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Pizza Dough with a Poolish

When is it ever NOT a good time to make pizza?!

If you are a novice to pizza making or you just want to make a good and quick pizza dough check out our recipe for basic pizza dough.

If you you are not stressed for time and are looking for maximum taste, try and make my favorite pizza dough, using a poolish preferment. A poolish is made in a minute, the only thing is you have to think in advance. You can make the poolish anywhere between 8 and 16 hours before you start making the final dough. The most logical choice here would probably be the 8 hour option: you make the poolish in the morning, the final dough in the evening. You can see in the list below how much, or rather how little, yeast you need in combination with the prefermenting times. The amounts of yeast can really only be measured with a precision scale. This recipe will allow for 4 pizza’s, but can easily be doubled of course.

  • up to 8 hours 0.3 g instant yeast
  • up to 12 hours 0.2 g instant yeast
  • up to 16 hours 0.1 g instant yeast

A teaspoon of instant yeast weights about 3,1 grams. So half a teaspoon is 1,5 grams, a quarter teaspoon is 0.77 and one eight teaspoon is 0,39 grams. So for the ‘biggest’ amount you need less than one eight teaspoon, for the other options even less. You can see why we prefer scales…

Ingredients for the Poolish

100 g wheat flour / bread flour

100 g / 100 ml water

0.3 g instant yeast (see list above)

Flour, water, tiny bit of yeast, stir, wait a while: poolish!

Make the poolish by mixing flour, water and yeast with a spatula or dough whisk until well combined (about 30 seconds), cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to develop at room temperature for 8 hours.

Making the pizza dough

Ingredients for the Pizza Dough

makes 4 pizza’s

250 g wheat flour / bread flour

8 g sea salt

5 g instant yeast

approx 120 ml water, lukewarm

flour for dusting the peel (semolina flour or cornmeal would be ideal)

Good pizza effort, celebrated with Champagne!

Scoop the prepared poolish in the mixing bowl of your standing mixer. Add the flour, salt, and instant yeast. Now add water and knead with dough hook for 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky (by hand it will take a bit longer, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your technique). The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick just slightly to the bottom of the bowl. Transfer the dough to your worktop, very lightly dusted with flour. Prepare a sheet pan by misting it with spray oil . Using a dough scraper, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Then flour your hands very lightly. Lift each piece of dough and gently form it into a ball. Transfer the balls to the pan and cover with floured or greased plastic foil. Leave to rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the floor of your oven, or on a rack in the lower part of the oven.
Heat the oven as hot as possible, (most ovens won’t go higher than 300ºC / 570ºF). We use the Bestron Alfredo pizza maker, it has a stone and two heated spirals and can reach temperatures above 350ºC / 660ºF and works really well.

Place the dough balls on top of a floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Take a ball of dough and using your hands gently press it into a flat disk. Now you can try tossing the dough like a real Italian pro but this is a skill that requires some practice (I can’t do it). You can, like most people, resort to using a rolling pin and roll and stretch the dough into a round shape of about 25 cm /10 inches. Now lay the pizza on the peel or pan, making sure there is enough (semolina) flour to allow it to slide. Lightly top it with sauce and your other ingredients of choice (start with 3 or 4 ingredients, keep it simple to give the crust a good chance to bake).

Slide the pizza onto the hot stone and close the door. Keep an eye on it and see if after 2 minutes or so it needs to be rotated for even baking. The pizza should take about 5 to 6 minutes to bake.

Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Wait a minute before slicing and serving, to allow the ingredients to set.

Enjoy!

More on how we bake our pizza’s, without that wood fired oven…

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34 Responses to Pizza Dough with a Poolish

  1. Christian says:

    This looks great. I’ve tried the basic dough several times, so I think I’m ready for this :-)

    Just one question. Why not use fresh yeast? That way (if I’m right) the poolish should have a little more than 1g of yeast which should be about the size of a pea. And for the dough itself – about 20 g.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Christian,

      Yes, by all means do. This is of course a great idea. In the area where we live it got harder and harder to get fresh yeast, so, getting good results with the dried stuff, we decided to use it as a rule. In this case, if people have fresh yeast, it makes it a bit easier with the measuring /weighing.

      Thanks and happy baking!

  2. Christian says:

    Cool, thanks. And thank you for a very nice site.

    I live in Denmark and here fresh yeast is a lot more common than dry yeast.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      How interesting! I would not have thought Denmarkt to be so different from Holland in this respect. Over here you have to know exactly where to look to find fresh yeast. It is not available in supermarkets for example and most ‘bakeries’ aren’t actually baking on site anymore but get their bread delivered from a larger bread ‘factory’ . The ones that still bake on site probably will sell you some fresh yeast when asked, but it is not readily available. I have only seen it in some organic stores.

