Crust Kingdom Pizza Dough

Preparation Time: 3 hoursCooking Time: 5 minutes

This versatile dough works great in the home oven for many styles, whether you are cooking in a pan or on a pizza stone.

Makes 2 medium dough balls about 275g, or 3 small dough balls about 180g

This is my go-to dough that has come from hours of experimenting with different recipes – taking inspiration from Naples to New York. It makes a versatile dough which works well in the home oven, whether you are cooking in a pan or on a pizza stone. The best pizzas come from resting the dough for longer times, where fermentation adds deeper flavors and the texture mellows. But this dough works suprisingly well at shorter rise times too – making great pizzas provided it cooks as fast as possible in a very hot oven.

In Naples they start with the water and dissolve the other ingredients in one by one. I let it rest for 25 mins which allows the flour to absorb water, and then only needs a minimal kneading phase. This keeps the dough perfectly soft on the inside, but crunchy on the outside when baked.

Flavor and texture are improved as the yeast ferments. It only contains a small amount of yeast which allows the dough to be kept at room temperature to develop slowly. While the dough can be used at the minimal rise times, it is better to rest it for 6-7 hours. Alternatively it can be put in the fridge, which slows down things even further – after 24 hours in the fridge it is at its optimum. Remember that warmer environments will cause to the dough to ferment faster and become soft and bubbly. Leaving it out of the fridge for longer than 7-8 hours will mean it becomes very weak.

Try mixing the dough in the morning and allow it to rise at room temperature to be used that evening. Alternatively, mix it in the evening and store it in the fridge for the next evening. After a few practices you’ll be churning them out like a pro.

Tips

Too sticky? Let the dough rest a bit longer to allow the flour to absorb the water fully.

Dough tearing? Weak dough could be from a flour with not enough protein, or a dough that was left to ferment for too long – especially if it’s warm.

Shrinks back when stretching? Give it more time to rest after it is balled into individual dough balls.

Weighing the smaller ingredients is much more accurate than using volumes. Get yourself a digital scales like this one which makes things a lot easier.

Bakers Ratios

Bakers ratios are calculated as percentages of the weight of the flour. From these you can multiply up or down. Need 4 pizzas? Just multiply the recipe by 2.

This recipe uses a fairly high amount of water at 66%, which stops the pizza drying out in the longer cooking of a home oven. As you advance, try push it to 70% which makes a crisp outer crust but a moist interior – but the dough is harder to work with.

It has olive oil as an optional ingredient as it also stops the pizza from drying out when baked for extended periods. If you are cooking pizza very quickly, say under 4 minutes, then it’s not needed.

Flour: 100%, water: 66%, yeast: 0.1%, salt: 2.5% and optional 2% oil.

Ingredients

  • 330g Bread Or Pizza Flour with 11-13.5% protein (2 ½ cups)
  • 218ml Tepid Water (1 cup minus 1 tbsp)
  • 8.25g Fine Sea Salt (1 ½ tsp)
  • 0.33g Active Dry/Instant Yeast (⅒ tsp or 2 pinches)
  • 6.6g olive oil (½ tbsp) - Optional but recommended for longer baking times to prevent drying.

