a party this weekend, but I just realized I forget to put in the olive oil. It isn't much, about 6 tbsp oil to 9 cups flour.

FYI I am using this Serious Eats recipe, doubled: and it has turned out well in the past. Will it work without olive oil or should I toss the dough and mix up a new batch?


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  1. You might consider making a mini pizza to test this dough. Recipes for classic Napoletana pizza dough doesn't call for oil. Although, Peter Reinhart, in his book American Pie, points out that if you use bread flour you will end up with a tough, chewy crust because the oil tenderized the dough. In this recipe he calls for 00 or all-purpose flour.

    1. Mix the oil in with some flour to make a paste and then knead that mixture into the already fermenting dough.

      Pizza dough w/o oil is very hard to chew.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Kelli2006

        I only VERY rarely put oil in my pizza dough - it isn't hard to chew at all - ?

        1. re: Kelli2006

          I don't have that problem with leaving out the oil. I find if it proofs enough beforehand, it's easy to stretch and has a lot of airpockets throughout. The low and slow proof in the fridge really does make a difference.

          That said, I recently started to add flavored olive oil to my dough, usually a tablespoon or so. I haven't noticed any difference in texture, but it sure adds to the flavor!

        2. Personally I wouldn't worry about it.
          IMO, flavorwise it will be better having gone through the slow rise without it..

          However, if I was determined to incorporate it into the batch, I'd have no problem doing a couple of (gentle) "stretch and folds" to work it in when you're ready to do the "2 hr countertop - form into balls" phase. - Like you said, it's really not that much. Kelli's paste idea would work, but I wouldn't bother for what amounts to 1 TBS per ball.

          Actually, now that I think of it, might be a good time for an experiment - add oil to only some of the batch and see which pies you like better.

          1. Depends on how you define 'need.'

            Most NY style pizza dough uses oil, so if you're going for 'authenticity,' you could make an argument in favor of oil as a must.

            OTOH, the dough will still work without oil. Since you already made the batch of dough, I think you'll probably do more harm to it texture-wise by reworking it to add in oil than you will by just making it as is. I certainly wouldn't throw it out if you didn't mess it up otherwise.

            Oil has a somewhat subtle effect on the softness and density of the finished crust (it tends to make it softer and more dense, and also tends to make it hold a bit better if you don't eat it right out of the oven). To get an idea of what I mean, Papa Johns pizza crust uses a lot of oil (along with a good amount of sugar) - it creates that kind of effect. Neapolitan style pizza and many wood- or coal-fired oven pizza doughs use no oil at all (but use a very hot oven to ensure that the crust springs up dramatically and is very light).

            TL/DR: just use the dough as is, and eat the pizza fresh out of the oven. It will be fine.

            1. Thanks for the replies, all. By the time I had a chance to go look at the dough, it had risen quite a lot so I didn't want to squeeze out too much gas by folding the oil into it. I'll just leave it be and see how it turns out, might be a good experiment since I've made the oil-containing recipe before.

              2 Replies