no-knead pizza dough

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Minnesota Food Blogger event that involved making pizza.  And not only did I make pizza with a bunch of awesome food bloggers, but we were taught how to make pizza dough and toss it in the air by Zoe Francois.  Not only is Zoe the author of two amazing books on baking bread, flatbread, and pizza dough, but she is adorable and funny, and made the entire night a blast.  

Each blogger got a goody bag to take home and along with some flour and yeast we took home a copy of Zoe’s book Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5 Minutes a Day.  I couldn’t wait to dive into it head first and make me some pizza dough!  Even though I was a little hesitant due to my rough history with yeasted recipes, Zoe assured us that her recipe was fool-proof.  I put my trust in her and decided to do a “pizza night” with some friends this weekend.  Though I may have bought a few of Trader Joe’s pizza doughs just in case.  Turned out, we didn’t need them!  

The dough came out beautifully and I seriously couldn’t believe the pizzas we made came from my kitchen.  The pizza crust was amazing.  The best part?  The recipe was incredibly easy, requiring just some planning ahead.  Basically, you combine all of the ingredients the day (or days!) before you want to make pizza, let it rise for a couple of hours, then stick it in the fridge until you want some ‘za.  That’s it!

For pizza night, we all brought toppings, and we were pretty much rolling out pizzas for 2 hours straight.  My favorite was the combo was pear, Gorgonzola cheese, and onions, but our other toppings included feta cheese, salami, prosciutto, mushrooms, artichokes, olives, tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella.  There was some pretty serious pizza making going on.  While I don’t have exact step-by-step photos of making the pizzas, there were some pictures taken that show some of the process. And yes, I highly encourage drinking beer while doing so.  
After you cut off an orange-sized chunk from the big bowl of dough, you are to shape it into a ball in 20 to 30 seconds.  No more, no less.  Do this by stretching the dough around to the bottom of all four sides, rotating a quarter-turn as you go to form a ball.  This is what I was doing in the picture above.
 Then, you roll out and stretch the pizza dough.  You can flatten it with your hands (see below) or use a rolling pin.  Or a wine bottle if you are like me and don’t have a rolling pin (see above).
Once your pizza dough is onto a well-floured pizza peel (we used a cutting board), you add your toppings.  This was our pear, onion, and gorgonzola cheese pizza.  
Then you bake it onto a preheated baking stone or non-preheated baking sheet and bake until done and looks like the first picture.  

I’m including the recipe from Zoe’s book, but I would 100% recommend buying her book for tons of useful tips, tricks, and helpful information about baking pizza.  

No-Knead, Fail-Proof Pizza Dough

3 1/2 cups lukewarm water (100 degrees or below)
1 tablespoon of granulated yeast
1 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
additional flour or cornmeal for the pizza peel

Directions:

Place warm water in 5-quart bowl and add yeast and salt to the water.  Don’t worry about getting them to dissolve completely. 

Measuring the flour with the scoop-and-sweep method, which you place the measuring cup directly into the bag of flour and scooping a full measure at once (not the spoon-and-sweep method which will result in less flour), add to water and yeast mixture.  Mix with a wooden spoon or paddle attachment on stand mixer, until the last bit of flour is incorporated and everything is uniformly moistened.  Don’t knead!

Cover with a non-airtight lid or plastic wrap with a hole poked in it, and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours.  Don’t punch down the dough!

After rising, refrigerate and use over the next 14 days. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, ideally overnight, before using.  

On the day of making pizza, prepare and measure toppings in advance so you are ready once your pizza dough is shaped.

Thirty minutes before you’re ready to bake, preheat a baking stone (if you have one) at your oven’s highest temperature.  Place it on the bottom third of the oven.  If you don’t have a baking stone, you can use a baking sheet.  Place a piece of parchment paper onto baking sheet.  

Prepare a pizza peel with flour or cornmeal to prevent your pizza from sticking to it when you slide it in the oven, or onto a baking sheet.  

Next, get your dough out and cut off an orange-sized ball of dough.  Hold the dough in your hands and add a little more flour so it doesn’t stick to your hands.  Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the dough a quarter-turn as you go to form a ball.  

Once you have formed a ball, roll out and stretch the pizza crust.  You can do this with your hands or a rolling pin to produce a 1/8-inch-thick round, 12-inches across.  Keep adding flour to keep it from sticking to your surface.  

Add your toppings, leaving a 1/2-inch border, then slide the pizza onto preheated stone or baking sheet.  Your pizza should be done in 8-10 minutes, or when the crust is golden brown and the cheese is slightly browned.

Cut into slices, and enjoy!  

You can store remaining dough in the refrigerator in a lidded, but not airtight, container for up to 14 days.  

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