Instructions

  1. Pour the water into a mixing bowl, add the salt and mix to dissolve. Add the yeast and let it hydrate on the surface for 30 seconds before mixing into the water. Then drop the flour on top but hold back on the oil if you are using it.
  2. Use your finger tips of one hand to stir the mixture and bring it together to a ball. To get all the flour wet, use the thumb and first finger like a pincer to cut the dough up a few times then bring back to a ball. Pinch and flip for 30 seconds until no dry flour remains. Add the olive oil if using and do this again for 30 seconds.
  3. Cover the dough and let it sit for 25 minutes. This lets the flour absorb the water fully and become smooth. It's important because the dough is too sticky to knead straight away.
  4. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and give it a fine dusting of flour. Knead it for 1 minute with the base of your palm, pushing away and folding it back. It will be sticky but don't add too much extra flour - doing so will make the dough more dense. One minute of kneading is enough to build some gluten to become stretchy, but not make the pizza tough and bready.
  5. Wipe out the mixing bowl, add a few drops of oil and place the dough back inside. Coat the dough very lightly to prevent sticking, then cover again so it's air tight. Let it rise for 1-2 hours to get the yeast started - 2 hours is best unless your house is very warm.
  6. Push the air out of the dough with your hands but don't knead or tear the dough. Cut it into 2 equal pieces. Use scales if you want to be exact - about 275 grams each.
  7. Form a ball by taking two edges, stretching out slighting and bringing together. Spin it and repeat a few times. This forms a tight face on the top which makes for a good pizza later on, and a side with the seams which should be pinched closed. Transfer the ball to the worktop seam side down, place your hand on top and roll in circular motions to tighten the face and make it a perfect ball.
  8. Repeat with each ball and place them in a lightly floured, flat container for the second rise. An airtight box, a few dinner plates or sheet pan with plastic wrap work well. Ensure the balls are floured on top otherwise they will stick - they will increase in diameter so space a few inches apart. It's crucial to keep the balls as round as possible while they rise otherwise it's very hard to make a round pizza in the end.
  9. Let the dough balls rise at room temperature for 2-6 hours or 24-48 hours in the fridge - the cold slows down fermentation. They will have superior flavor and texture with a longer fermentation at either temperature. But at room temperature, the balls may become weak and gassy after a total of 7-8 hours, so move to the fridge to hold for any longer.
  10. Heat your oven to its highest setting for at least 30 minutes. Remember that cold dough balls need 1-2 hours to warm up to room temperature before use.
  11. Stretch or roll the dough very thin on a worktop with lots of flour. Add your favorite toppings and then transfer to the oven on a baking sheet, or better, use a preheated pizza stone and peel. Cook until the crust is fully golden, usually 7-10 minutes depending on the oven. Rotate the pizza halfway if it browns on one side.

36 thoughts on “Crust Kingdom Pizza Dough

      1. Hi Nina,

        I can confirm it is correct. This recipe uses a small amount of yeast which allows the dough to be fermented for longer at room temperature without it bubbling over the container. This builds up a nice flavor and texture which you might find in artisan breads.

        The yeast multiplies when it gets warm and I’ve tried it with just a 2 hour total rise and it still rose well and made good pizza. Just a little less taste.

    1. Hi Tom,

      I tried this recipe with the longer fermentation time in the fridge 24+ hours and the pizza was amazing. The base had a very nice taste. Thank you for sharing this recipe and the tips!!! Can’t wait to try it again.

    2. Hi. Made this exactly as, best results yet ! Thank you, tried so many al usually bit bland or no stretch, rip easy, but finally a great result.
      Quick questions if I may, how long can I keep in the fridge ? If I freeze how long does it take to defrost ?
      Regards
      Simon.

      1. Hi Simon,

        Great feedback, thank you!

        Keeping it in the fridge I found that 48 hours and the dough started to get a bit weak to shape for me. The gluten starts breaking down. You can use higher protein flour to make it last longer, or use even less yeast to slow things down.

        With defrosting, over night in the fridge is needed. Take it out and then leave at room temperature for 1-2 hours before stretching.

        Tom

  1. Hello,

    Thanks for this recipe. I tried it and got confused with step 4. Kneading 1 minute does not pass the window pane test and it was still too sticky and not smooth. I’m not sure if that is what’s to be expected haha.

    1. Hi Arvs, thanks for the feedback.

      Kneading for just 1 minute builds some gluten stretch but you are right – it won’t quite pass the window pane test, but it doesn’t need to. The rest of the gluten network formation happens while the dough rests and ferments, as gluten forms naturally when the flour comes in contact with the water. Lots of recipes recommend kneading for up to 10-15 minutes but this is just a waste of time because you end up with a very elastic dough at the end either way. Kneading for longer actually makes the dough more chewy – so a small amount of kneading makes for a tender crust.

