This recipe caught me off-guard in the best possible ways.
I’d been hearing a lot of chatter about Jim Lahey’s famous no-knead pizza dough for a while now, but I could never bring myself to make the recipe. It wasn’t that it was too difficult to make, or that the ingredients were too bizarre or unordinary, no. It was simply that I had a pretty good basic pizza dough recipe on hand already, and the one I had didn’t take almost a full day to make.
I mean seriously. Who wants or needs to wait 18 hours for a pizza dough to rise, then punch it down, let it rest, shape it, let it rest and THEN we can all have some pizza? No one — or so I thought. But I went ahead with it anyway just to see what all the fuss is about.
Oh. My. Word. Ladies and gentlefolk, this isn’t just a dang good pizza dough recipe — this is THE recipe. The recipe of all pizza dough recipes. The Pizza Dough King. The piece de resistance in a world full of pizza doughs. And it is worth every minute of those 18+ hours it takes to make this magic happen. I kid you not.
Here are a few reasons why you need to believe me when I say, “Make this pizza dough immediately.”
1) It tastes DELICIOUS. Like a real pizza dough should. Like that stuff you get from real, fancy Italian restaurants. That kind of delicious.
2) About 30 minutes of those 18+ hours it takes to make this recipe are spent actually doing something; the rest are spent sleeping or
watching copious amounts of television — I mean, reading fine literature.
3) It’s the perfect marriage of chewiness and softness; it renders those classic air pockets you find on really good pizzas; and it has that distinct pizza dough aroma (thanks to the slow rise, which helps develop flavor). Oh, and
4) It tastes DELICIOUS. Especially when you cover it with toppings of the eggplant and triple-cheese varieties.
I know you’re probably still a little skeptical. I get it; I once was there, too. So when you really want a good homemade pizza and you want it now, this recipe (pardon the hideous photos) is still a keeper (these ones are tasty, too). But when you want a pizza that tastes like you’ve earned it — because you have — well then, you’ve come to the right place.
Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough
Adapted from Food52
Yields: 4 12-inch pizzas
3 3/4 cups (17 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and shaping dough
1/4 teaspoon Red Star active dry yeast
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups water
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, yeast and salt until thoroughly combined. Add water and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Lightly flour your hands and shape the dough into a ball; return to bowl. Cover bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rise until dough is more than doubled, about 18 hours.
When dough is fully risen (it should have a bunch of tiny bubbles on top), punch down dough and remove from bowl; transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Lightly flour the tops of each piece of dough; whatever pieces of dough you don’t plan to use right away, shape them into balls, cover them with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge for later use.*
Pat each piece of dough into a 6 to 8-inch circle. Fold over top, then fold up bottom; fold in right side, then left side. Turn dough over seam-side down. Shape into a round ball and place on a lightly floured pizza stone or baking sheet. Sprinkle top with flour and cover with plastic wrap; let rest 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place a rack in the upper third of your oven; heat oven to 450 degrees F for 30 minutes. When dough is fully rested, uncover and press gently into a 10 to 12-inch circle (if the dough resists, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit another 10 minutes).
Top dough with desired toppings (see below for Eggplant-Three Cheese recipe). Place on upper rack of oven and bake 15-20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until dough is lightly brown and cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven; cool 5 minutes before slicing.
*To use refrigerated dough, remove plastic wrap from dough and place on a lightly floured counter top. Cover dough with a damp towel until dough comes to room temperature (about 2-3 hours). Refrigerated dough should be used within 3 days.
Eggplant-Three Cheese Pizza
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Yields: 2 12-inch pizzas
1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch rounds
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup pizza sauce
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
Dried oregano, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Place eggplant slices in a single layer on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle tops with salt and pepper. Roast 20 minutes in oven; flip over and roast another 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.
Lightly spread pizza sauce on top of two prepared pizza doughs. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, then Parmesan. Top with eggplant slices.
In a small bowl, combine ricotta, oregano, salt and pepper. Spoon dollopfuls on top of pizzas. Bake pizzas as directed.
Top baked pizzas with snipped fresh basil leaves.
Disclaimer: Red Star Yeast provided me with packets of their yeast for use in my recipes. All opinions are my own.