Overnight Pizza Dough
By Alex C
Senior Food Writer at Pro Home Cooks
Over the years of my pizza making journey, I have tested many different pizza dough recipes and have finally fine tuned my go to pizza dough. It's super easy to make and has tons of flavor. Like all pizza dough recipes we are going to start with flour. You want to use bread flour because it has a high amount of protein content (14-16%). This will help the gluten form, giving the dough a good chew and have a nice fluffy interior. For my pizza dough recipe you will be using 1000 grams of bread flour.
Next up, we need to talk about hydration. I find that the perfect range for pizza goes from 60 - 70% hydration. The higher the amount of water you use, the fluffier the crumb will be but the harder it is to work with. For beginners, I would recommend starting with 60% hydration. Once you get more comfortable, go up to 65% and when you feel like you’ve become a master go up to 70% hydration!
Now, you might be thinking what does 60-70% hydration mean? Well it is a ratio of water to flour. For 1000 grams of flour, at 60% hydration, you will use 600 grams of water (1000g x .60 = 600 grams). However, if you are doing a pizza dough at 70% grams you will be using 700 grams of water for 1000 grams of flour. Now, let's say you only want to use 500 grams of flour at 60% hydration. That means that you will use only 300 grams of water (500 x .60 = 300). This is how bakers calculate how much water they will use when making dough!
Now, the key to making a delicious homemade pizza dough taste like your local pizzeria is the amount of yeast you use. The key is to use a small amount of yeast! Let me explain… the less yeast you use, the longer the fermentation time, and therefore the longer the flavor has to develop. You can use the standard store bought yeast you find at your local grocery store or you can even use sourdough starter. The only difference is the amount that you would use. For the store bought yeast you only need 1 teaspoon! I know it seems very little for the amount of dough you're making but this is how the dough will develop its delicious flavor. If you put too much yeast, the dough will proof too fast and wont develop any flavor. As for the sourdough starter, you will use 150 grams of sourdough starter for 1000 grams of bread flour.
The last ingredient is salt. You want to add 2% salt so for 1000 grams of flour you will add 20 grams of salt (1000 x .20 = 20g). This will give your dough some flavor so it won't be bland. Once you mix all the ingredients together you will have your pizza dough ready to go through the process of resting and stretching. The process will help the dough develop its gluten strength and its flavor.
Stretch and fold is a technique used in bread making to strengthen the dough's structure and develop gluten while also redistributing the gasses that are fermenting. Since high hydration doughs can be difficult to work with, the stretch and fold method is in order to build dough structure without having to add excess flour.
Here's how to do the stretch and fold technique:
- Start by picking up one side of the dough and gently stretching it upward without tearing it. You want to create tension without breaking the dough. Then fold the stretched portion over the center of the dough, placing the dough over itself.
- Rotate the dough 90 degrees (a quarter turn) so that you're now working with a different side of the dough. Repeat the stretching and folding process with the new side of the dough. Stretching it upwards and then folding the stretched portion over itself.
- Repeat until you have gone through all four sides of the dough ball. This completes one round of stretching and folding.
- Using a bench scraper if needed, flip the dough so that it is seam side down and place back into its greased bowl/container and cover with a kitchen towel/plastic wrap. Rest for 30 minutes.
- Repeat the stretch and fold process 2-3 more times allowing a rest time of 30 minutes in between. This process will take about 1 ½ - 2 hours and you will have completed 3 - 4 stretch and folds in that time.
Once your stretch and folds are done, you will let it double in size on your countertop. Next, you will shape the dough into four equal size pizza balls and let them proof in the fridge overnight! The next day they are ready to be used as pizza dough or even pita pockets!
Alternatively, if you don’t have time to let it double in size on your counter and shape into balls, you can put the dough in the fridge overnight. The next day, form the dough into four equal sized balls and let them sit on your countertop for 2 -3 hours before you use them to make pizzas!
Overnight Pizza Dough
- 1000 grams of bread flour
- 650 grams of water
- 20 grams of salt
- 1 teaspoon of yeast or 150 grams of sourdough starte
- To a standing mixer, add in the bread flour, water, salt, and yeast. Knead on low until a dough is formed (about 1 minute) and then increase the speed to medium until a smooth elastic dough is formed (about 2 minutes).
- The dough should be tacky but shouldn't stick to the side of the bowl. If you find that the dough is too wet, stop the mixer and wait 10 minutes. The flour should absorb some of the excess water.
- Next, remove the dough from the bowl and onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl/container. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Once the 30 minutes are up, do a set of stretch and folds to help develop the gluten structure (see photos above for reference). Cover the dough and let it rest for another 30 minutes.
- Repeat step 3, two more times for a total rest time of 1 1⁄2 hours and a total of 3 stretch and folds.
- Finally, let the dough double in size (about 1 ½ - 2 hours) on your countertop.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, dump the dough out on a lightly floured working surface and cut into four equal pieces. If you want you can weigh them out equally using a scale.
- Shape each dough into a tight ball and place in a lightly greased tray. Make sure they are at least two inches apart to allow for spreading and proofing. Cover the dough balls and let proof overnight.
- The following morning, dough balls are ready to be used! You can keep them in the fridge for one more day if needed but otherwise they are ready to go!
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