The canonical pizza dough recipe of 2013

Autumn of 2012 marks the beginning of third year of my obsession with making pizzas. Eternal search for the unattainable perfection. I think I’m getting better. Especially more consistent. And if anything, consistency is important in becoming better. This search has, of course, resulted in me designing a whole new type of wood-fired pizza oven called Uuni. If you’re interested, have a look at the video here.

Much of the early parts of this year I spent experimenting with different water to flour ratios, amount of yeast, carrying over parts of previous dough, proofing times etc. Summer was a write-off pizza wise as we moved house and I was without an oven for a few months but now I’m back at it and I’m ready to tell you where I’m at.

Here’s the base recipe as far as ingredients go:

Pizza dough recipe – Crofton Kitchen 2012

Ingredients

  • 500 g type ’00’ flour
  • 320 ml water
  • 30 g soft brown sugar
  • 10 g dry yeast
  • 10 g salt
  • 20 ml olive oil

Flour

Main ingredient of course is the flour. Not much has changed with that. I always use 500 grams as that creates a good reference point for other ingredients. I normally use the Sainsbury’s Type ’00’ with Durum but this mostly due to my laziness towards looking out for other more exotic brands of type ’00’.

Water

I’ve been back and forward with how much water to use. Mainly experimenting with adding up to 350 ml per 500 grams of flour. Although the added extra quantity is minimal, 30 ml, it makes a massive difference in the result: lighter to work with, hard to knead and risky when trying to slide a topped pizza of the peel to the oven. No, I’m sticking with 320 ml.

Thing I’m changing with water is where it comes from. I think London has a pretty nice tasting water. It’s OK to drink but it’s really really heavy. As in, lime heavy. In comes bottled water. Normally Highland Spring or other suitably well know Scottish brand. I haven’t blind tested pizzas made with London water and bottles water but i’m quite certain that there’s a noticeable difference.

Yeast

I always us Allison’s Dry Yeast. It comes in a 125 gram tin which then lasts for a good while. Can you get fresh yeast in supermarkets in Britain? That’ll be something for testing next year.

Another thing I’ve been testing over the past year is a sort of a sour dough method. I’d leave 1/5 of the dough to in the fridge for a good 4-5 days and then use that as a starter for the next dough which would be made without any other leavening agent. I can’t really proof the benefits of this yet but there’s something nice about the generations it creates.

Method

  1. I usually start by boiling about 100 ml of the water and adding that to rest of the water. That way it ends up at around 40°C. Then I’ll whisk in the yeast followed by sugar and oil. I’ll leave it for about half an hour so the yeast can get started.
  2. Meanwhile I’ll prepare the flour by sifting it into a bowl along with the salt.
  3. Add water/yeast, mix until ready turn on lightly floured surface for kneading. Knead for 5 minutes, leave it to rest for 10 minutes and knead a further 3 minutes. (I used to do this with a 1970s Kenwood Chef mixer but I haven’t replaced it since one of the gears broke last summer.)
  4. Place the dough in a container big enough so it can at least triple in size, seal with cling film. Refrigerate for 48 hours.
  5. Take the bowl out of the fridge about two hours before baking is meant to begin and leave it to acclimatise and warm up for about an hour and a half with the cling film still on. Cut into 180 gram dough balls and pat into roughly 10 cm diameter disks. Leave the dough disks to wait until you’re ready to make the pizzas.
  6. By the time you start ‘rolling’ the pizzas, the dough should have started to rise just a little. It’s important to not let it rise too much. Knock the dough back and leave it for another few minutes. I find that the dough is stretchier after it’s rested a little.

Preparation time: 60 minute(s)

Cooking time: 24-48 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 5

I’m pretty sure above is just about everything I know about making the dough. Hope it’s helpful. I’ve got two more posts coming up about pizza, one on rolling or stretching the dough out to a pizza shape and another on my current sauce. Stay tuned!

6 thoughts on “The canonical pizza dough recipe of 2013”

  1. Just out of curiosity, why don’t you weigh your water? 320ml of water on a warm day is not the same as a cold one? That said your recipe is quite similar to mine although I don’t let it rest for quite so long.

    1. Hey Chris, I do actually weight it. Good point, not sure why I’ve used volume here. Mine usually varies from time to time and normally don’t have the luxury of proving for 2 days (or would but end up deciding too late that I want pizza).

      Btw, bought some flour from Shipton Mill a few weeks ago. Amazing. With delivery not that cheap but thinking of ordering a big 25 kg bag next time.

  2. The ingredient quantities yielded some amazing dough. Very easy to work with and a nice, crisp base once cooked.

    For the kneading I simply ran it in my Kenwood Chef with the dough hook on minimum speed for 10 min (as per the other dough recipe). Also, I proved for only 2hrs at room temp.

    Have put the leftover dough in the freezer for next weekend’s pizzas

  3. Kristian –
    I bake my own bread and I recently bought some flour from Bacheldre Mills via Amazon. They do 16 and 25kg bags and you can get free delivery. I got a 16kg sack of stoneground white flour, which is very good. You can get fresh yeast from the Bertinet cookery school http://www.thebertinetkitchen.com/shop/bread_making By contrast, the delivery is very expensive, and it’ll cost around £8 for a 500g block. Bread is marginally better, but I’m not sure it’s that much better.
    Do you know there’s a baker just around the corner from you: http://www.coopersbakehouse.com/ He might be willing to sell the odd lump of yeast – or swap it for a pizza!
    Good luck with restaurant day today!
    Brian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *