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Just baked margherita pizza.

Simple, 4-Ingredient Homemade Pizza Dough


Description

If you love pizza with ballooned and blistered edges and a crisp but pliable crust, this is the pizza dough recipe you’ll come back to again and again. And it’s easy to make—the pizza dough is no-knead, made with 4 simple ingredients, and doesn’t require special flour. Video guidance below.

This is a double recipe of the peasant pizza dough in my cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs.

NOTES:

This recipe yields 4 rounds of dough. Recipe can be halved; dough can be refrigerated for up to five days. I refrigerate individual rounds of dough in quart containers.

Dough can be frozen, too. After the first rise and after you transfer the portioned rounds to quart containers, this is your opportunity to freeze. Transfer the quart containers to the freezer for as long as 3 months. To thaw, remove a container (or more) and let thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day or thaw at room temperature for 4 to 8 hours. Then, proceed with the recipe.

Yeast: If you need to use active dry yeast instead of instant, sprinkle it over the lukewarm water and let it stand for about 10 minutes or until it gets foamy before adding to the other ingredients.

Warm place to rise:  Here’s a trick for making the perfect warm spot for the dough to rise. Turn the oven on and let it preheat for 1 minute; then shut it off. The temperature will be between 80° F and 100° F. you should be able to place your hand on the oven grates without burning them.

Flour: You can use bread flour and all-purpose flour here but if you live in a humid environment, I would consider using bread flour if you can get your hands on it. If you are in Canada or the UK, also consider using bread flour or consider holding back some of the water (see next paragraph). Reference the video for how the texture of the bread should look; then add water back as needed.

Water: As noted above, this is a variation of the peasant pizza dough recipe in my cookbook. If you are unfamiliar, the peasant bread dough is a very wet, no-knead dough. The key when handling it, is to use as much flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the board and your hands. That said, you absolutely can start with less water to make the dough more manageable. If you live in a humid environment, if you live abroad, if you are using all-purpose flour or Tipo 00 flour, if you dislike handling wet doughs, consider starting with 400 to 425 grams of water. Add water as needed to get it to the right consistency (reference the video). 

To make lukewarm water, use 1 part boiling liquid to 3 parts cold liquid. For 2 cups of lukewarm water, use 1/2 cup boiling, 1 1/2 cups cold water. You don’t have to be so precise, but using this rough ratio will give you perfectly lukewarm water. 

Parchment: These rounds are so handy.

Toppings: In the notes below the recipe, find the toppings for a classic Margherita pizza and for a kale, parmesan, and crème fraîche pizza. See above for 6 other favorite pizza recipes. 


Ingredients

  • 4 cups (512 g) bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for assembly
  • 2 teaspoons (11 g) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) instant yeast
  • 1.75 to 2 cups (400 to 454 g) lukewarm water, see notes above

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and instant yeast. Add the water. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the water is absorbed and the ingredients form a sticky dough ball. Pour a drop or two of oil over top and rub with your hands to coat. 
  2. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
  3. If you are baking the pizzas right away (as opposed to refrigerating the dough for another day), place a Baking Steel or pizza stone in top third of oven and preheat oven to its hottest setting, 550°F. Be sure the Baking Steel heats for at least 45 minutes once the oven temperature reaches 550ºF.
  4. Cover a work surface or cutting board liberally with flour — use at least 1/4 cup and more as needed. The dough is very wet, so don’t hesitate to use flour as needed. Turn the dough out onto your floured surface and use a bench scraper to divide the dough into 4 equal portions. With floured hands, roll each portion into a ball, using the pinkie-edges of your hands to pinch the dough underneath each ball. If you are not baking the pizza the same day, transfer each round of dough to a plastic quart container (or something similar), cover, and store in the fridge. (At this point, transfer the vessels to the freezer for up to 3 months. See notes above for thawing.) If you are baking right away, let the balls sit on their tucked-in edges for at least 30 minutes without touching.
  5. To Make the Pizzas: If using refrigerated dough, pull out a pizza round from the fridge one hour before you plan on baking. Dust dough with flour and place on a floured work surface. Let rest for about an hour (a little less, a little longer is fine) untouched.
  6. Handling the dough as minimally as possible, shape dough into a 10″–12″ round. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a pizza peel, and pour a few drops of oil into the center of it. (Note: the oil is optional. It’s especially helpful if you find shaping dough using the backs of your hands tricky.) Transfer the dough round to the parchment-lined baking peel.
  7. Top pizza as desired or to make the Margherita pizza: spread 2 ounces of tomato sauce over your pizza dough. Top with 3 ounces of mozzarella. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with a pinch of flaky sea salt. Shimmy the pizza, parchment paper and all into the oven. To make the kale and crème fraîche pizza: Place the kale in a small bowl, drizzle lightly with olive oil, season with sea salt, and toss with your hands till the kale is coated in oil and salt. Spoon crème fraîche over the dough leaving a 1/2-inch border or so—I use 1 to 2 tablespoons per pizza. Sprinkle with the garlic and a handful of the grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Top with the kale. Shimmy the pizza, parchment paper and all into the oven.
  8. Bake pizza until top is blistered, about 5 minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Shower basil over the pizza Margherita. Cut and serve. Discard parchment paper. 

Notes

Margherita Pizza:

  • 2 ounces tomato sauce, such as this one
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella (if using buffalo mozzarella, drain before using)
  • olive oil
  • flaky sea salt
  • fresh basil

Kale & Creme Fraiche Pizza:

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • a couple handfuls of baby kale
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • Sea salt, such as Maldon
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano, about 1/4 to 1/3 cup
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Pizza
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: American, Italian

Keywords: pizza, neapolitan, no-knead dough, kale, easy, simple