Pizza is one of the most popular meals in the world, whether it's Neopolitan from a five-star Italian restaurant or takeaway from your nearest Papa Johns, people just love to kick back with their friends and family over a pizza.
But are you looking for a way to radically improve the texture and flavor of your next pizza? Well, if you fancy the challenge of home cooking your pizza, then you’ll be keen to hear one of the little known secrets for elevating your it to the next level - that’s with cold fermented pizza dough.
Fermenting? Isn’t that something you do with beers? No, fermentation is a very important part of the dough making process and it might sound like a complex and difficult process, but we can promise you that it isn’t!
If you want to make the most impeccable cold-fermented Neapolitan pizza, then you should follow our handy how-to guide.
Just remember that making a great pizza will take a lot of time and a lot of patience. Anyone who has made a pizza before will know that they’ll have to set aside at least 2 hours from prepping the initial ingredients to sliding your fully baked pizza fresh from the oven. It’s a meticulous science that people spend their whole lives trying to perfect.
But how can you make cold fermented pizza dough? What ingredients do you need? What is the best way of preparing them? How should you cook them together to make sure that your pizza doesn’t come out with the shape and texture of an old car tire? How much will it cost to put all these items together to make a pizza rich in flavor?
Well, pizza-lovers of the world don’t need to worry about these things any longer, as we’ve got the perfect recipe for cold fermented pizza dough. This stuff will give your pizza that rich and sumptuous flavor.
We’ve also got an intensive break-down of toppings and cheeses that will work well with this pizza dough, as well as where to find the best ingredients and what materials you need for your oven baker.
So, what are you waiting for? Fire up the oven, grab your cooking gloves and start reading, in a few hours you too can have a pizza that you and your friends would die for!
Cold Fermented Pizza Dough - The Pizza Of The Future!
But what is fermentation? Well, fermentation is basically a metabolic process by which the chemical composition of organic matter changes, usually resulting in a change in both texture and flavor.
Fermentation is when you create carbohydrates that devour yeast and, which is then converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide. When exposed to this process, the yeast releases gas, which is what causes your dough to rise, giving that thick, firm and bubbly texture.
The flavor of this dough is vastly different from that of regular pizza dough, as when the sugars and starches are eaten up by the yeast, the crust that develops over it having a much richer and more earthy flavor - some pizza fans have compared it to olive oil.
One of the better side effects of this process of fermentation is that the natural flavors in your dough will be greatly enhanced, which in turn results in a great tasting pizza.
One of the big secrets for this unique flavor is temperature control - by lowering the heat during fermentation, you’re slowing down the pace at which the yeast consumes your dough. This will result in rich and more complex flavor profiles that will make your dough taste out of this world!
This process of lowering the temperature of your pizza dough is essentially what is involved in cold fermentation. Now let’s look at the method of fermenting your pizza dough in the fridge.
The Process Of Cold Fermentation
Cold fermentation operates via a very simple process - all you need to do is let your dough ferment in a cool environment such as your fridge, rather than allowing it to ferment at room temperature.
This is how you achieve the slow-fermentation process that we’ve described above.
How To Store Cold Fermented Pizza Dough In The Fridge
The best temperature to cold ferment pizza dough is roughly 59-64-degrees Fahrenheit or 15-18-degrees celsius. Therefore, your fridge might be too cold for cold fermentation, causing the process to slow down so drastically that it will halt entirely, resulting in a very flat dough.
So, we would recommend that you use your fridge for the fermentation process only, but do not use it to store your dough. If you have a cool basement, we would recommend that you store it there, as the chances are that it will preserve the unique flavors that you get from cold fermentation.
If you do not have a basement in which to store your fermented pizza dough, then we suggest that you make it to eat immediately.
How Long Should Pizza Dough Be Cold Fermented?
We would recommend that you chill your dough in the fridge for at least 24 hours to get that sumptuous and earthy flavor that we described above.
Once you have rolled your dough into palm-sized balls and wrapped them in saran wrap (as described in our recipe below) then you can store them in the fridge.
You could take them out of your fridge much sooner than this, but you won’t get that distinctive flavor of cold fermented pizza dough. It will still be edible though, so you can try taking it out at different times to see which flavors you prefer.
Cold Fermented Pizza Dough Recipe
Making a great pizza requires great ingredients. It’s all about quality, so you’ll want the freshest toppings such as cheeses, vegetables and meats you can find.
