Over the years we’ve loved studying and learning about bread—especially pizzas. It is something of an obsession of ours to try and find the best wood-fired pizza in each city we travel to. We’ve learned a lot from listening to great bakers and watching them bake their doughs. One thing they all seem to have in common is that they don’t overhandle the dough. The more you work it, the tougher it gets. With most of the great pizzas we’ve had, the bakers are not kneading their dough, but just mixing it and letting the yeast go to work. And when they handle their dough to make pizzas, it isn’t with a heavy, forceful hand, but rather by gently letting gravity stretch and form the dough. It is graceful and gentle. The amount of flour in the recipe should yield a dough that will be easy to handle with just a touch of extra flour for dusting when you are stretching it. If you are comfortable with handling the dough, experiment with putting a bit less flour in it. This will make for a lighter crust, but because the dough is wetter, it will be a bit more challenging to work with.

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Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups (300ml) warm water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 3 ⅓ cups (415g) flour

Method

Directions

  1. In a large bowl or resealable container, stir together the water, yeast, honey, and salt. Stir in the flour until no streak of flour remains.
  2. Cover the dough and set aside in a warm area to proof for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in volume. Set aside in the refrigerator until chilled, or for up to 1 week (see Note).
  3. When you are ready to make pizzas, divide the dough in half and place the dough balls on a well-floured surface. Allow the dough to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. The dough should feel soft and pillowy.
  4. With floured hands, lightly flour the first dough ball. Using your hands, rotate and gently pull out the dough, working from the center outward to stretch it, leaving the outer rim as untouched as possible. Stretch to a circle 7 to 8 inches (17.5 to 20cm) in diameter.
  5. Resting the dough on the tops of your hands, continue to rotate and circle, gently stretching the dough to about 10 inches (25cm) in diameter. Make sure to keep the rim thicker than the center. (If the dough starts to toughen and spring back too much while you work on it, allow it to rest for a few minutes so it will relax and soften.) Lightly re-flour your hands, the work surface, and the dough as needed to keep the dough from sticking.
  6. Use the dough as directed in individual recipes.

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