Perfect Pizza – Jim Lahey’s No Knead Pizza Dough

Of all the posts I’ve ever done . . .

I’m most excited about this one.

My search for the PERFECT pizza crust is now over!

I’m serious now.

I’ve probably tried at least 100 different pizza crust recipes.

Some were good . . . some were bad . . . but none were worth making again & again.

Until I tried Jim Lahey’s No Knead Pizza Dough!

My only regret is that I didn’t take step by step pic’s for you.  I really didn’t have much faith in this recipe when I first read through it.  Flour, Salt, Water and 1/4 teaspoon yeast!  O.K….I thought, doesn’t sound great.  Eighteen hours . . . yeah right!  The recipe below didn’t really have great instructions, I think you will want to buy his book that just hit the shelves if you want more detailed step by step instructions.  I intend to buy it now, but what you see below is all I had when making this pizza.  I only added one additional ingredient:  I did add 1/2 teaspoon of white granulated sugar.  You add it or leave it out, but it was perfect!

Now . . . I tried my hardest to write good notes below the actual recipe.  PLEASE READ ALL THE NOTES BEFORE STARTING.  Remember, you must think ahead.  It’s all those long awaited hours of rising time that builds up the GLUTEN in the dough. It rises very very slowly because it only has 1/4 teaspoon of yeast.  This is what will make it the perfect crispy yet wonderfully chewy pizza crust. I used quick rise yeast just in case you’re wondering.

Since my hubbie & I can’t eat 4 pizzas at once, I did refrigerate the left-over dough.  I simply put it in a tupperware bowl with a good sealed lid and plopped it in the fridge.  Last night, we had company.  I decided to show them what Great pizza crust this recipe is.  I simply took the bowl of covered dough and let it sit out for a couple of hours until it was warm again.  Please read the notes from Lahey! You want to make sure that you don’t flatten all those nice bubbles out of the dough while you are shaping it!  Be gentle…..leave those air bubbles alone!!  Read ALL my notes below before you begin, and it will turn out fabulously!

I also tried a new red sauce recipe.  It will be below the pizza crust recipe.  It is from America’s Test Kitchen.  It’s very good.  Thumbs up!

I hope you try this recipe soon.  My search for the perfect pizza crust has now ended.  I found it!

 

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JIM LAHEY’S NO KNEAD PIZZA DOUGH

Note from Lahey: While I’m not picky about the flour—either bread flour or all-purpose is fine—what does concern me is how the dough is handled. Treat it gently so the dough holds its character, its texture. When you get around to shaping the disk for a pie, go easy as you stretch it to allow it to retain a bit of bumpiness (I think of it as blistering), so not all of the gas is smashed out of the fermented dough. I prefer to hold off on shaping the ball until just before topping it. If it’s going to sit for a while—more than a couple of minutes—cover it with a damp kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out. I offer you two approaches for shaping. The simpler one, executed completely on the work surface, is slower than the second, where you lift the disk in the air and stretch it by rotating it on your knuckles. Lifting it into the air to shape it is more fun, too.

Ingredients

serves makes 4 balls of dough, enough for 4 pizzas, active time 10 minutes, total time 8 to 18 hours

  • 500 grams (17 ½ ounces or about 3 ¾ 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 (1 ½ cups) water
  • NOTE:  I also added 1/2 tsp. sugar

Procedures

  1.  In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon or your hands, mix thoroughly.

  2.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature (about 72°F) 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.

  3.  Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shape them:  Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. The mounds should not be sticky; if they are, dust with more flour. Let the rounds of dough sit for at least 30 minutes to one hours longer.  (MAKE SURE THEY ARE COVERED WELL, SO THE DOUGH DOESN’T DRY OUT)

    *Take a ball of dough, and sprinkle flour on top & bottom so that it’s not sticky.  Start by pressing your fingers in the center of the ball, and carefully moving outward.  You objective is to make the center thinner than the edges.  Once you know that it’s not sticky, pick it up and starting at the edge, start stretching the dough…..moving around the edge of the whole circle.  As you continue moving around all the edges of the circle of dough, it will grow in size.  The dough will bubble up and thicken as it bakes, so try to get the dough as thin as possible without making holes in the dough.  Leave the outer edges a bit thicker.

  4.  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.

     

    MY NOTES:  

    PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE OR VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING

    The dough will seem quite sticky, but that’s o.k.  You will flour a work surface quite heavily, so it all works fine.  You need to make this the night before, or do what I did: (right or wrong – it worked!)

    I made the dough at about 6:30 a.m. I preheated my oven on the lowest setting which is 170 degrees.  TURN OFF THE HEAT. Lay a clean towel across the center rack of the warm oven.  Place the dough in a oiled glass or tupperware type bowl with a good lid, or seal well with saran wrap.  You don’t want the dough to dry out.  Place the bowl in the warm oven (turned off) and let the dough sit until it’s doubled fully in size.  This takes many many hours, since there is only 1/4 tsp. yeast in the dough.  The sugar I added is optional, but turned out great.

