Pizza dough recipe
Pizza recipes and dough recipes are all over the internet and vary from baker to pizzaiolo but there are few things which crop up again and again in almost every post or video: sugar and yeast and olive oil in the dough.
Contrary to what you may see or hear, you don’t need sugar to get yeast going. Just dissolve it in warm water and add it to your flour. Flour has enough sugar in the carbohydrate to activate the yeast.
Pizza dough recipe- keep it cool
This goes for bread making as well. The dough will also taste better if retarded overnight or for a couple of nights in the fridge and then brought back to room temperature before you bake. The cooler the dough, the more it will ‘pop’ in the oven as the gas in the dough expands rapidly.
Olive oil is not traditionally added to a pizza dough. It is 00 flour, yeast, salt and water. Olive oil can be added in small quantities however and will make the dough a little softer It is added when topping the pizza before cooking, as a drizzle and will help to fuse the ingredients together.
As a well known pizzaiolo in the US quite rightly pointed out, pizza is NOT bread! Pizza is a leavened flatbread which should just bubble up in places around the edge or cornichione. As a word, pizza is related to and derived from the ancient greek pitta and similar breads are found all over the continent from pissaladiere in France all the way to Turkey’s pida and middle eastern pittah.
Traditionally cooked at high heat in a brick oven, these breads are a staple food combined with simple fresh ingredients and not a dumping ground for anything that comes to hand from the fridge.
The modern pizza has regional variations even within Italy and changed character somewhat when taken to the US with the deep pan pizza of Chicago. Humble pizza dough recipes continue to evolve with new toppings added daily as the concept spreads across the globe.
Here is a pretty good video with Vito Iacopelli – he has a comprehensive series so please have a look.
Our recipe, which is baked whenever we fire up the wood-fired oven, is a thin crust pizza made from approx 275-300g of dough made with 00 high gluten flour, salt and water, stretched out by hand on a floured wooden peel and then baked in a very hot 450C oven. It is always cooked in under 90 seconds and usually a lot shorter, sometimes 45 seconds at the beginning of baking!
See my post with the ingredients for dough here
Can be sourced from any good supplier but try and make sure they are the best available as they’ll have the best flavour. There are several Italian 00 flour importers for large 25kg sacks but for home use, get organic 00 flour and yeast from a mill like Shipton mill who specialise in organic high quality flours.
For mozzarella we recommend organic and biodynamic Laverstoke Park Farm buffalo cheese which is superb quality. For classic neapolitan style pizza you need San Marzano tomatoes, available in cans from specialist suppliers but given there’s a lot of fake cans around, you’re better off just buying a can of organic peeled plum tomatoes are processing yourself.
Everything else, just buy organic vegetable and herbs
No matter what your pizza dough recipe is, pizza can be made successfully on a preheated bake stone in a home oven set at max temperature, usually 230-250C. It will take longer to bake but will rise the same as a wood-fired oven, eventually!
For best results, use a wood-fired oven fired to 450-500C in the dome and minimum 350C on the hearth so that your dough rises fast around the edges making it lighter, and cooks, caramelises and fuses the toppings. At these temperatures most pizzas cook it under a minute and max a minute and a half.