When I first started making pizza I found it amazing how quick it was to make. You could start with flour and have a proper dough made by hand in less than 30 minutes.
When speed is of the essence, I still make a quick pizza dough. Speed has its advantages in a busy life but I’ve found that a little bit of planning creates a far superior end result.
Here’s a photo of a pizza dough after rising (slightly collapsed; it was as tall as the bowl) and after a few quick folds:
When possible, I make our dough at least 12 hours before we use it. I cover it in a layer of olive oil and then let it sit in a covered bowl. I place the bowl in a warm spot of the house (typically this is high on top of the kitchen cupboards) and forget about it. When I pull it down for use it looks like a bubbly mess.
Scatter a tablespoon (or so) of flour on your cutting board and fold the dough a few times, gently kneading. You can use it right away or let it sit, covered, in your fridge for several days. It will get better as it sits as we found out this summer; we made large pizza dough on vacation and made pizza lunch for 3 successive days from the dame batch and could taste it improve day over day.
When you let dough rest like this, several things happen:
- It becomes super easy to work with and roll out – this will produce the ultimate flat crust pie.
- The smell becomes rich and yeasty. The taste also develops a slightly sour, umami-like taste that’s superior to flour and water.
- Small air pockets are forms which keeps your dough light (and can cause dough ‘bubbles’ that people either love or hate).
Our core recipe for pizza dough is here (I’ve been playing with it lately and will share any lessons or success); you can let it rest or use it after 10-minutes as described there. If you’ve never made pizza dough before, I can’t stress just how easy – and fantastic – it is!