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A simple guide to making great pizza dougH


This simple guide will take your pizza making skills from 0-100 in no time at all. Read on! 

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A simple guide to making great pizza dougH


This simple guide will take your pizza making skills from 0-100 in no time at all. Read on! 

Making a great pizza dough is easy. Or at least it’s not that hard. This guide is for anyone wanting to step up their 'dough skills' in five minutes. There's no prior knowledge needed, after you read this, you’ll be able to impress your friends by making velvety smooth and super stretchy pizza dough.

If you enjoyed this guide, consider subscribing to our mailing list. We're in the process of writing a whole book about making pizzas and sauces and everything that goes with it.

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Ingredients


Ingredients


It is important to select the finest ingredients you can get to make your pizzas. Since we're in the UK, we have access to Shipton Mills' excellent flours.

  • 500g ( 4 cups) Type ’00’ flour  or strong white
  • 300g (300 ml / 10.5 oz / 1⅓ cups) water
  • 20g (1 tbsp) olive oil
  • 10g (2 tsp) salt
  • 7g dry yeast (or 20g fresh yeast)
 
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Method


Method


Mixing

  1. Warm the water to about 38°C or warm to touch.  
  2. Mix in the yeast, then oil. Use a whisk to make sure the dry yeast is properly smooth.
  3. Sift the flour into another larger mixing bowl with the salt.
  4. In the larger bowl, make a well in the middle of the flour and pour the water and yeast in. Using a wooden spoon start churning it into a dough.

PRO TIP: How to get your water to around 38°C? First measure 200 g of cold water into your mixing bowl and then pour a further 100g of boiling water on top. It usually ends up at about the right temperature!

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Hand Kneading


Hand Kneading


Kneading is the part that most non-bread makers are daunted with. When the dough is worked, protein in the flour starts connecting to each other and forming gluten strings. The higher the protein level in the flour, the better and stronger these strings become. Hence the type ‘strong flour’.

  1. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. If the dough is really sticky at this stage, dust it with flour from on the top as well.
  2. Start kneading. While there’s a ton of different methods for kneading, the preferred one is to use the heel of your hand to press and roll the dough across the worktop. Then use your other hand to return it to the start while at the same time folding it over. Continue this for the next 3-5 minutes or until the dough is ready.

Ready? How could you possibly know when it’s ready? 

Good question. The best way to describe well kneaded dough is that it’s not sticky but has a velvety smoothness to it and is almost impossibly stretchy. Some call it the window pane test where you stretch a bit of dough between your fingers into a pane that you can almost see through.

It’s also very important not to take it too far beyond this point. If it becomes too velvety, this will over-strengthen the gluten and the dough will be harder to work with. It will feel hard and it won’t be as easy to stretch into a pizza shape. 

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Stand Mixer


Stand Mixer


All kitchen mixers are different and your milage may vary. All flours are different too so you need to do some experimenting. We use a Kenwood Chef Premium with its standard dough hook and metal bowl. 

1. You can mix all the ingredients in the mixer bowl. Just pour the water mixed with yeast and olive oil on top of the flour which has salt mixed in to it.
2. Start the mixer on a medium speed (Kenwood: 3-4) until the ingredients are combined. It shouldn’t take more than 30-60 seconds. 
3. Turn the mixer down to speed 1 or 1.5 and set your timer to 3 minutes. 
4. After 3 minutes, turn the mixer off and check the consistency of the dough. It shouldn’t get stuck to the walls too easily. Again, you want it to have a velvety, putty-like feel to it.
5. Leave the dough in the mixer bowl to rest for 20 minutes. Make sure the cover is on to avoid drying.
6. After the dough has rested, turn it out onto a very lightly floured work surface and knead it by hand about 20-30 times. (If your dough has the perfect consistency, you don’t even need to flour the surface.)

It’s really easy to over-knead the dough, especially with a machine. If this happens, the dough feels hard and becomes difficult to stretch into pizza bases.

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Proving (or proofing)


Proving (or proofing)


Finally, before we can get on with making pizza, the dough needs to be proved. This is the bit where the yeast has started to eat the sugars in the flour, turning them into CO2 and alcohol. As we’re not making beer, we only really care about the bubbles as those continue to gently stretch the gluten, as well as give the bread dough its airiness. Without this, you’d have brick-hard pizza discs which could double as circular saw blades.

Some like to prove all of the dough in one large container. You simply cover the bowl with cling film or kitchen towel and leave it until it doubles or triples in volume. Warm place, 1 to 1½ hours usually. 

The method we recommend doing is to split to the dough into individual pizza amounts at this stage. Using a digital scale, measure out 165g (5.8 oz) per dough ball. Or just divide the dough into five. 

Now the tricky part; fold the ball into itself. Hold the ball in your hands and bring the sides of the dough to the middle and gently push them in. Then turn the ball 90° and do the same to different sides. Repeat this process a few times and finish by rolling the ball between your palms or against a work surface.

Place the ball in a container to prove and cover with cling film. Leave the dough to prove in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or cold prove in the fridge for 1-3 days. When cold proving, take the dough out 2 hours before starting to cook.

Thanks very much for making it this far :)

Like I mentioned earlier, we're working on a book about pizza. It's not ready yet but if you'd like to be kept up-to-date on its progress, please subscribe below. We'll send you sample chapters and other content from it as it gets ready. If you’d like to learn a ton more about different types of dough, for example; how to get started with sour dough pizzas, cold proving or even how to make a gluten free pizza, you should subscribe below. 

Who are we and why do we know so much about making pizza? We are called Uuni, we make a small portable wood-fired oven called... Uuni. It's really cool. It bakes a pizza in just 2 minutes and is small enough to fit in any garden or balcony. Check it out on our website

 

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