Making a good quality pizza dough is surprisingly difficult. Sure, it’s technically just flour, water, yeast and salt, but the secret to a delicious pizza is in how your incorporate, or knead, those ingredients together. This is why I recommend beginner pizza-makers to use a no-knead pizza dough instead of kneading by hand.
When you’re kneading a pizza dough, what you’re really doing is creating a gluten structure within the ingredients. This network of gluten that forms when you knead it is what gives the dough its strength. Without a strong gluten structure, the dough would simply break and tear when you stretch it. This is why gluten free pizza crust is usually so different from the real thing.
Kneading is not easy however. It requires a lot of arm strength and a lot of time. Cumulatively, you might spend 20-30 minutes kneading your dough before it has the strength it needs to withstand the shaping and baking process.
What usually happens, though, is that the dough starts off messy and wet, and to prevent it from sticking to your hands you add more flour. And as you add more and more flour, the dough becomes drier and drier. You’ll then knead it for another few minutes, get tired, and then leave the dough to rise for a couple of hours before shaping it into a pizza. The resulting pizza will almost inevitably be dry, flat and have a hard crunchy crust that you won’t eat anyways.
The No-Knead Pizza Dough Solution
Luckily there is an alternative to kneading–instead of using your strength to create the gluten structure manually, you can let time do the job for you. How? You simply mix the wet and dry ingredients together and let it sit in the bowl for 18-24 hours at room temperature. Afterwards, you can either form it into a ball and use it to make a pizza, or put the whole thing in the fridge to cold-ferment for another 24 hours. Either way, your dough will be pro-quality and make for one of the lightest, fluffiest and chewiest pizza crusts you’ve ever made.
Want to know exactly how I prepare my no-knead pizza dough? Read the full set of instructions here. And if you have the time, I highly recommend cold fermenting your dough for another 24 hours in the fridge. Not only will your pizza be extra delicious, it will be super digestible as well.