Sunday, March 4, 2012

Food: No Knead Pizza Dough

When the new Bon Appetit arrived it had a tasty looking pizza on the cover. I'll be the first one to admit that for the most part, pizza that comes out of the home oven doesn't taste very good. I'd say the one exception is Grandma or "Nonna" style pizza, which is meant to be made in a home oven. That, however, is a post for another day.

Imagine my skepticism when I saw that pizza with "no knead" in the caption below it. "It's gonna suck," I thought. My one kernel of hope, was that Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery authored this particular recipe. His book "My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method" has been getting props for its easy to make recipes. I felt that if he was willing to put his name on it, it had to at least be decent.

I've attached a link to the recipe here, so I don't have to rehash the whole thing. Here are some accompanying pictures to show what my results were.

After 18 Hours (yeasty frothy goodness)

 Dumped out and ready to divide

Dough Balls

Finished Mushroom and Red Onion Pizza

Here are some notes from my experience:
  • When you initially mix everything together it will be lumpy. Don't worry. That's the way it looks.
  • The recipe calls for 18 or more hours. I found that 18 hours was plenty, but I also put the mixture in the warmest room in my house. At this time of year, a cold house might mean a longer ferment.
  • I use a Lodge caster iron pizza pan because I can move it around in the oven instead of fumbling with a pizza stone. Start the pizza away from the broiler for the first five minutes. When things look like there pretty close to being done, move the pizza up to the broiler. I find this method leads to a more tender crust with a good amount of char. Too much time under the broiler dries out the dough and makes it tough.
  • I go fresh mozzarella on this one just because it has a tendency to not brown as easily as the other stuff. I've had good results with Maplebrook out of Vermont, it not in brine and doesn't release as much moisture. (It also doesn't keep as long, so you have to use it quickly.)
  • I don't make sauce. Use whatever plum tomatoes you prefer and simply crush them with your hands (blending cracks the seeds and makes things bitter). I add sea salt to taste.  Done.
For oven made pizza it's a very good recipe. When you consider this is about as close to "so easy a caveman could do it" as you can get, it's a slam dunk.


  1. I'll definitely be trying this. I actually like oven pizza better than 90% of what I can get out, maybe because I like thin crust (but it wouldn't work without my pizza screen). Or maybe my oven does a good job at 500 degrees, who knows.

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