I write this knowing that Pizza dough making is much more of an art than a science. And, the perfect recipe is more about tweaking to your own personal tastes than anything that could ever be written down on the page

That said, I am a novice when it comes to working with yeast and tweaking it to achieve a desired effect. So, for now, I rely on written recipes.

Below is a current top-contender recipe (from Sunset Magazine; Sept 2014) that has produced very good results. It doesn't give me quite the amount of airiness I want to achieve in my crust, but it's better than any local pies I can buy.

From some members' facebook pages, there is a ton of dough talent on this forum. I'd be very interested in any other recipes or instruction anyone can offer.

I am not addressing how best to bake the pie because that could be an entire thread unto itself. For now, I am cooking on a pizza steel in a 500 degree oven, or occasionally on a steel in a 700 degree, dome temp, big green egg. So, if you have other cooking temp thoughts or other ideas, I would love to hear them as well


RECIPE:
2 TBSP sugar
1.5 tsp active dry yeast
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
30 oz (~6 cups) “00” flour
2 TBSP fine sea salt

1) Mix sugar, yeast, olive oil, and 2 cups tap water (at ~115 degrees) in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Mix and let sit for 10 minutes to activate yeast

2) Slowly mix in flour mixture with mixer on low speed, and kneed dough for 15 minutes until it is smooth and pulls off the dough hook easily

3) Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with a moist towel and leave at room temperature for ~1 hour to let rise

4) Cut dough into 6 equal pieces. Form a ball with each piece and place each piece on a well floured cookie sheet. Cover with moist towel and let rest at room temp for 3-8 hours
Original Post
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
i cheat and go to my local pizza joint that has some fantastic dough.

makes a great foccaccia too

only costs me 2.5$ for enough dough to make a 22" pie
or 2 of those skinny flat fancy pizzas


I would have expected more from you!! Woot

We have bought local pizza joint dough as well. Just never gets the correct structure we want, and this homemade version gets closer to the airy, chewy structure that makes me love pizza and all its derivatives so much
How are you stretching out the dough? I had to fiddle a lot with my recipe to get the air in there and get the dough stretchy enough that it would stay in there, but I was using napoletana dough recipe (no oil or sugar), the above looks more like NY style. I think if you let the dough ferment in the fridge for a day, and then take them out and let them sit at room temp for 3 or so hours (or more if they are holding up nicely...I left some out for too long one night and they rose so much that I could barely lift and stretch them without tearing them) you should be good.

I ultimately used the Jim Lahey no-knead napoletana pizza dough recipe, and aside from getting the air and stretch I wanted, the flavour was much better to me after an 18-hour initial room temperature ferment and then 48 hours in the fridge (and 3 or so hours proofing on the counter).

After proofing on the counter I just take the risen dough, flour it well, start pressing in the middle and slowly and carefully turning and I press and gently stretch, being careful to keep the air in the perimeter and even try to push dough bubbles out towards the perimeter. For the dough that I got in my few attempts so far the dough was delicate.

Also I haven't used the BGE, but the idea of a wood burning domed oven is that the air in the dome is hot even with the front open...and if you lift the top of the egg won't all of the heat disappear? If so it won't be back in the few minutes it takes to cook the pizza and you'll largely be cooking from the bottom and the heat of the steel, which might also work perfectly well...but I think a lot of the rise/airiness you get in the edges of the crust for these types of pies comes from hitting with heat from the steel and the top at the same time, getting a fast intense rise from water in the dough turning to steam, before the dough can set up (and impede any more airiness).

NY style dough for my next experiment.
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
How are you stretching out the dough? I had to fiddle a lot with my recipe to get the air in there and get the dough stretchy enough that it would stay in there, but I was using napoletana dough recipe (no oil or sugar), the above looks more like NY style. I think if you let the dough ferment in the fridge for a day, and then take them out and let them sit at room temp for 3 or so hours (or more if they are holding up nicely...I left some out for too long one night and they rose so much that I could barely lift and stretch them without tearing them) you should be good.

I ultimately used the Jim Lahey no-knead napoletana pizza dough recipe, and aside from getting the air and stretch I wanted, the flavour was much better to me after an 18-hour initial room temperature ferment and then 48 hours in the fridge (and 3 or so hours proofing on the counter).

After proofing on the counter I just take the risen dough, flour it well, start pressing in the middle and slowly and carefully turning and I press and gently stretch, being careful to keep the air in the perimeter and even try to push dough bubbles out towards the perimeter. For the dough that I got in my few attempts so far the dough was delicate.