We would recommend shopping at your local farmers market, although if this is not accessible, go to your nearest big-box supermarket.
The same goes for the ingredients in your pizza dough. Having poor quality yeast, flour and salt is one surefire way of having a very poor quality pizza that tastes not too dissimilar from cardboard. This will also affect how well that it’ll cook, you might find yourself with a dry, crusty and thin base rather than a thick one with plenty of air and flavor in it.
Make sure that you have quality ingredients before you even attempt to bake. Getting halfway through a recipe before discovering that you have a shoddy ingredient is only a recipe for disaster in the kitchen.
Now we’re going to look at one of the bedrocks of a good pizza: flour, and how picking out the right brand will make all the difference.
Say It With Flours
This is probably the most important aspect of pizza dough. You can get whole grain, white and whole wheat flour, as well as pumpkin and oat flours or even semolina. You can have top quality salt, water and yeast, but if your flour is grainy and mass-produced, it simply won’t rise to the occasion.
The flour will also determine the flavor of your pizza, especially in the cold fermentation process, as this is where the unique flavor of your cold fermented pizza will be coming from. So, picking out the right flour will be crucial.
Picking The Right Flour
For cold fermentation, we would recommend that you try and find the strongest brand on the market.
The flour’s strength will determine the protein’s ability to develop strong walls of gluten that will contain the gas produced by your yeast. This is why the dough expands, it’s because it’s containing the rising carbon dioxide.
The strength of most flours are measured with a ‘W’ on the packet, and they commonly range from 100-300W. The gluten structure of a 300W flour will undoubtedly be able to contain the gasses easier, which will preserve the shape of your dough as it rises.
If you use a weaker strength of flour, then your pizza dough will collapse when left to ferment over the long period that you need to store it for during the cold fermentation process (24 hours). This collapsing is called proofing and it happens because the gluten in the flour is not strong enough to contain the rising CO2.
The ideal strength for a decent cold fermented pizza dough is 300W, as it will keep for up to 48 hours in the fridge and up to a week in a cold storage area of around 59-degrees Fahrenheit or 15-degree celsius.
What Is The Best Brand Of Flour For Cold Fermented Pizza Dough?
We would recommend using the best in Italian flour, especially Tipo 00 Italian-milled wheat flour. The 00 in the name refers to the fact that it is rated as some of the finest milled flour on the market. This is because it utilizes only the wheat’s core, meaning that it has less brand and wheat middlings.
Tipo 00 is also incredibly stable and will have no trouble containing the gasses released by your yeast over a protracted period. With its strong gluten content, you’ll have a dough that maintains its shape throughout the longer fermentation process.
Tipo 00 flour is the best choice for cold fermented pizza dough, with a finely ground consistency and a high protein content. When kneaded well, you’ll end up with an elastic stretchy dough that you can roll into perfect palm-sized balls that you can then put straight in the fridge.
Having this kind of dough is perfect for the cold fermentation process, as it will maintain whatever shape you roll it for the long rise duration.
Below is the link for Antimo Caputo Chef’s Flour that is ideal for use in the cold fermentation process.
This flour is one of the best on the market for long-fermentation baking, originating in Italy, it has been used by chefs in Neapolitan pizza baking for generations.
They have a long-established reputation, which is important when trying to source good quality natural ingredients.
With a fine grain texture and high protein content, this will be able to hold its shape well during the long fermentation process.
This is great to bake in home ovens that reach anywhere between 500-600-degrees. You can also buy a brand of flour that can be put in ovens that reach over 700-degrees.
This flour is made up of 100% natural ingredients, with no additives that might cause your final dough starter to collapse entirely while in the fridge.
It will preserve its shape either in a high-powered oven or a chiller, when it comes to making flavorsome pizzas, you won’t want any other brand.
- This is the flour used by professionals and is ideal for long-rise baking. It has been used by chefs in Italy for generations, and they should know a thing or two about making traditional pizzas.
- The texture and flavor of your pizzas will be perfect, with a soft and flavorful texture in your pizza that can’t be matched by any other manufacturers.
- This is great for baking in high-powered ovens, the dough still maintaining its shape and integrity in both cold and warm temperatures.
- The finely-milled flour is perfect for water absorption and will give your dough that elastic yet durable consistency, perfect for long term storage.
