Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough

I have used Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread Dough recipe for almost a year now. I'll do a blog posting about it soon. This post however, is about his PIZZA DOUGH.

I decided to try this recipe cause I love no-knead doughs!!! I have always been kneading doughs by hand but after hurting my wrist, it's been painful to knead doughs. Sob! Sob! I don't have a stand mixer to do my dough kneading for me too!

The only 'problem' with no knead doughs is the long rising time, often 12-18 hours. The difference between this pizza dough and most no knead doughs is that this dough is extremely dry. I could hardly fully moisten the flour mixture with the water.

I started mixing this recipe the night before. The pizza dough at about 11pm;
Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough Start

The pizza dough after 12 hours - about 11am;
Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough Halfway

The pizza dough after 18 hours; about 5pm. Can you see all the tiny bubbles? That means it has risen well;
Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough Done Rising

After forming it into balls. I intentionally wanted it to be different sizes. Smaller pizzas for another day;
Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough Balls

The cast of ingredients for a Hawaiian Pizza (besides the dough balls):

Left to Right – tomato sauce with mixed herbs (I didn't want to bother making pizza sauce this round), a mix of shredded cheddar, colby and mozzarella cheeses, cornmeal (in a bag), chopped canned pineapples, ham pieces;
Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough Ingredients

Do you see a hand pinching some ham? That's my son. He LOOOOVES ham. I control his ham intake cause it's not healthy to eat so much processed food. There is all that sodium, nitrates, etc etc.

Although I have made pizzas a couple of times, I still can't master hand shaping it into its signature round shape. The middle portion always tears before the sides are thin enough. I decided to just roll it flat (with my trust rolling pin) into a rectangle.
Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough Rectangle

Now is the fun part, loading up the pizza dough with the goodies:
Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough-Hawaiian Pizza
 To make a good pizza like the Italians, a few things are essential. Since I do not make pizzas all that often, I have found substitutes for these things:
  1. Wood fire oven. Unfortunately, I can't use any substitute here! My only weak substitute is to heat up my electric oven as hot as possible.
  2. A pizza stone. I don't own or want to buy a pizza stone so I use a large floor tile as my pizza stone! It works very well cause the tile heats up nicely and retains the heat. You want a really hot surface so that once the dough hits it, the dough will quickly cook and have a nice crisp underside.
  3. A pizza peel. It is used to get the pizza on and off the pizza stone. I use a baking sheet instead. The additional trick that I employ is to use cornmeal to line my baking sheet before placing my pizza dough on it. The cornmeal acts like little ball bearings to slide the dough easily onto the hot tile. Besides, cornmeal dusted pizza doughs taste amazing! Try it. It makes a big difference in your pizza eating experience.
I was actually having difficulty concentrating well on making this pizza cause this is my first time photographing the step-by-step processes. So....... I made a few errors which resulted in this sad looking pizza;
Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough-Baked Hawaiian Pizza

I didn't heat my 'pizza stone' hot enough, therefore the dough didn't become crisp. I also didn't put enough cornmeal on my baking sheet so as I was trying to slide my pizza onto the 'pizza stone', it got stuck. I had to quickly shove the dough into the very HOT oven any which way.   : )

Overall though, I am quite happy with this pizza. It's a THOUSAND times better than Pizza Hut's. There's no exaggeration there. My pizza crust (although not as crisp as I would have liked it) is still crispy with just enough chew in it without being too tough. The topping amount is much more than what you can get commercially. The quality of ingredients are also much higher.

Here's the recipe:

Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough

Making the Dough
  • 500 grams (17 1/2 ounces or about 3 3/4 unsifted cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
  • 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 16 grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
  • 350 grams (11/2 cups) water
In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon and/or your hands, mix thoroughly.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled. It will take longer in a chilly room and less time in a very warm one.

Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shape them. For each portion, start with the right side of the dough and pull it toward the center, then do the same with the left, then the top, then the bottom. (The order doesn't actually matter; what you want is four folds.) Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. Mold the dough into a neat circular mound. The mounds should not be sticky; if they are, dust with more flour.

If you don't intend to use the dough right away, wrap the balls individually in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter, covered in a damp cloth, for 2 to 3 hours before needed.

Assembling and Baking the Hawaiian Pizza
Put the pizza stone on a rack in a gas oven about 8 inches from the broiler. Preheat the oven on bake at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Shaping the disk (Method 1): Take one ball of dough and generously flour it, your hands, and the work surface. Gently press down and stretch the ball of dough out to 10-12 inches. Don't worry if it's not round. Don't handle it more than necessary; you want some of the gas bubbles to remain in the dough. It should look slightly blistered. Flour the peel (or an unrimmed baking sheet) and lay the disk onto the center. It is now ready to be topped.

Shaping the disk (Method 2): Take one ball of dough and generously flour it, your hands, and the work surface. Gently press down and stretch the ball of dough out to 6-8 inches. Supporting the disk with your knuckles toward the outer edge and lifting it above the work surface, keep stretching the dough by rotating it with your knuckles, gently pulling it wider until the disk reaches 10-12 inches. Set the disk on a well-floured peel (or unrimmed baking sheet). It is now ready to be topped.

First, spread the herby tomato sauce all over the dough, leaving a ½” border all round empty. Then sprinkle as much cheese as your heart and tummy desires. Lastly add the juicy pineapple slices and the ham slices onto the dough.

With quick, jerking motions, slide the pie onto the stone. Broil for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes under gas (somewhat longer with an electric oven), until the top is bubbling and the crust is nicely charred but not burnt.

Using the peel, transfer the pizza to a tray or serving platter. Slice and serve immediately.
Adapted from

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