      Regarding the stickiness, I have been testing different amounts of water and may drop the water content to 66% rather than 70%. It makes the dough a bit more manageable for those not used to sticky dough, but still makes great pizza.

      Hope your pizza came out great.
      Tom

      1. Thanks Tom for the explanation! I’ll reply back to this article how it came out on Monday as I will try around 24-48ish fermentation.

        On step 7, when you form the ball, do you still coat your work area, scraper, and hands with flour? Or you only do it on step 4? After the 2 hours rest once kneaded, I couldn’t shape it into a ball without it sticking in my hands so I use flour dusting again haha.

        My experience with this recipe is that 70% hydration is sticky from kneading to shaping into a ball. But you are right, even with a little amount of yeast which I was skeptical, it still rose. Interesting!

        P.S I used All Purpose Flour since bread flour and 00 flour are not commonly available where I’m from, we only have this which is about 12% protein (3-4g protein per 1/4 cup usually in the nutritional facts so I’m estimating 12-16% protein).

        1. I find that by step 7, the dough should be smooth and not sticky any more. One thing I missed in step 5 if you are fermenting in the bowl is to add a few drops of oil to the bowl which makes it a little easier to get out. I will add that, thank you.

          And if you need a small dusting of flour in the balling phase when you are handling it, then that’s OK. But when it comes to rolling the balls, keep the worktop with minimal flour because that makes the balls tighter as you roll.

          Let me know how the All Purpose flour goes – I imagine with 12% protein it might be a bit delicate after 48 hours. This is because the gluten network breaks down over time – 24 might be best.

          Tom

  2. Sounds great, but did I miss something? Where should I place it in the oven? What is the oven temperature?

    1. I am planning to add some different recipes for pizza styles which will use this dough – they will be coming soon. For now though, heat a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet for 30 minutes in your oven at its maximum temperature. Stretch or roll the dough, top and then transfer to the oven with a pizza peel or some baking parchment paper. Bake until the cheese and crust are dark brown, this should be around 7 minutes depending on the oven and equipment.

      Tom

  3. HI, wondering if you can post a video of the entire dough making process? Easier to watch a video sometimes for clarification. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the feedback Elizabeth. I agree that would be useful and will be getting some videos up hopefully soon.

      Tom

      1. I haven’t tried this, but I watched different youtube videos, and you are the only one that suggests, resting the dough before kneading, and all of them suggested to knead 5-10 minutes, and that’s really tiring and the dough eventually springs back when you are forming it with your fingers. I will definitely try this as the process seems to be more applicable for beginners, or you’re just explained it well. And hopefully, I’ll have a perfect dough for my pizza.

  4. I had only ap flour, and otherwise did my best to follow the recipe exactly. The knead was terribly difficult because my dough was so, so sticky. The real issue was that my dough didn’t rise at all. Not even a bubble or a puff. It’s been a warm day, so the house isn’t cold at all. Help! What did I do wrong?

    1. Thanks for the comment. Sticky dough can be difficult to knead but you get better at it and it does make good pizza! Different flours can absorb different amounts of water, so if you feel its still an issue you could try adding more flour at a tablespoon at a time and see the results.

      The dough not rising has got to be a problem with your yeast – it sounds like it is dead because its old or because the water was too hot. Check its alive by mixing a teaspoon of yeast, a teaspoon of sugar and a splash of water – after 10 minutes it should be bubbling if its alive.

  5. After two hours of the first proof, how much should the dough rise? Mine has not gone up very much. I’ve been keeping it in a warm area, too.

    1. Hi Jonathan, it won’t “double in size” like many other recipes which have way too much yeast – that is normal. Most of the expansion happens in the second phase which is longer. The first phase is really just to get the yeast going, so usually needs a good 2 hours.

