We have our own pizza oven and since we make pizza frequently, we are always trying to find the perfect pizza dough recipe. This dough is the best version we have made so far although I am sure we will continue to test ingredients to see if we can improve it in any way. We generally almost always make thin crust pizzas as you would find in Italy.
This is a slow rise method of making pizza dough as I learned from Peter Reinhart’s book American Pie although we use a mix of white wheat and all-purpose flours for our version. I prefer King Arthur’s brand of white wheat flour that can now be found in many grocery stores. This slow rise method creates a very tender yet delicious dough but does require advance planning. My recipe makes 8 individual pizzas, and after a short 30 minute rise, I divide the dough into 8 balls, and refrigerate half of them and freeze the others. The dough in the refrigerator is left for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days while the frozen dough can be kept for a couple of months if wrapped tightly.
I thaw the frozen dough in the refrigerator, and bring it out to come to room temperature and rise an hour to an and a half before we are ready to make pizza.
I also use an ingredient I found through the King Arthur company that helps keep the dough relaxed and easy to shape but the dough recipe does work well without this magic ingredient although you might have to work a bit harder to shape it. If the dough pulls back too much and fights being stretched, cover it and let it rest a little while longer.
I prefer to make my dough by hand although you could just as easily use a table top mixer if you prefer. The amount of water you may need will depend on the type/brand of flour you use so the amount listed is approximate. If I use all white all-purpose flour I will need less water compared to dough made with half white and half white wheat flour. The dough should be slightly sticky yet smooth in texture when it is finished.
Deborah Mele 2011
Favorite Slow Rise Pizza Dough
A slow rise method creates a soft dough full of air pockets with lots of flavor.
- 8 Cups All-purpose Flour (or Alternatively, use 4 Cups All-Purpose Flour and 4 Cups White Wheat Flour)
- 2 1/2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
- 1 1/2 Packages Instant Yeast
- 1/3 Cup (2 ounces) Olive Oil
- 4 to 4 1/2 Cups Ice Cold Water
- 6 Tbsp. Easy Roll Dough Improver (Optional)
- Pour 7 cups of the flour onto the counter in a mound, creating a well in the center.
- Put the salt, yeast and olive oil in the center and then begin to pour the cold water in mixing it into the dough initially with a fork, and then with your hands.
- Continue to mix the water into the dough adding in the additional flour as needed until you have a workable mass.
- Knead the dough until smooth, about 8 minutes.
- Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in to rise for 30 minutes.
- Punch down the dough and divide it into 8 equal sized balls (about 250 to 300 grams each).
- Lightly oil each dough ball and wrap in plastic wrap, and store the dough balls you intend to use within the next couple of days in the refrigerator, and place the rest in an airtight storage bag and freeze.
- When you are ready to make you pizza, first leave the dough out in room temperature for at least an hour and a half.
- Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. and place a pizza stone in the oven to heat.
- Lightly flour a counter or bread board and using your fingertips, knuckles and heels of your hand push the dough out to a 12 to 13 inch circle.
- Place whatever toppings you choose on your pizza and then place it on a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, turning as needed until golden brown and bubbling.