      • Christian says:

        That’s quite strange! I wondered why you always use instant yeast but that explains it. I guess fresh yeast has just become a tradition here. We have only one company that produces yeast but you can buy it at every supermarket for about €0,13 for 50g – and it’s always available. So if you visit sometime you’ll not have to look very far.

  3. Monique says:

    When i need fresh yeast i go to a Turkish supermarket here in Vlaardingen. You should look for one in your neighbourhood.
    Good luck,

    Monique

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Monique,
      Thank you for the great tip! We looked at your blog and you have baked a lot of inspirational loafs and buns in your little kitchen!

      Happy baking and lots of loaf,

      Marieke

  4. Elliot says:

    What if I wanted to substitute my Poolish starter for the poolish you suggest mixing with yeast?

    Should I just add 200 g of starter? Should it be fed, unfed, room temp, straight out of the fridge?

    Thanks

    Elliot

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Elliot,
      We presume you mean your sourdough starter? If so you can add 30 g of your sourdough starter to the poolish instead of the yeast. You can use the starter straight out of the fridge and unfed. If you are leaving the poolish to develop for 4 to 8 hours we would suggest using lukewarm water and leave at room temp. If you are using the up to 16 hours option you can use cold water and again leave at room temp to develop.

      Hope this helps, let us know how it turns out,

      Ed & Marieke

  5. Irvan says:

    Hello Ed & Marieke,

    I have tried this recipe for 4-5 times. I am still puzzled when i try to make it round, the dough quite resistance to go wider round. I have to force it by sticking it at the end of pizza baking sheet. What do you think I have done wrong?

    Anyway I am still enjoying the pizza, many thanks for this recipe. Love to see the big blisters ..

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Irvan,
      Glad you like the recipe!
      You have to either kneed a little less or use a flour with less gluten because what you are describing is a dough with high gluten development and that accounts for the resistance. Another thing you can do, already faced with such a dough, is rolling it until it starts to resist, then let it relax for a few minutes, then continue to roll out.

      Hope this helps.

      Happy pizza baking,

      Ed & Marieke

  6. ivy says:

    I would like to buy the Bestron pizza maker from web site that you posted in here, but I don’t understand their language. That would be great if you show me how to contact them by English. Thanks.
    Ivy.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Ivy,
      Can I ask you if you live in Holland ? I ask this because if you are referring to Wehkamp, where we bought our pizza maker, I have to tell you they do not ship to other countries.
      The next thing I would suggest is to contact them by mail or phone (http://www.wehkamp.nl/Klantenservice/Contact.aspx?Page=INF&IHC=KSC) and see if they can help you in English (I am almost sure they can).

      Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

      Marieke

  7. ivy says:

    Thanks for reply. I live in California, USA. So, where can I buy Bestron pizza maker? I do not want the one which makes from China.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello again Ivy,
      I am sorry but Bestron (or the other brand G3 Ferrari) is not imported or sold in the USA at the moment so it seems. I have checked recently for somebody else. You can find these pizza makers in Europe and Australia but not in America. I do not know the reason why that is the case. I have also seen the ones from China and people are not positive about them, so I would not buy them.
      I also found some comments on The Fresh Loaf website about this subject: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/14606/pizza-margherita-naturally-leavened#comment
      Maybe there is somebody in America that can tell us more about it…

      Hope you will get your oven somehow!
      Good luck,

      Marieke

  8. ivy says:

    Thanks for reply. I like all of your videos and instructions, recipes show how to make breads, pizzas, croissants..etc…I will try to make pizzas when I have the good pizza maker. I ll let you know how it turns out.
    Ivy.

  9. Sander says:

    I have had the experience that when I use corn flour for dusting the dough does not rise in the oven. Has anyone had the same – or would like to guess for the explanation?

    Something else I noticed: leaving about 4cm of uncovered dough around the edges creates a great crust!

    thanks for the great recipe, I make some of these guys every week!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Sander,
      We haven’t had that experience. Is there only corn flour on the bottom or also on top of the rolled out pizza dough?
      We do not use corn flour, only a small amount of wheat flour for rolling. The only thing we could come up with is that when corn flour is on top of the dough it could have an effect of pressing the dough down a bit, making it heavier.
      As you can see from our pics we also always leave a rim so the pizza crust can develop, this way you also get different textures from crunchy crust till (possibly) a bit soggy in the middle.

      Nothing wrong with baking and eating pizza every week :)

      Greetings,

      Marieke & Ed

  10. James Rosinbum says:

    First time using a poolish to make pizza dough. I could not be more happy with the results. We were looking for a thin crust pizza that would not have a soggy center and taste great as well. Using a wood fired oven the pizza was wonderful. Thanks, Jim

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Jim,

      So good to hear about your wonderful pizza result. A bit jealous (in a good way) of your wood fired oven!

      Have a great (baking) weekend!

