The Perfect Pizza Dough

July 11, 2014
Food,Recipes

Before our trip to Florence, I told Karen the first thing we had to indulge in was Neapolitan pizza. And of course, a heaping plate of mind blowing truffle pasta. There is something about Italian pizza that many, including me, have tried to emulate – but have fallen short. But that sure hasn’t deter me from testing pizza dough recipe after pizza dough recipe, searching for that perfect crust. I’m excited to share that artisan baker Ken Forkish‘s “Same Day Straight Pizza Dough” formula comes pretty darn close.

The Perfect Pizza Sough | HonestlyYUM

I should warn you that Ken’s recipe is pretty tedious compared to some of the recipes I’ve used in the past – especially when it comes to the mixing part. The physical part of making the dough actually doesn’t take long at all – it’s the amount of time you’ll need to let the dough rest throughout the process that requires a bit of pre-planning. But the fermentation allows the dough to develop some amazing flavors, making this pizza dough recipe my favorite thus far.

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Fill a medium sized bowl with 3 cups of warm water. Separate 3 tablespoons of the water into a cup and add 1/2 tsp of instant dried yeast. Set aside.

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Combine flour and the remaining water into a large bowl. If you can use super fine, soft white 00 flour, you should!

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Mix by hand. Cover and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

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Sprinkle salt over the dough. Mix the yeast mixture with your finger and pour over the dough.

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Then start to mix by hand, wetting your hands before mixing to prevent the dough from sticking. Ken’s mixing method is a bit complex but I think just folding and cutting a few times is sufficient. You can try pinching the dough with your index and thumb, to simulate a dough mixing attachment, as Ken suggests. As long as the salt, yeast and dough is well incorporated, all is good. Lift the dough and drizzle some olive oil on the bottom of the bowl. Place the dough back in the bowl and drizzle a bit more olive oil on top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 6 hours.

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The dough should now be at least double it’s volume. With floured hands, pull the dough onto large floured surface. Shape it into a long oval shape and with a dough scraper or knife, cut it into 5 equal pieces.

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Shape each piece into a medium-tight ball. I like to just rub the palms of my hands, over the top and to the bottom of the dough, a few times. You’ll notice a ball shape taking place.

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Lay the  dough balls on a floured baking sheet and sprinkle flour over the tops. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 60 minutes. Refrigerating the dough for 30 minutes before you shape the dough makes it easier to handle. Preheat your oven to the highest temperature possible. Mine only goes up to 525 degrees but if you can get it up to 600 degrees, that is better. And of course, a hot wood burning stove is even better. The oven should preheat for at least 45 minutes – with a pizza stone inside.

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Lay the dough ball on a floured surface and punch the middle with your fingers a couple if times. Repeat on the other side. The position both fists inside the rim of the pizza and turn the dough gently, letting gravity thin out the dough.

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Keep doing this until the dough is thin. If you develop any holes, just pinch the dough together to patch them up.

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Transfer the dough to a floured pizza peel. And top with your favorite sauce and toppings. When your oven has pre-heated, carefully slide the pizza onto the pizza stone.

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Bake for 5-6 minutes and then switch to the broil setting and broil for 1-2 minutes. Watch the pizza carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn too quickly. You’ll want a few spots of char but not too much! Side the pizza off the stone onto a cutting board or large plate.

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Slice and eat immediately. And dream of Italy . . .

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(images by HonestlyYUM; recipe adapted by Ken Forkish’s Flour Water Salt Yeast)

The Perfect Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 1000g (7 3/4 cups) of 00 or white flour
  • 3 cups of warm water
  • 1 1/4 tbsp of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp of instant dried yeast

Directions:

  • Fill a large bowl with 3 cups of warm water
  • Put 2 grams of yeast into a small bowl and add 3 tablespoons of the warm water. Set aside.
  • Combine the flour and the rest of the water into a large bowl. Mix with hands until incorporated. Let rest for 30 minutes, covered.
  • Sprinkle 1 1/4 tbsp of salt and yeast mixture over the dough. Mix with wet hands to incorporate all the ingredients.
  • Drizzle bottom of bowl and top of dough with olive oil. Cover and let rest for at least 6 hours.
  • Preheat oven to highest temperature up to 600 degrees. Preheat for at least 45 minutes with a pizza stone inside the oven.
  • With floured hand, scoop dough onto a large floured surface. Shape into an oval and cut into 5 equal pieces.
  • Shape each piece into a medium-tight ball and place on a floured baking sheet. Top with a sprinkle of flour, cover and let rest for 60 minutes.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes before shaping the balls.
  • Shape the balls by punching each side with fingers. Roll fists under the rim of the dough to allow the dough to stretch naturally.
  • Transfer the dough onto a floured pizza peel and top with your favorite sauce and toppings.
  • Gently slide the dough onto the pizza stone and bake for 5 minutes. Then broil for 1-2 minutes.
  • Slice and serve!

Conversation

Hi, after trying a myriad of other variations, tweaks, recipes, this one FINALLY was PERFECT!!!

Another thing I was doing wrong was seasoning my sauce. At least for me, a good quality NAKED tomato puree works best. I was also using too much mozz so I corrected that. One other thing I am doing is a light dusting of fresh grated parm regiano cheese on the sauce before the mozz. Lastly I use a light sprinkle of quality greek oregano on top just before putting in the oven.

I’m so happy, I finally got the pizza I wanted. Thank you so much for putting this recipe together!!!

This is the BEST pizza dough! We had the most amazing pizzas on Christmas morning due to this dough recipe! Thank you!

It appears you have adapted this recipe quite a bit with regard to timing. I have Ken’s book and have made this dough several times.

Briefly, his directions are: After the initial mixing and folding etc.,, do two or more folds within an hour. Next ferment for 12 hours to allow it to double or triple in volume. Then after the shaping into balls, refrigerate for six hours for further expansion. Remove a ball from the fridge when ready to shape and bake.

Have you made this dough both the longer method I described above and your shortened version? If so, I’d love to know how they compared? It would be wonderful to get the same results in a shorter time, but I know the dough should develop more flavor with longer fermentation

Thanks for your very explicit post and great photos.

In the description it calls for 1/2 tsp. yeast and in the recipe at the bottom it calls for 1/4 tsp.
Wondering which is the right measurement… thanks!

I’m going to try to grill this….been wanting to for so long!

OK, I’m putting this to the test for family pizza night tomorrow!

Can I cut the recipe in half ? Would I still get the same result ? Also, when you say to rest the dough for a minimum of 6 hours, can I prepare it the day and leave it rest overnight ?

Can’t wait to try the recipe 🙂

It never ceases to amaze me that such simple ingredients can make something so delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

thanks for the post – i definitely can use all the help i can get regarding pizza dough.. im still yet to perfect it! thanks!

This looks like perfection. I’d definitely try freezing this dough for when the need for a homemade pizza strikes!

Great recipe, totally worth the effort too, to get great pizza. Love that this makes 5 balls of dough, plenty to feed a family. Thanks. : ) This really does look like perfect pizza, I think I would top mine EXACTLY like you did.

That looks like a pretty damn fine pizza dough – like, really really fiiiiiiiiine. DAYUM.

Can the dough be frozen?

@Holly, I haven’t tried freezing this dough but I have with other handmade doughs in the past. So I don’t see why not!

This is my favorite pizza dough to make at home! I adapted the recipe to make 2 balls of dough since I’m usually just cooking for myself. Even though it’s a “same day” dough, I really prefer the flavor after it’s been sitting in my fridge overnight.

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