Also I haven't used the BGE, but the idea of a wood burning domed oven is that the air in the dome is hot even with the front open...and if you lift the top of the egg won't all of the heat disappear? If so it won't be back in the few minutes it takes to cook the pizza and you'll largely be cooking from the bottom and the heat of the steel, which might also work perfectly well...but I think a lot of the rise/airiness you get in the edges of the crust for these types of pies comes from hitting with heat from the steel and the top at the same time, getting a fast intense rise from water in the dough turning to steam, before the dough can set up (and impede any more airiness).

NY style dough for my next experiment.


Looks like I have a few days at home with the impending storm. Going to try this out tomorrow in hopes of making some more pies on Friday or Saturday. Found the jim Lahey recipe on serious eats

thanks!
K this video gives a good idea of what the dough should look like (after the room temp and fridge ferment and room temp proof) when it is ready to stretch, and how nicely it rises even in a home oven on a thick stone. Looking forward to hearing results, mine were a little more delicate, I stretched them on the counter (less than a minute), carefully slid onto floured pizza peel, dressed it and carefully slid onto the pizza steel with the oven propped slightly to keep the broiler on. Heated oven to 550 for 40 minutes, then broiler on for 15 minutes (yeah a waste of electricity), then it was ready to go...I think my best results had the steel one rack below the top rack under the broiler. When stretching I had to try a little harder than he did not to rip it (did it on the counter with a little lifting only) and also didn't compress the edges at all to maintain the maximum bubble. I think he might have had his one more rack down, mine were done in 120 seconds.

Vid:

http://www.seriouseats.com/rec...za-dough-recipe.html

For me there was a definite improvement in flavour from that second day in the fridge.
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
K this video gives a good idea of what the dough should look like (after the room temp and fridge ferment and room temp proof) when it is ready to stretch, and how nicely it rises even in a home oven on a thick stone. Looking forward to hearing results, mine were a little more delicate, I stretched them on the counter (less than a minute), carefully slid onto floured pizza peel, dressed it and carefully slid onto the pizza steel with the oven propped slightly to keep the broiler on. Heated oven to 550 for 40 minutes, then broiler on for 15 minutes (yeah a waste of electricity), then it was ready to go...I think my best results had the steel one rack below the top rack under the broiler. When stretching I had to try a little harder than he did not to rip it (did it on the counter with a little lifting only) and also didn't compress the edges at all to maintain the maximum bubble. I think he might have had his one more rack down, mine were done in 120 seconds.

Vid:

http://www.seriouseats.com/rec...za-dough-recipe.html

For me there was a definite improvement in flavour from that second day in the fridge.


you're at the Feb offline, correct? Need to pick your brain about things yeast related. Thanks for the video!
quote:
Originally posted by Parcival:
quote:
Originally posted by DoubleD:
Have you tried to sous vide your pizza dough? Razz


That's my next experiment! Gonna vacu-seal that mound of dough and cook it at 130 for 5 days! Porridge anyone!


actually i'd bet you could make the fluffiest gnocchies ever
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
quote:
Originally posted by Parcival:
you're at the Feb offline, correct? Need to pick your brain about things yeast related. Thanks for the video!


I am but I have little to no yeast-related knowledge (thankfully, I think!)


Having thought about that a little . . . that's a very good thing!
quote:
Originally posted by Parcival:
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
quote:
Originally posted by Parcival:
you're at the Feb offline, correct? Need to pick your brain about things yeast related. Thanks for the video!


I am but I have little to no yeast-related knowledge (thankfully, I think!)


Having thought about that a little . . . that's a very good thing!


Well, didn't bare-foot grape-stomping add much needed athlete's foot yeast to the winemaking process? Ewwww...
Parcival - I don't really have a "recipe" for dough. Just take some flour, mix in some water, and let it sit on the counter until it bubbles, then set a little aside for next time and to the rest add a little salt and enough flour to get the consistency you want. You can add some oil too.

The idea of using "00" four is entirely unnecessary. That refers to the grind and your oven isn't going to give the same results that some wood-fired oven in Naples will, so go for the texture you want rather than someone's recipe.

If your dough doesn't work well, one of the keys is adding more or less water. Pay attention to how much you use and tweak it the next time.

Also, the way you cook it is probably the most critical issue. Use a steel - there's nothing else that I've found that you can get the same results from with a home oven. I make pizza about once a week, just because I like having dough in the house and I'm making some tomorrow. I used some different flours this time - threw in a handful of durum wheat, which is very high-gluten, just to see what happens.