    When you are ready to make a pizza, you will think that it doesn’t seem like very much dough.  I wanted a thin, crisp but chewy crust and you will get 4 – 10″ pizzas with this dough!

     

    PREHEATING THE OVEN AND THE PIZZA STONE (don’t skip this)

    At least 30 to 45 minutes before baking the pizza, you will want to turn your oven on to 500 degrees.  Place the pizza stone on oven rack – about 8 inches from the heating element towards the top of the oven.  Close the door, and heat that stone! 


    SHAPING THE DOUGH

    Take a ball of dough, and sprinkle flour on top & bottom so that it’s not sticky.  Start by pressing your fingers in the center of the ball, and carefully moving outward.  You objective is to make the center thinner than the edges.  Once you know that it’s not sticky, pick it up and starting at the edge, start stretching the dough…..moving around the edge of the whole circle.  As you continue moving around all the edges of the circle of dough, it will grow in size.  The dough will bubble up and thicken as it bakes, so try to get the dough as thin as possible without making holes in the dough.  Leave the outer edges a bit thicker.

    When you have about a nice 10″ circle or any shape will do, you are ready to make pizza!

    Important note:  If you don’t have a pizza peel that you have floured well and assembled the pizza on, you can either use a large floured cutting board, or turn a large cookie sheet over, flour it very well, and assemble pizza on top of it.  You want enough flour on the bottom of the circle of dough, so that you can take it to the hot oven, and quickly SLIDE it off it’s surface onto the very hot Pizza stone. (If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can still make this pizza.  Put a baking sheet in the oven upside down and heat it well, then slide your pizza onto the baking sheet.  It might take slightly longer to bake.

     

    BAKING OPTIONS:      I used option 1, but if you do it this way . . . you must have everything prepared and ready to QUICKLY  top the pizza with sauce & toppings!

    (1)  Place your nicely formed pizza dough on the very very hot pizza stone.  Close the oven door for about 1 minute. The pizza will start to bubble up very nicely, and develop a crust.  Quickly open oven door, and spoon sauce over the crust. Sprinkle with Parmesan if desired. Add grated mozzarella cheese over the sauce.  Add additional toppings and SHUT THE DOOR FAST!  My picture shows a Hawaiian Pizza with Ham & Pineapple.

    (2)  Assemble the dough and apply sauce & toppings before placing the pizza on the hot stone.

     

    BAKING TIME:  This will vary from oven to oven, but my thin crust pizzas only took about 8 to 10 minutes.  Make sure that the bottom of the pizza is nice & golden as well.  If the top is golden, but you want the bottom to cook longer.  Carefully move the stone to a LOWER RACK for a short amount of time.  Remove the stone from the oven and place on a HEAT PROOF SURFACE.  Use a pizza cutter, and cut pizza into slices.

    Note:  This is big!  My husband gave this pizza rave reviews.  He thought it was better than any pizza that we have ever ordered in a great pizzeria! My search for a pizza crust recipe is now over. We loved this.

     

    PIZZA SAUCE

    adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

    • 1(28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and liquid discarded  (I used 1 – 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes instead)
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 heaping teaspoon of granulated white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (optional – I left this out)
    • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons) Note:  I used one clove)
    • 1 teaspoon table salt
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
    FOR THE SAUCE:  Process all ingredients in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. (Only if using whole peeled tomatoes) Otherwise you can just mix all ingredients together with a whisk.  Transfer to medium bowl or container – cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
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  • Jane Doiron - May 7, 2012 - 5:26 am

    Jonna, this looks so good! Thanks for another great recipe! Hopefully, my pizza crust search will be over now too! 🙂

    Feel free to link up this recipe to my Melt in Your Mouth Monday Blog Hop!

    http://www.makeaheadmealsforbusymoms.com/melt-in-your-mouth-monday-blog-hop-64/ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - May 7, 2012 - 5:33 am

    I love how easy this is!! Yum!ReplyCancel

  • karen - May 7, 2012 - 7:21 am

    Is there anyway to shorten the rising time. I would either forget that I made it or forget to make it?ReplyCancel

    • Jonna - May 7, 2012 - 9:18 am

      Hi Karen,

      This also works well, because I’ve already put it to the test:
      Turn your oven on and heat it to 170 degrees, then TURN THE OVEN OFF.
      Place a nice thick clean towel on the middle rack of the oven. Place your pizza dough (covered with a lid or saran wrap) on top of the towel.
      AGAIN….Make sure the oven has been turned off. Let it sit inside the warm oven until it has risen fully double.
      Hope this helps,
      JonnaReplyCancel

  • Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies - May 7, 2012 - 5:09 pm

    I’m really glad you went to the trouble to test all these pizza dough recipes, because I’m not sure I would have had the patience for it! This one sounds perfect, I can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Joy - May 8, 2012 - 8:25 pm

    I’m loving your recipes and your blogs! Made the cheesy potatoes to go with steaks tonight and I’m hooked. I’ll be back to stalk more later…ReplyCancel

  • Lillian - May 9, 2012 - 6:03 pm

    I have this same recipe to make a loaf of ciabatta bread! It’s my favorite bread to make! So easy and so airy! I top my bread dough with olive oil and spices before baking! I’m craving it just thinking about it! It’s called ‘No Knead Bread’…I’ve also seen it called ‘One Minute Bread’.ReplyCancel

  • Brenda Lawson - May 11, 2012 - 10:13 am

    Can’t wait to try this…quick question. What temp. of water did you use? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Jonna - May 11, 2012 - 11:45 am

      Just very warm tap water. The same as you would use for any yeast recipe.
      I’m sorry his recipe didn’t give a temp.
      Hope this helps,
      JonnaReplyCancel

  • Charity - May 17, 2012 - 11:17 am

    If you don’t have a pizza peel, covering the bottom of a cookie sheet with cornmeal also works, but I use parchment paper instead. This recipe is very similar to the Artisan Bread I make all the time – can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Anita - June 30, 2012 - 10:53 am

    I’ve made this a half-dozen times for my family already – WE LOVE IT. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    An extra tip that may help you. I rarely get it made 18 hours in advance, or even a whole day, so I increase the amount of yeast accordingly so it will rise in time for me to prepare it. If I just have a few hours till dinner, I’ll put in up to 1 tsp of yeast, and it turns out great.

    I also prepare the crust and put it on a sheet of aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick spray or parchment paper. Then when I want to bake it I can transfer it back and forth from my counter and the oven pretty easily.ReplyCancel

  • ann - October 7, 2012 - 3:24 pm

    Help, Jonna! I used regular cold filtered tap water to make this batch! Did I fail by not using 100-105 degrees water?
    I could just kick myself for not paying attention. Thank JonnaReplyCancel

    • Get Off Your Butt and BAKE! - October 7, 2012 - 4:09 pm

      Hi Ann,

      With todays yeast, you should still be o.k…BUT it will take much longer for your yeast to work!
      I suggest turning your oven on to the LOWEST TEMPERATURE POSSIBLE…150 to possibly 170 degrees F and let it come to that temp.
      TURN YOUR OVEN OFF, and place a clean kitchen towel over the oven rack. Place your COVERED HEAT RESISTANT BOWL (make sure it’s covered) and place the bowl of dough on top of the clean towel. DO NOT TURN THE OVEN ON NOW! Close the oven door, but leave a slight crack in the door. Just place a spoon handle or something in the door, if it won’t stay slight ajar. Leave the dough in there for a couple of hours until you see some rise in the dough. You could also place in a very warm area of your house, if the sun is shining down on you today. This won’t be quite as fast though. Good luck, unless you killed the yeast, this method should work.

      JonnaReplyCancel

  • Ann - October 7, 2012 - 6:24 pm

    It worked! Thank you Jonna! The dough is rising, slowly but surely. You are a life saver.

    I love your blogs. Your writing is whimsical and the instructions are very thorough.

    Please keep up with the blogging.ReplyCancel

  • jessica - December 22, 2012 - 11:36 am

    Can’t wait to make this next week!!!!ReplyCancel

  • April - February 15, 2016 - 3:04 pm

    I’ve made this recipe many many times and it’s never failed me. It’s so freaking good and impossibly easy to make! I recently got the Baking Steel Griddle, which I preheat for an hour at 550 degrees and then bake the pizza for 7 to 9 minutes on parchment paper (so that the pizza slides in and out of the oven easier). I’ve even made this the same day by just increasing the amount of yeast for a faster rise. If you haven’t made this dough, you really should, you won’t be disappointed.ReplyCancel

    • Get Off Your Butt and BAKE - February 16, 2016 - 2:18 pm

      Hi April

      Thanks so much for letting us know you’ve tried this. We love, love love this pizza dough. Once you try this,
      you really have no need to order out again. It so fast to make, and keep in the fridge for a quick pizza!
      I use a pizza stone, but I will look into the Baking Steel Griddle. The hotter the better!

      Thanks again,

      JonnaReplyCancel

  • renee - April 9, 2016 - 2:43 pm

    like others said, when i make my pizza, i use parchment paper, too. it works wonders for me. i put a bit of flour on the paper, slap the dough on, and work it. then just slide the whole thing onto the stone(easier with a 2 person team). then when done, slide the parchment onto a plate. did you ever try it on the bbq? mmm..ReplyCancel