      Tom

  6. I suppose it’s a no knead technique. I’ve never tried it but have just started one following your recipe. Tiny amount of yeast but I guess it makes sense with the long proving times. My oven isn’t great (even with a pre heated pizza stone) so I’ve been using the frying pan (actually a pancake/crepe pan) and grill. I’ve been stunned at just how close to a good commercial neapolitan pizza you can get with this method.
    One day soon I’ll try the same recipe for bread. It’s such a minimal no fuss approach that it’s got to be worth the attempt.

  7. Made the dough last night, going for the 48 hr ball ferment, all looks perfect with no problems at all.

  8. making the pizza dough right now. You said to max out the oven temp, my oven max’s at 550 not sure if all ovens reach that temp. still in process of forming dough.
    Thanks,
    Rickey

  9. Wonderful work you do! could i ask a few questions, please?

    1. Some say in various recipes that salt is not good for yeast, so one is advised to put salt as away as possible (in both time and place in bowl) from the yeast. But i see you start with salt and yeast. So the salt does not inactivate Yeast?
    I ve been cooking just since pandemic started, but I already feel I lived in some sort of a lie a bit:)
    What is the truth about yeast and salt?

    2. I use to make dough from 650 flour (hard type) and yeast and water (which seem to be oh way less than 66%) and a teaspoon of sugar and one of winegar, and then put it in the oven for one hour dough covered and in some steam from one liter of Bolied water, in order to speed up the process, (and airtight after that some 30’ at room temperature), so I could eat pizza that very evening.
    Which I can do, true, BUT it is rather thin hard and not soft; is it because i). I was trying to spped up the entire process? or because ii). I was using too little water?

    I love pizza so I have to know where I am wrong. Thank you for your patience and your exquisite work you do for people!!!

    1. Hi Mihai,

      It is true that salt slows down the fermentation from the yeast. More salt = slower fermentation. But I think the advice that salt will kill yeast straight away is wrong, and probably misinformation spread around. I always mix the water, salt and yeast together and never see any problems. I think if you leave the yeast and salt in direct contact together alone for around 5 minutes then you might see problems. But if you mix the flour in sooner after mixing the two, then it has no effect.

      In regard to number 2, I think it is probably because you left it for only 30 minutes. Good dough needs more time – it breaks down the texture to make it more tender. And acids build up to make a deeper taste. The best dough needs more time so I advise you take a little longer 🙂 You can drop the hydration level and it makes a more dense pizza also, so it could be a mix of the two. I wouldn’t go below 60%.

  10. And 3 (sorry for double comment):
    My oven does not make enough temperature, I mean I usually have to leave everything nearly twice as much in the oven, as in the recipes, because of that.
    What could be done in order to not ruin the pizza? I see you advise some oil.
    Should the water content also be increased?
    Should i let the pizza in the oven on the Lowest step? (My oven has some 3-4 levels where the tray can be placed, but i do not know which i should use-the lowest will dry it out? Or the best is to use low level in oven?)

    Thank you for reading such beginner’s questions

    Thank you

    1. A good tip would be to use a pizza stone or pizza steel. They heat up and give the base a blast of heat from below. Check out the recommended equipment here https://www.crustkingdom.com/pizza-equipment/

      I find that the best heat comes from the top shelf or middle-top shelf. So try it in the upper half of the oven – all ovens are a bit different. To keep it moist use the oil as that makes it better for longer baking times. More water is always good too – try going to 70% water.

      Really glad you have found some good information on the website! Thank you for the kind feedback and keep practicing making those pizzas every week!

  11. Great article. Really explained the percentages well. I am going to do a slow fermentation of 48-72 hours. Should I let it rest for an hour, then ball up the dough and cold ferment or ball the dough after fermentation in the fridge?

    1. I’ve done both and the main advantage of having more time in the ball stage is that the dough relaxes and becomes easy to stretch. But too long in the ball phase and the ball will relax so much that it becomes flat and weak. I would try doing 1-2 hours outside, ball and then put in the fridge for 48 hours.

      If you want to do 72 hours then you might need to use slightly less yeast otherwise the dough will be very weak.

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