Makes 4 individual-sized pizzas
Preparation time: about 15-20 minutes
Total elapsed time: 3 days (best) or 4-1/2 hours
1 cup stone-ground whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached all-purpose (white) flour
1/2 packet active dry yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 cups (12 oz.) warm water — about 105-110° F
toppings: can include things like tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, onions, peppers, fresh basil, etc.
1. Mix the ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours and salt.
Lightly coat a glass bowl or plastic container with olive oil and set aside.
In another large mixing bowl, combine warm water and yeast; add the flour-salt mix to the water-yeast mix
[Alternatively, add the yeast to the water in the measuring cup — rather than using a separate bowl — stir to dissolve the yeast; then add the yeast-water mix directly to the flour bowl] Stir flour and water together into a sticky lump of dough with a wooden mixing spoon and place on floured board.
2. Knead the dough
Press down the dough with the palms of your hands, bending one end of the dough over the other and then rotating it 90°; repeat approximately 80-100 times, forming it into a ball.
Place the dough ball in the lightly oiled glass bowl or plastic container; cover the bowl or container.
3. First rise (3 days is best)
For best results, place the dough in your refrigerator for 3 days.
(Alternatively, leave the dough out at room temperature for 2 hours.)
4. Punch down the dough
Lightly coat 4 small plastic containers with olive oil and set aside.
Remove the dough from the bowl or container and place on a floured board.
With your hands, press down on the dough and spread out into a thin sheet — about 1/2 in. or 3/4 in. thick.
With a sharp knife, divide the dough into four equal pieces; fold each piece over a few times (see "kneading" above) and form into balls, placing each ball into a small lightly oiled plastic container and covering.
5. Second rise (2 hours at room temperature)
Leave the dough out at room temperature for 2 hours.
Remove the dough from one of the containers and place on a floured board. (The remaining doughs can be frozen for future use — to prepare the frozen doughs, defrost in your refrigerator for 8-10 hours; then place on floured board and proceed as follows.)
6. Hand-stretch the dough
Press down the dough until it is flat and relatively thin; then take in your hands, holding it from its top edge, so that the weight of gravity extends and stretches the dough, all the while rotating the dough so that the stretching is evenly distributed.
Place the stretched dough on a silicone baking pad (for use on a pizza stone), directly on a floured baking pan, or on parchment paper in a baking pan. See my video at right (or here) for silicone-pizza stone technique.
7. Prepare the toppings
Spread the toppings over the pizza; I prefer applying tomato sauce first and mozzarella cheese last, with any other toppings in between.
Preheat oven and bake at 550° for 8-10 minutes (8 minutes when using a pizza stone; 10 minutes without). If you bake at less than 550° (for example, when using parchment paper), you may need up to 12 minutes or more.
8. Buon Appetito!
© 2014 J. Ochshorn. All rights reserved. Republishing material on this web site, whether in print or on another web site, in whole or in part, is not permitted without advance permission of the author.
First posted 24 August 2014; last updated: 7 September 2014