People worry too much about recipes these days - it's better to pay attention to the product you're producing and tweak that.
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
Parcival - I don't really have a "recipe" for dough. Just take some flour, mix in some water, and let it sit on the counter until it bubbles, then set a little aside for next time and to the rest add a little salt and enough flour to get the consistency you want. You can add some oil too.

The idea of using "00" four is entirely unnecessary. That refers to the grind and your oven isn't going to give the same results that some wood-fired oven in Naples will, so go for the texture you want rather than someone's recipe.

If your dough doesn't work well, one of the keys is adding more or less water. Pay attention to how much you use and tweak it the next time.

Also, the way you cook it is probably the most critical issue. Use a steel - there's nothing else that I've found that you can get the same results from with a home oven. I make pizza about once a week, just because I like having dough in the house and I'm making some tomorrow. I used some different flours this time - threw in a handful of durum wheat, which is very high-gluten, just to see what happens.

People worry too much about recipes these days - it's better to pay attention to the product you're producing and tweak that.


GregT -- do you use yeast or are you relying on natural yeasts on our hands / in the flour? I ask because I was teaching myself to make break last year and tackled a cookbook that was way beyond my skill level - Tartine Bread. They also suggested making a starter with flour and water and relying on naturally present yeasts. I could never get the thing to bubble even after 3 days of resting at room temp

Agree with your overall comments about recipes though -- that is how I approach most of my cooking. But, for me it helps to start with a recipe that is somewhat "representative" of the thing I'm trying to make. Then I feel like I have the basics in hand to start going off the recipe reservation!
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
Also, the way you cook it is probably the most critical issue. Use a steel - there's nothing else that I've found that you can get the same results from with a home oven.

Greg - What type, size and thickness of steel do you use? I would appreciate more input on this.
quote:
Originally posted by Parcival:
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
Parcival - I don't really have a "recipe" for dough. Just take some flour, mix in some water, and let it sit on the counter until it bubbles, then set a little aside for next time and to the rest add a little salt and enough flour to get the consistency you want. You can add some oil too.

The idea of using "00" four is entirely unnecessary. That refers to the grind and your oven isn't going to give the same results that some wood-fired oven in Naples will, so go for the texture you want rather than someone's recipe.

If your dough doesn't work well, one of the keys is adding more or less water. Pay attention to how much you use and tweak it the next time.

Also, the way you cook it is probably the most critical issue. Use a steel - there's nothing else that I've found that you can get the same results from with a home oven. I make pizza about once a week, just because I like having dough in the house and I'm making some tomorrow. I used some different flours this time - threw in a handful of durum wheat, which is very high-gluten, just to see what happens.

People worry too much about recipes these days - it's better to pay attention to the product you're producing and tweak that.


GregT -- do you use yeast or are you relying on natural yeasts on our hands / in the flour? I ask because I was teaching myself to make break last year and tackled a cookbook that was way beyond my skill level - Tartine Bread. They also suggested making a starter with flour and water and relying on naturally present yeasts. I could never get the thing to bubble even after 3 days of resting at room temp

Agree with your overall comments about recipes though -- that is how I approach most of my cooking. But, for me it helps to start with a recipe that is somewhat "representative" of the thing I'm trying to make. Then I feel like I have the basics in hand to start going off the recipe reservation!


i'd def use yeast

natural yeast is unpredicatable (and most likely the same that you bought at the supermarket) and you might end up with mold instead
quote:
Originally posted by KSC02:
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
Also, the way you cook it is probably the most critical issue. Use a steel - there's nothing else that I've found that you can get the same results from with a home oven.

Greg - What type, size and thickness of steel do you use? I would appreciate more input on this.


KSC -- great article on the pizza steel. I have a 3/8th inch steel (length width dimensions are ~14" x 18"). It produces better results than a standard pizza stone. Now, if I could just nail down my dough making skills, everything would be great!

Pizza Steel (from SeriousEats)
K if you liked the tartine bread try this recipe...not too far off the no-knead pizza dough recipe. I cooked in 485 degree pre-heated le creuset oval french oven (works the same as a combo baker) covered for the required time and then uncovered for the remainder. I placed parchment paper in the bottom before very carefully plopping the dough into the pot (pre-cut, before heating, but not put into the bottom of the le creuset until I took it out of the oven ready to place the bread in). Worked great...crowd pleaser...even pleased the professional baker in the crowd. I was actually going to try to use this recipe for pizza dough.

http://breadmakingblog.breadex...ckle-sweetly-in.html

And as for what Greg said on the moisture, I weighed some of my 1 kg bags of )) flour that had been sitting in the pantry for some time, they weighed about 900 grams, whereas a newly purchased bag weighed 1kg, so I'm thinking that the humidity levels in my house affected the moisture levels of the flour...so have to follow what Greg said and learn the proper moisture level.

