A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that on Saturday mornings I use my bread machine to prepare pizza dough for Sunday evening. Several people wrote to say they did the same thing, to complain that this was sacrilege, or just to ask:
“Can you share your recipe for bread machine pizza dough?”
The below makes around eight large, thin-base pizzas, so make half the below for a smaller family, or do the full batch but use some one day and some another (it should freeze, though I haven’t tried…)
The dough is good for flat-ish breads, or bread rolls, so one batch split over several days works well.
I might, for instance, use half my batch on the Saturday evening to make pizza dough sandwiches (flat loaves sliced open and filled with whatever people want to put in them), or bread rolls to eat with cheeses and salamis, keeping the rest until Sunday for the actual pizzas.
Or use the dough for Turkish pide on Saturday, followed by Italian pizza on Sunday. As anyone who has worked through our thirty-part series of free articles on the Roman empire will know, it’s all basically the same tradition, and one that goes back thousands of years!
1000g of 00-type flour (but whatever you have will probably do just as well, as long as it’s not gluten-free… The gluten is the point!)
600g of cold water (from the fridge, or even iced! Got this tip from my brother-in-law, who owns a pizzeria!)
30g of salt
4g of fresh yeast
one large and one small plastic bowl (for mixing)
two plastic bowls with lids (for storing the dough in the fridge)
And this is what to do with all that…
Measure the weight of the smallest mixing bowl, then press the ‘tare‘ button on your scales, if there is one, to net off the weight of the actual bowl, and pour in exactly 600g of cold water, removing any excess with a spoon.
Sprinkle in the 30g of salt until the scales show the total weight of 630g.
Put the small bowl aside and replace it on the scales with the larger bowl, press ‘tare’ again, so you’re weighing only the ingredients, not the bowl, and add 1000g of flour.
You’re done with the scales now, so give them a wipe and put them away.
Add a couple of handfuls of flour from the larger bowl to the smaller bowl – it doesn’t need to be exact, but around 10% of the total quantity of flour would be good. Stir the water/salt/flour mix to dissolve the salt, crushing the lumps of flour against the side of the bowl.
Now crumble approximately 4g of the fresh yeast into the cold water/salt/flour mix. That’s too little to weigh on my scales but would be a fifth of a 25g lump of yeast. Do it by eye. 5g will work just as well as 4g, I dare say. You don’t need to be precise, but with the yeast, less is more. A whole 25g lump would be way too much!
Pour the resulting sludgy fluid into your breadmaker pan, add the remaining flour on top, and select the pizza dough setting, if there is one. On my Lidl own brand machine, it’s number 12, which takes 45 minutes and which is basically just a series of mixing and resting stages. You could probably do something similar with any machine.
Or if you prefer to get sticky as hell, then knead it by hand. With this quantity of water, best of luck!
When the machine beeps, tip out the dough mix onto a floured surface, divide it into batches according to how/when you plan to use it, and put it into the bowls with lids, one for each day if you’re planning to use the dough as I do. They’ll store in your fridge for 24-72 hours (1-3 days), no worries. The only problem potentially being that they take up space that could otherwise be occupied by cooling bottles of beer…
But back to the dough, the longer the better, really, as it’s the time allowed, the very small quantity of yeast, the cold water and salt mix, and so on, that gets you an authentic Italian pizzeria result, meaning the sort of crust that even my Italian wife will happily chew on, rather than leaving it on the side of her plate, as Italians tend to do to demonstrate that they’re too rich, and thin, to care about eating overmuch.
This dough recipe also allows you to work the base very, very thin, which is how the pros do it in the part of Italy where I live.
If I’m using half the same day, I’ll leave it out of the fridge, but still in the bowl with the lid, and divide it into balls a couple of hours before using it, shaping them according to the desired use maybe thirty minutes before baking.
If not, then I’ll take the bowl from the fridge on the morning of the day I plan to use it and let it come to room temperature. When it has (after lunch), I divide it into balls and leave them to rise on a floured surface, covered with a damp cloth.
You should work the balls of dough into pizza discs shortly before baking them. Talking of which, you need the absolutely hottest setting your oven has, and ideally you should cook each pizza on a preheated pizza pan or oven tray, right on the oven’s top shelf where they’ll be exposed to the full blast of heat generated. Unfortunately that means cooking one at a time, which is a pain, but gets the best results.
Baking time is about seven minutes per pizza with my domestic oven, as long as the oven’s kept as hot as possible (open and close the door rapidly.)
The toppings (put on before baking, obviously) vary according to each family member’s preference. Mine is usually spicy salami sliced thinly, right off the sausage, black kalamon olives, gorgonzola (the ‘piccante’ type, not the ‘dolce’), any mozzarella that’s left over from topping the rest of the family’s, plus pickled peppers, just to lighten things up. It doesn’t have a name, yet.
N.b. If you’d like to share YOUR recipe, or otherwise join in the conversation, why not do so by leaving a comment on this article? That way it’s not just me that benefits from your culinary tips or prejudices.
And talking of pizzas, this week’s half-price eBoook of the Week is the B1 (intermediate) Zio Ciro e la pizza.
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Until Sunday night, Zio Ciro e la pizza costs just £3.99, rather than the usual £7.99.
Join Angela as she helps her Neapolitan uncle prepare pizzas for a special lunch, while learning the fascinating history of Napoli’s most famous dish!
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Catherine Denton-Clark says
Love to read your letters, thank you. I’m not a great cook so was wondering if you could tell me if this is the same dough used in making Panzerotti pugliesi which I’ve heard about and would like to try as they sound easy to make! Can these be made ‘gluten free’ at all? Many thanks, Catherine
Absolutely no idea, Catherine. Sorry. Italian cooking is incredibly regional, and I live in the north east. Puglia’s a long, long way south of here.
Regarding the gluten, you can do whatever you wish, but the way I heard it is that it’s the gluten, given enough time to act, that makes the dough stretchy, easy to work, and eventually, really good to eat!
Philippa Beasty says
Your article today was very useful. I do make my own pizza’s here often and they are good – well.. at least equal to Waitrose often better but I have never been confident in making the dough ahead of time – but I do know a longer slow rise does improve the flavour. I’ll be following your recipe and instructions next time . I make focaccia quite often and the last time I did let it do it’s second rise overnight in the fridge and then just brought it to room temperature the next morning – that worked really well.
Prego! I’ve never had Waitrose pizza, but am always pleased if mine come out better than those of the local pizzerie d’asporto.
Lynne F says
Hi Daniel Thanks for the recipe and interesting article. I have just left my bread dough to prove.. Not making pizza today just bread.
I don’t use a mixer or bread machine, just an ordinary oven although it does have a pizza setting and I like to get messy 🙂 Probably many years of being an early years teacher.
My recipe is basic although I use dried yeast. Unless you are lucky enough to have an artisan baker in the village fresh yeast is not so easy to get hold of. It is interesting that you use ice-cold water. When I make pizza I do freeze half the dough to use another time. I freeze it at the point where it is ready to go in the oven. When I want to use it I let it defrost slowly in the fridge then sprinkle with flour, shape, add the topping and cook in the normal way. Works for me.
I will have to give the cold water a try .
The bread machine is quite new – the last few years – though I’ve been making pizza on and off for thirty years and like you, mostly used dried yeast. During the pandemic, the only sort of yeast that could be had, though, were the half kilo blocks that we’re intedted for the restaurant trade, which was shut so couldn’t use them. I got through two at a huge discount (fresh yeast freezes fine.)
But the huge advantage of the BM is that I can do other things while it’s doing its thing, which is handy, as there’s always something urgent to do (besides feeding the family!)