Pizza 101

Scott Heimendinger
February 28, 2020
With a little advanced preparation, you’ll be astonished at the quality of pizzas you can make at home in the Anova Precision Oven. This pizza dough recipe is my version of Andris Lagsdin’s adaptation of Jim Lahey’s [very famous] no-knead dough recipe. The dough couldn’t be easier, but it does take time. You’ll need 72 hours of fermentation in the fridge, then 4 hours of countertop proofing before you’re ready to bake. Greatness is worth the wait. When it’s time to start baking pizzas, things move fast. So, prepare your mise en place – have all your toppings prepped and within reach, and give yourself as much space as you can on your work surface. This recipe is designed for a Baking Steel, but you can substitute a cast iron griddle or a baking stone. If using a stone, bake one rack lower and expect a longer baking time. Making pizza at home isn’t as easy as ordering from an app, but the results are incomparable!
Serves
4
Prep Time
76:30
Cook Time
00:00
Pizza 101
Ingredients
500 g
Bread Flour
5 g
Salt
1 g
Active dry yeast
340 g
Filtered water
10 g
Soy sauce (use the good stuff if you've got it)
0
0
Steps

1. Combine dry ingredients

In a large bowl, add the flour, salt, and yeast. Mix to blend the ingredients and break up clumps.
Combine dry ingredients

2. Add wet ingredients

Add the soy sauce and water and mix with a wooden or silicone spoon until the dough comes together to form a ball.
Add wet ingredients

3. Knead 2-3 minutes

Transfer the dough ball to a floured work surface. Knead to remove clumps, about 2-3 minutes. At this point, it will still look a little uneven and slightly shaggy – that’s OK.

4. Refrigerate 72 hours

Transfer to an airtight container or plastic-wrapped bowl (with plenty of extra room for the dough to expand) and refrigerate at least 24 hours. I find the dough is ideal after about 72 hours of refrigeration, but it can remain in the fridge for up to 7 days before use.
Refrigerate 72 hours

5. Transfer to floured work surface

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer to a well-floured work surface. It should appear wet and bubbly.

6. Form into a ball

Working gently, form the dough into a ball, dusting with additional flour as needed. Try not to overwork the dough, as this can knock out the air bubbles it has developed during bulk fermentation.

7. Divide into 4 equal portions

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. These will each become one pizza crust.

8. Form into rounds

Form each portion into a round. Again, working as gently as you can and adding flour as needed, work the dough into a spherical shape with a taught membrane of dough over the top edge. If necessary, pinch together the corners on the underside of the dough to help create a tight surface across the top.

9. Oil and cover

Oil the bottom of 4 small containers, then add the dough and brush oil over the top. Cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap. 16oz deli containers work great for this purpose, as they help the dough retain a circular shape during the next stage of proofing. You can also use small, individual bowls, or oil the balls well and proof on the countertop covered in plastic wrap, leaving plenty of space between.

10. Proof for 4 hours

Let the dough rise at room temperature for 4 hours or until about doubled in size.

11. Place the Baking Steel and preheat

Place a Baking Steel in the oven on the 2nd from top rack. Allow the oven to preheat for at least 45 minutes so the steel will be fully “charged” for baking.
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: Off
Temp: 482°F
Heat: Rear
482°F Probe Target

12. Prepare your toppings

Prepare your pizza toppings and arrange your mise en place. If you’re making multiple pizzas, you’ll want to move quickly from one to the next, so having everything you need prepped, ready, and within reach will help you streamline your pizza assembly.
Prepare your toppings

13. Remove one dough ball

Liberally dust you’re your working space with flour and decant one dough ball from its proofing container. Dust both sides in flour to prevent sticking. At this point, the dough has some inherent shape already, and we want to work with, not against, that shape.

14. Stretch and shape the dough

To work the dough into a thin, circular crust, you’ll use a combination of stretching on your work surface and expanding on the back sides of your hands. Make loose fists with both hands and lay the dough over your fingers and knuckles. Very gently spread your hands apart from one another to stretch the dough into a larger circle being careful that the dough never gets thin enough to tear. Place the dough upside-down on your work surface to add more flour. Gently grab the edges to tug the dough into a circular shape. Repeat this process until the dough is 12-14 inches in diameter and acceptably circular.

15. Transfer to peel

Liberally (and I mean liberally) flour your pizza peel so your crust doesn’t stick to it. Although some pizza recipes will call for using cornmeal to lubricate the peel, cornmeal tends to burn when cooked on the baking steel, so I recommend sticking with AP flour. Transfer your crust to the peel and reshape it back into a circle as necessary. Give the peel a few good shakes to confirm that the dough isn’t sticking before proceeding to top the pizza.

16. Oil the edges

Brush olive oil onto the edges of the crust, taking care not to let oil drip down onto the peel as this can cause the dough to stick. Oiling the outer crust will encourage browning when the pizza bakes.

17. Add toppings

Add your toppings. For best results – keep things light and dry. In order for the pizza to bake and crisp, we need to drive off water, which takes a lot of heat energy. Wet sauces and wet cheeses will eat up that energy and can lead to soggy or under-baked crust. So, go light on sauce, and use low moisture cheeses or dry out your cheeses in paper towels before topping.

18. Shake the peel

Before you head towards the oven, give your pizza peel one last, good shake to make sure the pizza isn’t sticking anywhere. It should float like an air hockey puck. If there are any signs of sticking, use a long spatula to work some additional flour between the dough and the peel and repeat the shake test again.

19. Launch onto the steel

Launch the pizza directly onto the baking steel. This can take some practice to build confidence, but the movement goes as follows: line up the far edge of the peel close to the back edge of the Baking Steel and hold the peel at a slight downward angle. Shake front-to-back in small motions to encourage the far edge of the dough onto the steel. Continue shaking while pulling the peel away from the oven until the entire pizza is sitting on the steel. Close the oven door immediately.
Launch onto the steel

20. Bake 5-7 minutes

Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the crust is puffy and golden and the cheese has developed browned spots. Use the peel to rotate the pizza 180 degrees during baking to ensure even browning. Keep a close eye on the baking, especially towards the end, as browning happens fast.
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: Off
Temp: 482°F
Heat: Rear
482°F Probe Target

21. Begin shaping the next crust

If you’re making additional pizzas, you can begin shaping your dough while this pizza is baking. But don’t transfer your dough to the peel yet.

22. Cool pizza on wire rack

Use the peel to remove your pizza from the oven. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes before eating. Cooling on a wire rack will allow steam from the crust to escape, producing a crisp crust. If you transfer the pizza directly from the oven to a solid surface, like a cutting board, that steam will make the crust soggy instead.
Cool pizza on wire rack

23. Repeat for remaining dough

Repeat this process for the remaining dough rounds. Each pizza you cook will pull energy out of the Baking Steel. Ensure that you open and close the oven door only as much as needed when cooking so the steel can re-absorb as much heat as possible before the next bake.

24. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

You've earned it.
Slice, serve, and enjoy!
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