The secret to great wood-fired pizza is in the quality of the dough. Try our simple guide to making authentic homemade pizza dough, and you’ll never go back to shop-bought pizza dough again!
Preparation and Cooking Time:
1000g of Flour
4 teaspoons of table salt
2 x 7g sachets of active dry yeast
650ml of warm (not hot) water
½ cup more all-purpose flour for kneading
4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
Tip all the 1000g of flour into a large bowl and create a well in the top of the flour and add the salt. Cover over the salt with flour to avoid any contact with the water/yeast mix you are going to pour into the bowl.
Mix the warm water, yeast and olive oil together with your hands and fingers. Rub the yeast into the water and stir until the yeast has blended with the warm water and olive oil.
Mix the contents of the jug into the flour by pouring in 3 measures. Pour it to the side of the flour and mix with your hands in a cork screw motion. The flour will gradually turn into a gooey, sticky mass as it transforms into dough. To avoid making the dough too sticky, hold back around 50ml of the watery mix in case the dough becomes too wet.
When the flour has absorbed all the water, the dough will be a putty-like consistency. A simple way to know you have the right dough consistency is that you shouldn’t have too much dough stuck around your fingers. When all the flour is mixed with the water solution you should have a large coconut sized, slightly sticky doughball.
Place the dough onto a floured worktop and knead, stretch and fold the dough for at least 5 minutes. You’ll feel the dough change from a gritty, gummy mass into a smooth, softer form. When you are happy that your dough resembles a non-sticky, silky ball it is ready to prove.
Put the dough back into the bowl and cover the bowl with cling film. The dough will rise considerably, so make sure the bowl is big enough for the dough to expand (you can use an airtight container instead, but make sure you grease the lid and base with a splash of extra-virgin olive oil).
Set it aside at room temp until it has almost doubled in size. After the dough has proved and almost doubled in size (at room temperature it will take about an hour), take it from the bowl/container and work it back into a ball shape.
Scatter a light dusting of flour on the work surface to keep the dough from sticking. Take the dough out of the bowl and place onto the flour.
There should be enough dough to make 6 to 8 pizzas, depending on how much it has risen. Weigh and separate the dough into equal sized dough mounds.
Now it is time to form the crust. Flour the work surface lightly so the dough will hold enough flour on the underside so that it won’t stick. Now start pressing the mound down and out with your fingers. Try to resist using a rolling pin. Just press the dough out until it gets about 8 inches across. Keep turning it so it does not get too thin in any location and so the bottom stays well-floured.
Once flat and round, pick it up and hold it in front of you like the steering wheel of a car and start turning it round and round allowing the weight of the dough to stretch itself, shaking it a bit to help it stretch. When it is thin enough that you can see a little light through it, you’re almost there. Try not to allow a hole to develop or let it get paper thin; if you do break through, you can usually patch it together. Don’t worry if the dough is not perfectly round, a little lopsided-ness adds to the authenticity!
The dough is now ready to be used! While it makes a great pizza base, our dough recipe is also perfect for making pita breads and tarts.