At least the experimentation is delicious.
quote:
Originally posted by Parcival:
KSC -- great article on the pizza steel. I have a 3/8th inch steel (length width dimensions are ~14" x 18"). It produces better results than a standard pizza stone.

Thx much for the info and link, Parcival.
Yeah - I use the Baking Steel, 1/4 inch. Have a similar sized piece of aluminum and piece of brass to be picked up one of these days soon - I'm anxious to see how they work in comparison. Kenji-Alt said his copper didn't really work as well as the steel, but I'm not sure why that would be and anyhow, if it is because of the shiny quality, that's good for about three days, then it's a dull brown. So I might try a piece of that too. And worst case, I can always put it under the steel.

As far as yeast, I've been making bread since the 1970s and I never got mold. Actually that's not true. If you do get some bubbling and you get some yeast, and then you leave that on the counter for a week, you will get mold on it. Or if you leave it in the fridge for a few months. But generally you don't.

As to what exactly the yeast is, that's an interesting question and way too long to go into here. Some say it's air-borne, in which case it may be some commercial yeast anyway, some say that the yeast you want is not air-borne and it comes on the grains of wheat, and so on.

Honestly I don't know. I've just moved to this place and started a new batch, so it's not from anything I made here. You can trade starters on line from around the world, and there are definite differences depending on where you get your yeast. Some say that eventually it will be swamped out by whatever is local - that may be, again, I don't know.

But you can get different starters going in the same kitchen if you do them at different times. Sometimes you get a really aromatic yeast that smells like Parmesan cheese. Sometimes it's almost odorless. Sometimes it smells like rotting cabbage. And of course, you're getting a symbiotic bacteria with it and that's probably even more responsible for the aromas.

And of course, in addition to the aromas, they all act differently. Some don't really last more than a few batches - they seem to just die out. Some act really well, some take much longer than others, and so on.

I've never plated them so I have no idea what I'm getting. If something doesn't work, I just start all over again. If I like it, I keep it going.

It isn't predictable the first time, but it is the second time.

Going out for the evening run and then back to make tonite's pizza.
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
The "Baking Steel" is 16 x 14.5 inches. Standard one is 1/4 inch. I ended up getting 'the big' which is 1/2 inche thick. Pretty good results in home oven in 120 seconds for napoletana pizza.

Thanks for the input Greg & Machine. How do you store the steel? Do you leave it in the oven? or?
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
Here's a q for you pizza dough nuts.

how do you keep teh dough stretched out.

i have this problem where when i start cooking the dough "springs" back together and the pie looks more like a deepdish then a ny style pie.


I've had it spring back when stretching it out if it hasn't relaxed/proofed at room temp for long enough, or relaxed for long enough after kneading (even a few quick kneads of a room temp dough might tighten it up enough to be elastic enough to spring back), but have never seen this happen only during the cooking process.
quote:
Originally posted by gigabit:
Thanks to everyone that has contributed to this thread.

I am just beginning my offensive on making homemade pizza, so this has been extremely helpful.


Offensive as in you find the vision of Parvical stomping his dough offensive?
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
Here's a q for you pizza dough nuts.

how do you keep teh dough stretched out.

i have this problem where when i start cooking the dough "springs" back together and the pie looks more like a deepdish then a ny style pie.


I've had it spring back when stretching it out if it hasn't relaxed/proofed at room temp for long enough, or relaxed for long enough after kneading (even a few quick kneads of a room temp dough might tighten it up enough to be elastic enough to spring back), but have never seen this happen only during the cooking process.


it probably would spring back if i let it rest of hte counter, i typically stretch it out and throw it in to the oven immediately

then take it out, add toppings then throw it back in.

it's probably not a true "pizza" but i like that crunch on both sides of the bread
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
Here's a q for you pizza dough nuts.

how do you keep teh dough stretched out.

i have this problem where when i start cooking the dough "springs" back together and the pie looks more like a deepdish then a ny style pie.


