We’ve been making pizza in wood fired ovens for a few years now. The ovens have evolved over time and so has the dough. When I first started making dough I used a recipe from “The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book” and used only whole wheat flour. Nutrition is important to me and I was determined to master the art of baking with whole grains. The dough was good. It had nice nutty flavor and was fairly workable and light. But it wasn’t easy to stretch, it ripped often and was hard to get thin enough for our taste. With experience my dough has changed and continues to change. Here is the recipe that I now regularly use. It is easy, flexible and tastes great. Every time we make pizza, people rave about the dough.
This recipe makes about 18, 12oz. rounds. Smaller batches can be easily calculated for smaller mixers or kneading by hand.
2360ml warm water
In a large bowl, pour the warm water over the yeast, then add the honey. Stir to hydrate the yeast and dissolve the honey, then let it sit for several minutes until the mixture is frothy.
900g whole wheat flour
900g white all purpose flour
900g white bread flour
120ml olive oil
Mix together in the bowl of a 20q mixer on speed 1, adding up to 480ml more water until the dough is smooth and moist. Mix for about 5 minutes, then increase the speed to 2 and continue to mix for 1 minute. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then mix again on speed 1 for another 2 minutes.
(note: These times are suggestions. I don’t usually use a timer other than to remind me that I am in the process of making dough that needs to be tended. Sometimes things like children and laundry pull me away from a task that is then forgotten until it’s too late.)
Pull dough out of the mixer and place in a large, (remember, your dough will grow!) covered bin in a warm place for about 1.5 hours, until it has doubled in size.
Flop dough out onto a lightly floured counter, fold in thirds, turn 90 degrees, fold in thirds again. Return to the bin, in a warm place for about 1 more hour.
Repeat previous step. Let rise again for .5 – 1 hour.
When the dough is ready, divide it into 12oz pieces. Round the pieces to make smooth, tight balls of dough and let them rest, covered, for about half an hour. The dough balls are ready to be stretched when they are relaxed.
Stretch, top and make some delicious pizzas!
This dough can also be mixed the night before it’s used. To do this, follow the recipe through the first rise, then place the dough, covered, in the refrigerator overnight. Pull the dough out three or four hours before you plan on cooking, fold it as described above, let it rest then divide it. This makes an even more pliable dough with perfect oven spring and more robust flavor.
As I said before, this dough is easy to mix and flexible. The resting times can be rushed or savored. If you’re running short on time, skip one rise and jump right into shaping the dough after the second rise or be a real rebel and only do one rise. It might not be as perfect a pizza dough, but it will still work and taste good. Experiment and see how it changes and figure out how YOU like it best.