Pizza dough 201

In my continuing search for the perfect pie, One item has been the thorn in my Italian-American foot, the dough, I am getting close to virtual all-around pizza fulfillment though.

My third experiment of the week has me giddy. Its 50% (2 cups) Italian 00 flour, and 50% (2 cups) All Purpose flour. 1.5 cups, plus 2 tablespoons of water.
Fresh yeast, 1 teaspoon diluted in some of the water, slightly warmish with a touch of the flour, for 20 minutes wait time mentioned below.
I put 75% of the flour and all of the water, save for about 1 tablespoon mentioned above, in the Cusinart with dough hook and pulse a few times, cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Then I add the wet fresh yeast, salt (2 teaspoons) and balance of flour to that. Pulse a few minutes trying not to heat it up too much. Knead on floured board for 5 minutes, roll into a ball and covered. Let sit for 1 hour, covered. Then punch down, split in 2 or 3 parts and refrigerate for 24 hours.
What a pleasure and scent from this batch. I think the fresh yeast is key, and should be readily available if you check around. Well worth the effort.

I am following the ‘Vera Pizza Napoletana’ methodology. (other than the non Italian flour).

What is Pizza Napoletana? | How to Make Pizza Napoletana" onclick=";return false;

Tonight I test it on La Familia.

My Mom and Grandmother always used fresh yeast. I may sound totally clueless, but do you think there really is a difference?

Mike (and other bakers),

One question that’s been bugging me for the past few days now: when talking about “% hydration” what exactly does that mean? If I use simple math (divide amount of liquid by amount of flour), your recipe works out to 37.5% hydration. Is this correct?

I will let you know when the results come in. Early results ay yes, as does the Mrs who spent her teens working in a London bakery.

Jorge, good question. When you recipe by weight you can get to 60% hydration, and it basically means 60% water, 40% dry goods.

The Varasano site is a wonderful resource.

Couple of interesting things about the official Napoletana recipe and method, to me. First is that it mandates type “0” yeast. I don’t know what this is exactly, but I would surmise that it’s largely responsible for the fermentation flavors that develop in the dough. I’m very surprised to see that native starters are not allowed under the regulations. Second thing is the fermentation temp, 25C. I would have guessed that they would have at least done a cool ferment, at say 12-15C.

Very curious to see what your experience is this time around, Mike. Do you typically use 00 flour? What characteristics do you think it imparts to the dough?

looks like I have some experimenting to do this weekend. Thanks Mike

Ok, so other than the temp, the flour and the yeast, I am following ‘Vera Pizza Napoletana’ to a T.

My family loved the new pizza crust. They are a tough bunch.
It was a bit more airy and light, but tasty enough and chewy enough. I love the results myself. I may double the yeast next time just for the hell of it.
My pies went 9 minutes to perfection,but surely could have gone 10 to char. 510 F

No it doesn’t-it means that the water weighs 60% of the weight of the flour!

Thanks for clarifying. Never good at math in school.

Have you given up on grilled pizza altogether then?

Nice avatar Mike!

I’m thinking about buying one of their Pizza ovens (from Forno Bravo). Anyone have any experience with them?


I got the Mugnaini kit, but its basicaly 9 peices of Terra Cota that is the center of the oven, and you build the rest. The forno bravo looks like almost exactly the same thing." onclick=";return false;

Try to check out a couple before you build. Get the largest size. It will hold a whole lamb or pig, and doesn’t cost that much more once you condider the total structure.

Also, if your gonna go to the effort, consider building a grill next to it? I typically do not use both simultaneously, but if your gonna sink the money, its nice to not want another component later. I doubled the footprint laterally and put in a 52 x 24 propane grill at the same time with the same roof as the forno over it. I know its overkill, and I know charcoal tastes better, but it’s so nice to come home and be able to grill something tasty in less than 10 minutes.

I am building my own pizza oven in the next few weeks. Low budget experiment.
This clay chimenea with a fitted steel rack and the pizza stone from WS." onclick=";return false;

It could work. Its big enough. Just needs a door system.

Thanks for the tips Peter. Yes, I will likely for a larger size that can accommodate 4-5 pizzas or a small creature. The idea of a grill next to it sounds good. Right now I have two, one just for wood/charcoal and one propane for those days, like you’ve said, when we need a quick fix.


I just made ciabatta bread. Two loaves rising. Is the dough supposed to be this wet and sticky? Rather than shape it, I spatula’d out two loaves on parchment paper after letting it do a 20 minute rise in a bowl.

Those with the pizza stone, or presumably a cookie sheet should try to make ciabatta bread! I ate the last of the stuff I made yesterday for breakfast this morning with some sharp cheddar.

My guests at dinner last night loved it. Dozens of recipes on the net, I made mine with 4 cups flour and did not make a sponge.

I think my dough was a little too wet, but the recipe cautioned about resisting the urge to add water. I need to give in to the urge next batch and see why I need to resist the urge? The dough being kinda wet tends to lay a little flat, just like… ciabatta bread!

Ciabatta in Italian means slipper. I think its because of the large bubbles the bread forms.

Peter, did you add anything to the top of the ciabatta. I poke my fingers in the top to leave indentation, add a splash on olive oil, sprinkle rock salt and rosemary. This works great on sandwichs the next day.

I poked holes in the top and was planning to spritz top with water but did not. I wanted warm bread to go with some cheeses when my guests arrived as appetizer. So while bread was cooking I was juggling peppers, artichokes, corn, pork steaks and pork back ribs on the grill and multi-tasking turned to triage… The ciabatta turned out really good.

What’s your dough recipe?