- This flour is also great for making pasta, gourmet bread and cakes, it is the perfect all-purpose natural flour.
- The price - some users have complained that this flour is too expensive for the amount that you get in a packet.
That’s a brief look at just one of the flours that you can use in your pizza base. Do your research and find a flour that you think has similar properties. Remember these 3 things:
- Plenty of protein - this will preserve your dough’s shape in the fridge during fermentation.
- Finely-milled - this is great for when you add water, allowing you to shape it into many different styles.
- Make sure it is at 300W - this will ensure that it is of optimal strength.
Now that’s covered the flour quite comprehensively, but it's time to move on to the other important ingredients for a decent quality flour - water and yeast.
Clean Water And Yeast
When mixing your dough, you should always use the cleanest water to avoid impurities getting into the mix. If you can’t use regular tap water, we would recommend that you buy bottled mineral water.
The temperature of your water should be around 20-degrees (68-Fahrenheit) as the temperature will naturally get warmer during the kneading process, coming into contact with the warmth of your hands. This will ensure that your dough will reach the optimum temperature during the cold fermentation process.
In terms of yeast, we would recommend that you use either fresh or dried yeast, as fresh yeast gives your dough that little bit more flavor, while dry yeast is more convenient as it has a longer shelf life. Either one won’t dramatically affect the outcome of your overall bread though.
One of the best-recommended yeasts that we’ve tried is Caputo Lievito, which is made from a rare yeast species that has been used in the Naples region of baking for hundreds of years. It makes a solid pizza crust, check out our review of it below.
This yeast is one of the best on the market, coming from a trusted Italian brand, this has currently over one thousand positive reviews on Amazon, which is important when buying quality ingredients.
The shelf life on this yeast is very low, but that is a testament to how active it is, ideal for fresh pizza bases.
There are no additional chemicals in this yeast that might ruin the quality of your pizza base, bread or cake.
This yeast ferments strongly and quickly, making it great for longer fermentation processes such as ones that occur naturally in the fridge. This will not collapse under intense pressures over a long period.
This yeast will not die during intense cooking, making it one of the most durable currently available on the market.
It has strong fermentative capabilities that make it highly adaptable to long fermentation processes. This active dry yeast can still be stored for many weeks, although you can expect it to lose its potency over time.
- This comes with no chemicals or poisonous additives, making it ideal for those who want to keep their dough fresh and their pizzas all-natural.
- This yeast has very powerful fermenting capabilities, making it great for rising your dough over a long period and perfect for cold fermentation processes too.
- This is a genuine Italian yeast that is used by bakers and pizza specialists across Italy, so if you want that authentic Italian pizza texture and taste, we would recommend this yeast.
- This is fed with Italian molasses that give the yeast a pleasant flavor. If you combine this with a decent strong-protein flour, you will have a dough that tastes delicious even by itself.
- This yeast has a lower shelf life than regular yeast, so you might have to use it a lot quicker than some other brands.
Bear in mind that the 10g of fresh yeast is roughly the same as 5g of dried yeast and 3g of active dry yeast. So you’ll have to adjust the amount of yeast that you’re using relative to the amount of flour and water that you have.
Cold fermented pizza dough needs a lot less yeast than most pizza recipes that you might find, as this yeast is generally more powerful and takes longer to expand.
You’ll want to slow down the rising process as much as possible. If you want a really slow fermentation time, then you’ll have to use as little yeast as possible.
Salt And Extra Virgin Olive Oil
If you’re intending on baking a traditional Italian pizza base, then you don’t need to add your olive oil directly into the dough, as oil results in the dough conducting far more heat, which will alter the overall constitution of your dough.
If you place dough containing oil into the heated furnace of a traditional stone oven, then you can expect your pizza base to burn.
However, there is a way of utilizing the conductive properties of olive oil if you are cooking a pizza in a regular home oven. This will help the pizza achieve that much crispier crust when it is done cooking.
You won’t have to invest a small fortune in a decent bottle of olive oil, but we would recommend getting some extra virgin olive oil. This type of oil is unrefined and of very high quality, as well as being a great-tasting olive oil.
However, when shopping for a decent olive oil, try and avoid the companies that simply add virgin olive oil to low-quality unrefined oil.
As for salt, all we recommend is buying a decent tub of sea salt that has no extra additives.
