Making pizza dough is so simple and only uses four ingredients - flour, water, salt, and yeast. However, the one factor that most recipes omit is time. The longer the dough rests, the more flavor there is. Also, time allows all the flour and water to mingle with each other to create a very elastic dough that can be stretched without tearing.
This recipe utilizes a wet starter dough that rests overnight, also known as a poolish, which creates flavor and texture that results in better pizza dough. This cannot be achieved by any other method.
This recipe makes two 10-inch pizzas but can be stretched to 11-12 inches for thin pizza. One pizza is good for two people.
Testing Pizza Dough
The first pizza dough I made was done in 30 minutes. It was dense, tasted like yeast, and all-around not appealing. The second attempt using a different recipe was a same-day pizza dough and it was acceptable but bland. Using the same recipe as my second attempt, I waited overnight this time and the pizza tasted amazing. There was flavor in the crust and it was light and fluffy.
Lastly, I tried the poolish method, which uses all the yeast and half the amount of flour and water to create a dough sponge that sat overnight. I combined the ingredients the morning after. The flavor and texture were the best compared to the other variations. It was amazing that you could make pizza dough this good at home with so little yeast.
Timeline for Pizza Dough
There is a total of three rises that should be done at least a day in advance from the day you want the pizza. Once the dough is made, you can use it without having to wait.
Wait times (Total time 23 hours):
First Rise (Step 1): 12 to 14 hours
First Fold (Step 2): 30 minutes
Second Fold (Step 3): 30 minutes
Second Rise (Step 4): 6-8 hours
Divide the dough, final rise and ready to use: minimum 2 hours
The dough does not have to be used immediately after the final rise. It can sit in the fridge for up to two days.
Evening sample schedule:
You can start the recipe at 7 pm, begin the folds the next day at 9 am, begin the second rise at 10 am, divide the dough at 4 pm, and it is ready to use by 6 pm.
Morning sample schedule:
You can start the recipe at 9 am, begin the folds at 10 pm, begin the second rise at 11 pm, divide the dough at next day at 7 am, and it is ready to use by 9 am.
The main ingredients to this recipe are flour, water, salt, and yeast. A very little amount of yeast goes a long way and doesn’t give the dough a yeasty flavor.
It is VERY important to weigh the ingredients in this recipe. Having 10 grams or 1 tsp more water can make the dough stickier and harder to work with.
After discovering the poolish method was the best technique, I varied the flour from all-purpose to 00 flour (flour used in Italy to make pizza) and a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour.
The 00 flour made a good pizza but wasn’t significantly better than using King Arthur’s All-Purpose flour especially since it was a specialty flour and was hard to find. It would require ordering it online or going to a specialty Italian supermarket or spice store.
The whole-wheat pizza had a lot of whole wheat flavor that clashes with the flavor from the sauce and pizza toppings.
If you don’t have King Arthur’s All-Purpose Flour, use Bread Flour. Other brands of all-purpose flour have less protein content which causes the dough to not rise as much. Cook’s Country has a blog post about all-purpose flour that showcases the difference and is a fantastic read!
A poolish is a sponge with equal parts of flour and water with a bit of yeast that is left to ferment over a long period. After mixing your ingredients with your hands or with a silicone spatula, it should look like this.
Cover and rest for 12 to 14 hours at room temperature. After 12 to 14 hours, there are visible bubbles on the surface with some bubbles that have popped.
Step 2: Making the dough
Incorporate all the ingredients together.
The dough will be very sticky, so it may be best to use a silicone spatula.
The easiest way to remove the dough from your hands is to wet the other hand with water, make a 👌 around each doughy finger and slide your finger out of the middle.
Step 3 & 4: Creating the folds
Wet your hand to prevent your fingers from sticking to the dough. In the bowl, pinch the dough, pull, and bring it back to the center. Continue doing this around the dough until you’ve reached the first pull. Keep your hands wet to prevent sticking.
Step 5: Divide the dough into two
Lightly flour your surface and remove the dough from the bowl. I’ve found the easiest way to do this is to use a silicone spatula and run it along the sides of the dough. Use a bench scraper to divide the dough into two. I like to use a scale to make sure each piece has the same amount of dough.
Step 6 and 7: Shape and Refrigerate
Shape each piece into a ball. Be gentle with the dough to avoid popping too many air bubbles. It’s okay to pop the big ones.
Flour the bottom of a plate, bowl, or plastic container and put each dough ball in. Make sure that there is room for the dough to expand. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator and wait at least 2 hours before baking. The longer you wait to bake the dough, the more flavor there will be.
For the best flavor, wait 1-2 days before baking.
Overnight No-Knead Pizza Dough
Yields (10-inch Pizza)
Poolish (Step 1)
Dough (Step 2)
Grease bowl (Step 4)
Mix the poolish ingredients with a silicone spatula or by hand until all the flour is incorporated. Cover and leave overnight at room temperature for about 12 - 14 hours. The mixture will triple in size and have a lot of bubbles on the surface.
Mix the dough ingredients with the poolish mixture with a silicone spatula or by hand until all the flour is incorporated. Cover and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Wet your hand with water. In the bowl, pinch the edge of the dough, pull, and bring to the center. Continue doing this around the dough until you've reached the first pull. Cover and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Repeat the previous step. Remove the dough from the bowl. Lightly grease the bowl and the dough with oil. Cover and rest at room temperature for 6 hours.
Flour your hands and lightly flour your countertop. Remove the dough from the bowl using your hand or a silicone spatula. Handle the dough with care. Dust the top of the dough with flour and divide into two.
Delicately shape each piece into a ball without removing too many air bubbles.
Flour the bottom of a plate, bowl, or plastic container and put each dough ball in. Make sure that there is room for the dough to expand. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator and wait at least 2 hours before baking. The longer you wait to bake the dough, the more flavor there will be. Best flavor: Wait 1-2 days before baking.
・ Calories: 788 kcal
・ Carbohydrates: 152.7 g
・ Protein: 20.7 g
・ Fat: 8.8 g
・ Sodium: 8 mg
・ Fiber: 5.4 g