I've had it spring back when stretching it out if it hasn't relaxed/proofed at room temp for long enough, or relaxed for long enough after kneading (even a few quick kneads of a room temp dough might tighten it up enough to be elastic enough to spring back), but have never seen this happen only during the cooking process.


it probably would spring back if i let it rest of hte counter, i typically stretch it out and throw it in to the oven immediately

then take it out, add toppings then throw it back in.

it's probably not a true "pizza" but i like that crunch on both sides of the bread


I like that idea, I do that on the bbq sometimes, get it grilled and set and then add the toppings and move it off the direct heat to finish. Maybe it's like blind baking a pie crust, more shrinkage with no toppings or fillings
Quick update . . . I have made 6 different dough recipes over the last week or so. Here is my report:

Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough (recommended by Machine and link below)

Lahey no-knead


Dough was very good. Very easy recipe, and easy-to-work-with dough after the rise. Was not able to get the hole-structure in the dough at the outer rims that I was shooting for

Basic Neapolitan dough (serious eats)
--by far, the dough we liked the best. I have been trying hard to replicate the Pizzeria Bianco dough and this is darned close . . . as close as I think you could get without a bonified pizza oven

Basic NY-style dough (serious eats)
--also a great dough. Very close to the Neapolitan dough though we preferred the Neapolitan for some very subtle texture/ hole-structure reasons. The NYC dough was a little chewier (I think) which was good but added a little bit of extra density to the dough vs. the Neapolitan.

Basic Neapolitan & NYC doughs

Ca' Momi Pizza dough
-Fair but the dough overall was flat and did not develop the delicate hole structure in the crust I was aiming for. Also, the recipe was wrong at least to my making. It calls for activating the dry yeast in cold tap water. It made a dough this way and with typical 115 degree water. The 115 degree water version rose; the cold-water version did not

Ca' Momi pizza dough

Delfina dough recipe
-must have done something wrong or this is not even close to their real recipe. Also noted their suggestion of using cold water with the yeast which is confusing and goes against everything I have ever read. Love Delfina Pizzeria; this was our least favorite dough

Delfina Pizza dough

There were a few other recipes I used that are not worth mentioning (internet search recipes). My biggest learning . . . as GregT suggested . . . you can tweak your dough in so many ways. Once you get a good feel for what the dough should feel like, it becomes a little easier to tweak in specific directions to get the desired result.

For now, I am going to start my own tweaking and exploration using the Serious Eats Basic Neapolitan recipe as my reference point
quote:
Originally posted by Parcival:
Quick update . . . I have made 6 different dough recipes over the last week or so. Here is my report:

Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough (recommended by Machine and link below)

Lahey no-knead


Dough was very good. Very easy recipe, and easy-to-work-with dough after the rise. Was not able to get the hole-structure in the dough at the outer rims that I was shooting for

Basic Neapolitan dough (serious eats)
--by far, the dough we liked the best. I have been trying hard to replicate the Pizzeria Bianco dough and this is darned close . . . as close as I think you could get without a bonified pizza oven

Basic NY-style dough (serious eats)
--also a great dough. Very close to the Neapolitan dough though we preferred the Neapolitan for some very subtle texture/ hole-structure reasons. The NYC dough was a little chewier (I think) which was good but added a little bit of extra density to the dough vs. the Neapolitan.

Basic Neapolitan & NYC doughs

Ca' Momi Pizza dough
-Fair but the dough overall was flat and did not develop the delicate hole structure in the crust I was aiming for. Also, the recipe was wrong at least to my making. It calls for activating the dry yeast in cold tap water. It made a dough this way and with typical 115 degree water. The 115 degree water version rose; the cold-water version did not

Ca' Momi pizza dough

Delfina dough recipe
-must have done something wrong or this is not even close to their real recipe. Also noted their suggestion of using cold water with the yeast which is confusing and goes against everything I have ever read. Love Delfina Pizzeria; this was our least favorite dough

Delfina Pizza dough

There were a few other recipes I used that are not worth mentioning (internet search recipes). My biggest learning . . . as GregT suggested . . . you can tweak your dough in so many ways. Once you get a good feel for what the dough should feel like, it becomes a little easier to tweak in specific directions to get the desired result.

For now, I am going to start my own tweaking and exploration using the Serious Eats Basic Neapolitan recipe as my reference point


i'd like to point out, it's because you're using boston tap water instead of ny tap that your ny style dough didn't come out on top.

much like the bagels ;-)
Keep on fiddling with recipes, fermenting time, and maybe moisture level K. If you saw the pics I posted on FB, some of the early tries had a good rise but the inner structure was all smaller bubbles like bread. Some further attempts had air holes that were larger than bread bubbles, and you can see lots of small to medium sized char bubbles, and dough was also good (like the pic on the good eats Neapolitan-style page). But when the 18-hour room temp ferment and 2-day fridge ferment and 3 to 4 hour proof worked right, I got big airy bubbles, and the flavour was a lot better than attempts that has a shorter (and drier) room temp ferment or shorter fridge ferment. Wish I could get my hands on summa that NYC water!

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