This extra virgin olive oil comes from a family of olive oil farmers and craftsmen that have been reaping their produce since 1906.
And judging by the thousands of positive reviews that this oil has garnered, they can’t be doing a bad job of it!
This olive oil is perfect for either garnishing or adding to your recipe, with rich flavor and freshness - introducing the Pompeian Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
This company is owned and operated by a group of passionate Pompeian farmers who have lived and worked in the region for generations.
Whether it’s the quality of the soil or the changing of the seasons, these farmers know their region like the back of their hand. They grow and press their olives with nothing but the utmost craftsmanship and care.
From the grove to the table, this company knows what needs to be done to deliver the finest quality olive oil to you for your pizza dough recipe.
They carefully monitor the conditions of their olive oil to ensure that it has plenty of antioxidants in it, making it the optimum healthy choice for you and your family.
- This comes with 100% natural olive ingredients, perfect for sautéing, grilling, baking, frying, roasting and using in salads, soups, sauces and marinades.
- The natural components result in olive oil that is non-allergenic, so you won’t have to worry about it aggravating you or the more sensitive members of your family.
- This enhances rather than dominates the flavor of your dishes, which is often commonly experienced among cheaper unrefined natural oils.
- This olive oil retains a high conductive property, which is great for greasing the pan. The natural flavors will also transfer to whatever you’re baking, giving it that smooth and earthy texture we associate with this wonderful oil.
- The price - with that extra all-natural flavor and texture comes a higher price tag, which might not appeal to cooks that are attempting baking for the first time and don’t want to spend too much on accessories.
Okay, so we’ve given you an in-depth breakdown of the ingredients that make up the foundations of your pizza dough, now we’re going to look at how to make the other elements of your cold fermented pizza.
First, we’re going to look at toppings.
Toppings - The Lifeblood Of Your Pizza
We know what you’re thinking - do you top a cold fermented pizza differently to how you would a regular pizza? Thankfully, the answer to this is no. You can put all your favorite toppings on a cold fermented pizza, including any sauces, cheese, vegetables and meats that you desire.
However, we would recommend that you use fresh ingredients, as putting canned tuna or sweetcorn on a pizza would be like wearing tracksuit bottoms with a velvet suit jacket. We would recommend that you get the most from your flavors, picking something that might complement the earthy texture of your cold fermented pizza dough.
But when it comes to putting toppings on your pizza, remember that the golden rule is less is more! A very common mistake is to put too many toppings on.
With Neapolitan-style pizzas, the quicker the bake the better it will taste. The more ingredients you add on top, the longer that your pizza will take and the higher the chances are of the edges being burnt and the base being soggy and undercooked.
Also, loading your pizza with toppings will mean that it takes much longer to move it from the oven onto your pizza peel, making it more likely to stick and break apart when you try and transfer it from the peel to the plate.
Remember: you want a nice balance between your ingredients, rather than having lots of different flavors competing with each other and overwhelming your pallet.
That’s a brief word on toppings, next we’re going to cover another often overlooked component of the perfect pizza- that’s the sauce.
Keep It Simple - How To Use The Best Sauce For Your Pizza
While we would not recommend using anything from a tin as a topping, we would suggest that you use fresh tinned tomatoes for your sauce. You can pick up a lot of these tins from your local supermarket or grocery store.
The reason that we would recommend tinned tomatoes is for that fresh, festy flavor that whole tomatoes simply don’t deliver. Tomatoes from the grocery store are often not as flavorful and sweet as ones from a tin. You can also spread tomatoes from a tin a lot easier than you can whole ones.
The Best Pizza Sauce Recipe
In Naples, they use San Marzano tomatoes, which are picked during the season when they are the ripest, canned to preserve the flavor.
They make all the difference, and even the least-proficient in pizza tasters will be able to tell the difference between a regular Neapolitan style pizza and one that uses San Marzano tomatoes.
However, San Marzano tomatoes can be difficult to find and come at the more expensive end of the canned tomato price range. We would recommend buying canned cherry tomatoes as they are very similar in flavor to the San Marzanos.
As well as canned tomatoes, you’re going to need a few other ingredients to make that classic pizza sauce, including salt, basil and extra virgin olive oil.
