Apr 02 2013

Simple and Easy No Knead Pizza Dough

..it's easier than you think!

Basic pizza with mozzarella, ham, and fresh tomatoes.

Mmmm. Pizza.

I love pizza, and have very high standards. So when I decided I wanted to put together a ‘regular home pizza dough’ recipe, it had a lot of requirements to fulfill. It had to taste amazingly yummy, be flexible enough to used with any toppings in any pizza-like application, be refrigerator stable for days at any point in the recipe (sponge or dough), and easy/simple to throw together…a lot to ask from one recipe.

I think, after much tweaking, I finally have a recipe that fits the bill. It is “simple and easy” because it’s no knead, and really only requires a couple of minutes mixing at two points in time that can be done hours and hours (up to 24!) apart. All done by hand, in one bowl, no mess to make. And once the dough is put together, it is fine in the fridge for another few days before needing to be baked. Gotta love that.

I’ll have another entry actually about pizza toppings – but for now, just a note. Anything goes for toppings. Pizza can be something I’ll just throw together for dinner to use up leftovers, or something extremely extravagant and luxurious I’ll plan an event around. What goes on your pizza is really only as limited as your imagination, and once I let mine go wild, I definitely came up with some doozies. One disaster I’ll share so you don’t try it yourself – homemade, fried chicken nugget pizza with ranch dressing. It sounded much better than it tasted!

Simple and Easy No Knead Pizza Dough

Sponge:

Mix this up at least 4 hours before beginning the dough, and as many as 2 days before, store, loosely covered, at room temperature until using. 00 Flour is preferred, AP flour is acceptable, bread flour only works if you’re going to make this a pan, thicker crust pizza.

1/4 cup water
1/2 cup flour
sprinkle of (instant or active) yeast

Dough:

1 tsp yeast
all of the sponge
1/2 – 3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup flour
salt

You’re looking for a pretty wet dough, not sticky, but definitely wet. I use what’s probably somewhere around 5/8ths of a cup most of the time.

Now here’s the weird part with this recipe. DO NOT KNEAD. Really. Don’t knead the dough at all. Really. Mix it until it looks mostly together, then you’re done. Coat your container and hands very well with olive oil, and plop the dough in. Cover. This dough will not pass the window pane test, and you don’t want it to – you do not want gluten development.

The dough will need to rest for 45 minutes before being shaped. If you’re going to use it within 2 hours, leave it on the counter. If not, put it in the refrigerator, remove about an hour before shaping. It can stay in the fridge for 3 days or so with no problems, and will most likely be usable after a week, but that’s pushing it (I’ve done it once or twice, don’t really recommend it).

When you’re ready to bake, cover your hands and counter with olive oil, and gently stretch the dough into shape. It will be very, very pliable – remember, you didn’t knead, so there is very little gluten development – so be careful.

This dough will make a very typical New York style thin-crust pizza, if you ever wanted to know how to get paper-thin dough, this is how. I personally like to pack on toppings too much for paper thin pizza, so I have to be very careful at this stage not to get the dough too thin…once stretched, it’s stretched, and if torn, it will be far too oily to come back together.

Now you can either top and bake the pizza right away, or let it rise for 45 minutes or so for a thicker crust pizza. I let the dough rise longer if I’m using heavier toppings, and bake right away if I’m doing a basic cheese pizza.

When you’re ready – add your desired toppings and bake at 500 (450’s ok if you’re not comfortable with your oven at 500) for 10-15 minutes, on a baking stone if you have. Let cool for a few minutes after removing from the oven (no burning your mouth with hot cheese), then enjoy!!

Same dough – stuffed veggie pizza!

 

 

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