      Ed & Marieke

  11. Noah says:

    Whoa its such a great forum, knowing that there are lots of Pizza lovers here, as i am currently a Pizzaolo in a pizzeria and always love the art of making it from scratch to the final product, I hope i can share some thoughts with you guys, thanks.
    My formula is a 62-65% hydration dough as it works very well if you have a really blazing hot or wood oven, Using Caputo OO flour from Italy, Consists of only Flour, Cold Water( As needed for long rise), Salt, Fresh yeast/dry yeast.

    The Mixing process would start by mixing the water and yeast, followed by slowly adding the flour until the water absorbs before adding again. when flour has been used up, finally add the Salt and proceed on to the kneading stage, make sure to knead and stretch it as far as possible to develop its gluten it will take up to 5 mins, let it rest in a slightly warm area for 2hrs, Then proceed on to shaping into dough balls and wrap it with cling wrap( For Home Use, we do not use this method for pizzerias) and store in fridge for another 10 to 12hrs before using.

    Getting Caputo flour is difficult, the alternative would be to use a flour with a content no higher than 12% and increasing the Water content to 70% for home baking.

    Recipe for Pizza Dough
    AP Flour-500g
    Cold Water- 320ml
    Fine Sea Salt-5g
    Yeast- 1g

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Thank you for your amazing addition Noah! Great to get this info from a true professional. Cannot wait to try it out ourselves. We will look into the Caputo flour too. The only brand we have over here in Holland (as far as we know) is Molino Grassi.

      Pizza is and always will be one of the best food inventions of all time!

      Happy pizza baking,

      Marieke & Ed

      • Noah says:

        Sure thing haha pizzas just takes time to master but through practice you will produce one with perfection. Always love to share and learn as much as well. Thanks again and love your bread tips and videos, really useful and creative!!

        • Weekend Bakers says:

          May be ask Noah, in which country are you baking pizza? Who knows, maybe one day we will be able to taste it…
          BTW we made your recipe (not yet with the Caputo flour) and it turned out pretty tasty! We will be making it again soon and are already on the trail of the flour.
          Thanks again for sharing.

          Ed & Marieke

          • Noah9880@gmail.com says:

            Hey there sorry for the late reply haha as super busy lately, oh i live in Singapore haha pretty far huh?? haha, yup we do have a few good pizzerias right here as Singapore loves Italian food especially Pizzas and Pastas. By the way the pizza dough could be left to ferment for up to 64 hrs, it will taste even better after 30 hrs. Happy baking and always love this website

  12. Richina Timmers says:

    Fantastic receipe! As a sort of an experiment I have put two pieces of dough in the freezer last weekend. This morning out of the freezer, defrost, proofing…. excellent! So much better than the snackbar, when you are in a hurry.

    Thx Marieke!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Richina,
      That is such great information to get, because we have never put pizza dough in the freezer. Great to know it works so well and you are so right it being waaaayyyyy better than going to any kind of ‘snackbar’.

      Enjoy!

      Marieke

  13. Pingback: Homemade Pizza Dough - Doodles and Cents: Kitchen Experiment

  14. Alice says:

    I just want to make pizza right after I saw this recipe!!! Thank you for posting it. BTW, after the dough has been divided and formed to ball shape, you said we have to leave it at room temperature 1 hour, so what room temperature is the best for the dough to work? I live in South East Asia and the normal room temperature usually is 33ºC, is it too hot for the dough? Thank you so much in advance!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Alice,
      Room temperature usually means a temperature around 21 degrees Celsius. Of course yours is much higher than that. If possible you can compensate by using colder water for both your poolish and your final dough. You can find some more tips on dough temperature here: http://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/a-few-tips-on-dough-temperature/
      The ideal temperature for your dough and the point were yeast cells are at their optimum is around 24 to 26 degrees Celsius. Of course you can also shorten the resting /proofing times of the recipe. If possible try to find the coolest /least warm spot in your house.

      Hope it works out. Happty Baking!

      Marieke

  15. tom says:

    Hi,
    I’ve tried this recipe several times, and followed the instructions exactly. The dough always feels great, and I have no trouble shaping the pizzas, but it often is a bit tough and chewy after it comes out of the oven. Would this be a sign of excess gluten? Should I try less time with the dough hook?
    I love the recipes on your site. The tartine, sourdough, and baguette recipes make me look much better than I am! Thanks.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Tom,
      Yes you can try kneading for a few minutes less next time and see if it helps. The other thing is the oven temp and the thickness of the pizza. You can try to get the oven as hot as possible and (if you do not do this already) bake on a stone. Try and roll it out a little thinner too maybe. The best pizzas are made very quickly in very hot ovens.
      Glad you like the other recipes too and the looking good part, we are sure, also has to do with the hands of the baker!

      Happy baking and happy Holidays!

      Ed & Marieke

  16. Leslie says:

    Thank you so much for this pizza dough recipe! I’ve made this four times now — twice for pizza and twice for calzones. It is so easy and so delicious. The crust comes out thin, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. It has become our Friday night tradition.