- A can of whole, skinless tomatoes, ideally San Marzano (400g)
- Sea salt (one teaspoon)
- Fresh basil leaves (3 or 4)
- Extra virgin olive oil (1 tablespoon)
All you need to do is mix these ingredients before spreading them evenly on your pizza. If you fancy your sauce slightly on the sweet side, we’d suggest adding just a pinch of sugar and mixing it in well.
Cheese, Cheese, Cheese
When it comes to cheese, the list is potentially endless. You can either let one type of cheese dominate your pizza or mix and match a few different varieties. You can have anything from brie and mozzarella to three cheese pizza with olives and mushrooms.
The most traditional of the cheese bases is mozzarella, which gives a nice, rich and creamy contrast to the crusty texture of the base and the zestiness of the canned tomato sauce. However, we would also recommend a partially melted camembert or brie, complimenting it with a pickle or onion relish.
You can get some harder and stronger cheeses that will rise about the milder taste of the mozzarella. We would suggest Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano for your cheese pizza topping.
The Best Way To Bake A Pizza
Baking a traditional Neapolitan requires you to put it in a wood-fired oven that is set to a temperature of around 900-degrees Fahrenheit (480-degrees Celsius) for 60-90 seconds. The heat is reflected from the ceiling of your oven, which then bakes the top of the pizza to perfection while hardening the underneath.
When cooking a pizza, either at home or in a restaurant scenario, you’ll want to bake the pizza in a 360-degree fashion so that none of it is undercooked. You’ll want to recreate this cooking method if you’re making a pizza in a standard oven.
You’ll need an oven that radiates heat from a grill above and below, with a balance between each of the heat sources. You’ll want to avoid a top with unmelted cheese and an undercooked and soggy bread base. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the edges of your pizza, as these are often the first parts of a pizza to burn, being thinner than the center.
If you bake your pizza quickly, then you’ll have a crispy and browned top with an airy and softer texture on the inside. This kind of browning on the outside can only be achieved with a high-intensity, short style of baking.
You might not be able to get this kind of baking style from your home oven, however, we have figured out a method of getting that perfect Italian-baked pizza style from using your home oven!
DYOP - Doing Your Own Pizza
Most people will not have a traditional stone bake oven in their backyard, so you’ll probably want to know how to get that traditional style of Italian pizza using just an average-sized oven with standard heat settings.
Baking In A Home Oven - Stone Or Steel Peels
One thing that you’ll need to replicate that traditional pizza design in your home oven is by using a pizza peel. Pizza peels are an easy way of transferring your pizza quickly from the blasting heat of your oven’s interior to your kitchen worktop.
If you don’t have a pizza peel, then we would recommend that you go out and buy one.
This pizza peel is perfect for a home cook who wants that authentic Italian, style pizza, coming in a wood construction, you can blast your pizza with the intense heat of a home oven for a minute or so and you won’t have to worry about the transfer of any unsavory flavors from your peel to the base of your pizza.
The material of this pizza peel is basswood, which is extremely lightweight and durable, easily being able to withstand the baking hot interior of your oven.
The even texture of this peel will be less prone to cracking and won’t secrete any foul-tasting oils that will affect the taste of your cooked pizza.
You have a wide enough base on this peel to cook pizzas that are up to 12-inches in diameter, with a tapered edge that makes it very easy to slide it underneath your cooking pizza, so you can retrieve it just before it burns.
The handle is very easy to hold and won’t transfer any heat from the base to your hand as some steel peels would.
- The material - made from sturdy basswood, you can be sure that this won’t crack or split, which will be crucial to the longevity of your pizza peel.
- The design on this peel is great, with a reliable balance between the handle and the base, which will ensure that your pizza won’t break apart when it comes out of the oven.
- The width of this pizza peel can accommodate even the largest, most topping-heavy pizza, which will be very important for retrieving it to check on how well it has browned throughout your cooking session.
- You can also use this pizza peel for pizzas, bread, cupcakes and muffin pans, the versatility of this peel is great for all sorts of baked goods.
- Some users have complained that this wooden pizza peel has a faint chemical smell that affects the final taste of the pizza.
This is one of the best pizza peels on the market, although there are some highly recommended steel models on Amazon that have rubber handles and do the job of shifting your pizza out of the oven with just as much reliability as a wooden one.
Ultimately, both steel and wooden versions of pizza peel should be very easy to clean. Hygiene will be of paramount importance when cooking your next pizza, as the last thing you want is bacteria or mold transferring from one pizza to another.
