The higher the hydration of your pizza dough, the more light and fluffy the pizza crust will turn out. This is something I’ve learned over 15 years of making pizza dough at home.
This pizza dough recipe has a 70% hydration level, which is quite high. Many commercial pizza doughs have a hydration level of only around 55%. That’s fine if you’re using a high-powered or wood-fired oven, but for the home oven you want something with a lot more moisture. This is because the longer the pizza dough cooks in the oven, the more dry the pizza crust will be. We can counter this effect by using a pizza dough with lots of hydration.
I find that 70% hydration is kind of sweet spot that gets you all the benefits of a high hydration dough but isn’t so wet that you can’t handle the dough relatively easily.
Note: This recipe is designed for use with high-quality 00 flour for the best results. For a list of my favorite flours and other ingredients, click here. For an in-depth explanation of why 00 flour is better, read my analysis here.
Timing – When Will The Pizza Dough Be Ready?
When this pizza dough will be ready to use depends on what method you choose. I’m going to provide 2 methods here – traditional and no-knead.
No-knead is my preferred method for making pizza dough unless I’ve decided to make pizza at the last minute. With a no-knead method, you mix the ingredients together but instead of kneading it for 15-20 minutes, you simply let it sit for 11-18 hours (depending on the temperature of your room). You then divide the dough up into balls, give it a final proof, then use it.
The benefit of a no-knead method is the extra fermentation that occurs, leaving you with a tastier crust. You also don’t have to worry about getting your hands messy or worry about dealing with a sticky dough.
Ideally, if you have time, you can put the dough straight into the fridge for another 24 hours of cold fermentation.
Traditional Method (optional)
The traditional method isn’t much different to the one above, just quicker and messier.
You start by mixing the ingredients together in a bowl then kneading the wet dough ball on a floured countertop for about 10 minutes. When the dough is silky and smooth, place it back in a covered container for 2 hours or until it increases in size. How fast and how much the dough expands will depend on the potency of your yeast and the temperature of your kitchen.
When the dough has risen, divide it up into individual pizza dough balls. This recipe will create one (1) 500 gram batch of pizza dough which you can divide in half for two (2) 250 gram balls. I find 250 grams is perfect for most styles of pizza and fits easily into most home ovens. But feel free to change the math on the recipe to make bigger or smaller dough balls.
Preparing The Pizza Dough: Step By Step
1. Measure the water, yeast and honey together in a bowl.
2. Measure the flour and salt in another bowl.
3. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the water mixture a few spoonfuls at a time. When you’ve mixed half of the dry ingredients, add a few glugs of olive oil and mix it in thoroughly. Continue mixing in the dry ingredients until it’s fully incorporated.
4. When you’re done, you should be left with a shaggy, sticky ball of dough. Cover it up and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
5. Ten (10) minutes later, give the dough another quick mixing. You will find the dough is much smoother and doesn’t stick to the spatula as much.
6. Cover the dough back up and leave it for 11-18 hours, depending on the temperature of your house, for a no-knead rise. When it’s ready, it will have increased substantially in volume and be bubbling over. If it overflows your mixing bowl, you probably used too much yeast.
7 (optional). Alternatively, if you want to use the dough tonight, you can knead the dough by hand for 10-15 minutes, or until it’s silky smooth. It often helps to knead the dough for 5 minutes, cover it up, wait 10 minutes, then knead for 5 more minutes. Repeat this process as necessary. Let it rise for 1-2 hours then ball it up for final proofing.
Tip: This pizza dough is extremely wet and will be difficult to knead by hand. This is why I prefer the no-knead method of letting the dough sit overnight. If you do knead by hand, be sure to lightly oil your hands, or use a dough scraper to stretch and fold the dough onto itself. Be sparing with table flour as well or it will absorb and dehydrate the dough.
When the dough is ready, give it another quick 1-2 minute mix with a spatula (or your hand), then weigh it and divide it up into two 250 gram pieces. Tightly roll each piece into a tight ball with a smooth, taught skin. This part seems trivial but it’s crucial and really affects the quality of the baked crust. If you need help with this, check out the video demonstration below.
From here you can follow your own recipe. Looking for some ideas?
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Need quality ingredients? Check out my pizza making buyer’s guide.
70% Hydration Pizza Dough Recipe
- 289 grams 00 flour (all purpose works fine) (2.3 cups)
- 203ml lukewarm water (0.85 cups)
- 9 grams salt (1/2 tablespoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon (heaping) active dry yeast (or 3/4 teaspoon if using the dough on the same day)
- 2-3 glugs extra virgin olive oil (eyeball it, but not too much)
- 1 spoonful of honey
- Measure out water and yeast into mixing bowl. Mix well.
- Add a spoonful of honey to water and mix well.
- Set mixing bowl to let the yeast activate and get another bowl to measure the dry ingredients.
- Measure 00 flour and salt and mix well.
- Slowly start to incorporate the flour/salt mixture into the water/yeast/honey solution. Start by adding a few spoonfuls of dry ingredients at a time and mix it thoroughly using a stiff spatula or wooden spoon. It might be slower this way but it ensures that the flour is fully hydrated into the water.
- When you're halfway through the dry ingredients, add a few glugs of olive oil and mix it in well. Continue adding dry ingredients until everything is mixed together.
- When all the ingredients are incorpoirated, you should be left with a very wet and sticky ball of shaggy dough. Cover the bowl up and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- With your spatula, mix the dough ball around again. You should notice the texture of the dough is now much smoother than before with less dough sticking to the spatula.
- No-knead method: Cover the dough or transport it to a plastic container and let it sit at room temperature over night.
- Traditional method: Give the dough a quick 10 -15 minute (max) knead then cover it up and let it rise for 1-3 hours, or until it's approximately doubled in size. The time will vary depending on the temperature of your room
- For either method, give the dough a final quick knead (1-2 minutes), then weigh and divide the dough up into tightly rolled individual dough balls. This step is crucial and will have a big impact on your finished product. Check the video above for visual instructions on how to do this.
- Place the dough ball into a lightly floured container and cover it up tightly. Let the ball proof for 1-2 hours before using it to make pizza.
- Alternatively, place the floured container with the dough ball in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you're ready to use it, make sure to give it 2-3 hours to reach room temperature before using it. If you live in a warm climate, this might take a lot less time.