Pizza Dough by Chris Lem
“Behind every great pizza is a great dough.” Are you a crust or toppings person? For me, toppings are good and fun but the crust texture and flavor is the true deal maker or deal breaker.
Today I’m sharing a pizza recipe for a regular home oven which is baked on a pizza steel (@darebuilt) or a solid (thick) pizza stone. I definitely recommend a steel or a stone as these baking surfaces will completely up your pizza game, enabling you to make professional caliber pizza in the comforts of your own home! But if you don’t have a steel or stone, a metal pizza pan also works, you’ll just have to bake it a few minutes longer."
Harvest Moon Mills All-Purpose Flour: 100% (376 grams)
Salt: 2.4% (9 grams)
Instant Yeast: 0.5 grams or 1/8 of a teaspoon (half of a ¼ teaspoon)
Water: 68%: (cool temp, 256 grams)
Oil: 2.0% (8 grams)
Mix the flour, yeast and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, stir the oil and water together.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and hand mix to fully incorporate everything together.
This incorporation may take a few minutes. The purpose of this step is not to knead the dough but to make sure that the wet ingredients are incorporated into the dry ingredients.
Cover the bowl and let the mixture rest for 10 minutes (if you don’t want to mix by hand, you can use a stand mixer and mix on speed 1 for 5 minutes and then rest for 10 minutes).
Knead the dough on the counter for 1-2 minutes. The dough should start getting smoother. Put it back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a lid. Let the dough rest for another 5 minutes.
Repeat step 4 one to two more times. After these kneading sessions, the dough should be pretty smooth and you should be able to create a taut dough ball with surface tension by folding the dough over into itself. You’ve developed the gluten in the dough. The hard work has been done. Now we let time run its magic.
Give the dough a pat for a job well done and place the dough smooth side up back into the bowl.
Cover the bowl and let the dough ferment at room temperature for 24 hours (19-21 degrees Celsius).
After 24 hours, the dough should be at least doubled in size and bubbly at the surface. Punch down and degas the dough. Gently remove the dough from the bowl. Sprinkle just a little bit of flour on the top of the dough to reduce stickiness and divide the dough into 325 gram portions.
Ball up the dough by folding the edges of the dough into itself (google: How to ball up pizza dough). You can use the counter to create the smooth surface tension in the dough ball (“tension pulls”) and pitch up the seams as much as possible to seal the dough ball.
Place the individual dough balls seam side down (smooth side up) and let them relax in lightly greased and covered plastic containers for 30-60 minutes at room temperature.
Transfer the dough balls to the fridge for 20 hours. The cold temperatures will slow down the fermentation in the dough and allow the dough to develop nice flavours during that time. This step is known as “cold proof.”
Baking the Pizza
2-3 hours before meal time, take the containers out of the fridge and let them come up towards room temperature. The dough will continue to rise and relax.
One hour before pizza time, preheat your steel or stone for one hour at 550 or at the highest temperature your oven will go. You want that steel/stone to be smoking hot which will result in the bottom crust being baked to perfection.
I position the steel about 6 inches from the top broiler. If you are using a metal pizza pan, bake the pizza on the bottom rack closest to the bottom coils.
While the oven is preheating, prep your toppings and watch videos on how to stretch dough by hand (see step 17). Just remember that it doesn’t have to be perfectly round! It will be still delicious regardless of symmetry!
Open your container and sprinkle some flour on the top and edges of the dough ball. Gently coax the dough ball and place it into a bowl of flour.
Dust the dough ball in a bowl of flour, liberally coating all sides with flour. Flour your hands too. This prevents the dough from sticking to your hands or the counter when you are stretching the dough.
You can shake off all that excess flour once it’s stretched out (Excess flour makes the pizza chalky and or bitter- say no to excess flour). Once it’s stretched out you can place the dough on a floured pizza peel or parchment paper or pizza pan and then add your toppings.
Dough stretching. Check out my friend Scott’s YouTube video. This is an awesome instructional video walking you through each step in the stretching process.
Bake that pizza!
Before you slide your pizza onto the steel/stone (use a pizza peel or a flat cookie sheet), engage your broiler. Make sure it’s glowing red. I use the broiler-first baking method which sees the broiler shooting down top heat onto the top of the pizza for 1-2 minutes (keep an eye on the pizza or it can burn quickly).
This initial broil gets the top of the pizza baking quickly, helping develop that beautiful crust colour and rise. After the initial broiling, I switch to regular bake to finish off the pizza.
Your baking time may vary but the total bake time (including the broil at the beginning) is anywhere from 3-8 minutes depending on your toppings and the dough thickness. Just keep an eye on it while it’s baking and use the crust colour as your gauge of “doneness.” Note that the broiler is optional, you can bake the pizza on regular bake mode for the entire duration of the bake for simplicity.
If you don’t have a steel or stone and are using a pizza pan, bake the pizza on the bottom rack for between 8-12 minutes. You may not need to use the broiler function but if you find your pizza is looking at bit pale, feel free to finish off the bake with the broil for a minute or so at the end of the bake.
Let the finished pizza cool on a wire rack for a minute or two before slicing.
Makes two 11-12 inch pizzas.
Amounts and Percentages (all percentages are as a percent of dry flour weight). To scale up, multiply these amounts by the number of pizzas you’re making (for example if you want to make four pizzas, multiply this recipe by 2).
Take a few photos for the memories and enjoy this wholesome and nutritious culinary creation you’ve made! Get ready to make the next pizza!