How To Get Your Baking Surface At The Right Heat
The baking surface is the most important part of your pizza surface, as it is the only part of your oven that comes into contact with the pizza itself. You’ll need a baking surface that can conduct heat well. If you’re going to be baking your pizza on a shred of aluminum foil, then it’s not going to get hot enough to cook your pizza right the way through.
The best option for you will be to get a specially adapted pizza stone or pizza steel if you want that traditional fast-cooking, warmed-through texture and temperature for your pizza. Both of these surfaces essentially serve the same purpose - they retain enough heat to ensure that your pizza cooks faster.
Pizza steel is a lot more durable and is a lot easier to clean after use. Steel is also far less prone to cracking than stone, which does have a habit of breaking when contracting as it loses heat.
The thickness of the stone or steel will affect how well it can retain the heat and ultimately heat your pizza. Thicker stones and steels will heat the pizza a lot quicker.
Firstly to bake pizza properly, you’ll have to preheat your stone or steel to a very high temperature, putting it in the oven for at least 45-60 minutes, needing time to build up enough heat that they can retain throughout your pizza cooking.
If you want that perfect golden-brown crust on your pizza like you would get from a wood-fired oven, then you’re going to need to heat your pizza stone first.
If you are cooking multiple pizzas in one session, you should make sure that you’re reheating your stone every 2 or 3 pizzas, as the lower temperature of your room temperature pizza will lower the temperature of the stone. To keep every one of your pizzas crispy and tasty, you should reheat the stone for 10 to 15 minutes every 2 or 3 pizzas.
How To Get The Top Of The Pizza Cooked Perfect
But that’s only the beginning of cooking with a pizza stone or steel, you’ll have to figure out how best to radiate the heat throughout the entirety of your pizza. If you have an oven that comes with a broil or grill setting, then these are the ideal methods for raising the temperature to the level of pizza baking.
The closer you place your oven shelf to the broiler, then the hotter it’s going to get, so you’ll want to set your pizza stone as high as possible. You should ideally have it around 2 inches from the grill itself. If you cannot get it within this distance from your griller, we would recommend raising it by placing it on a thick sheet of aluminum foil.
To get that delicious and golden brown texture on your pizza, you’ll need to keep your broiler on for as long as possible during your cooking, which might be difficult as it tends to switch off automatically to stop your oven from overheating.
One way to divert this automatic safety setting is by putting your oven on a low setting first before you place your pizza in the oven, then cranking the broiler up to full so you have the maximum amount of heat for those essential few minutes. This will ensure that your broiler is on for the entirety of the time you’ll be cooking your pizza.
Your baking surface will be able to hold the heat for long enough to warm through the base of your pizza, avoiding sogginess in the center and dryness in the crust.
Home Oven Vs Pizza Oven - Getting The Time Just Right
The time for baking your pizza correctly will depend on a few things: the temperature of your oven, the power of your broiler and the material of your baking surface.
A high powered oven with a decent broiler and a pizza stone baking surface will cook a lot quicker than a medium oven and broiler with a steel cooking surface.
Ideally, you’ll want to keep your pizza in the oven for no longer than 3-8 minutes, but what is even more important than this is having the ability to check on your pizza, either by looking through a glass-fronted door or having your oven open during the baking process. This will allow you to slide the pizza out regularly to check on how brown it is.
You should know the functionality of your home oven before you start baking your pizza. You should be fairly familiar with how quickly that it cooks things like chicken, vegetables and breaded goods.
The one thing that you should be keeping in mind is the temperature between the oven and the baking surface, maintaining that balance as you cook your pizza.
As we have mentioned earlier, the thicker the pizza stone or steel, then the more heat it will be able to retain and the quicker the pizza will cook (although it will take longer to get the stone to the right temperature).
However, if your oven is not up to scratch and it won’t be able to keep your stone at the optimum temperature, then you might experience a pizza that is damp and undercooked on the top and dry or burnt-out underneath.
For a less powerful oven, one that can only reach temperatures of 500-degrees rather than 600-degrees, we would recommend buying a thinner pizza stone or steel. Remember: for a thinner baking surface, you’ll have to allow for a lot longer baking time to make sure that the underside is cooked to perfection.
In a pizza oven, things get significantly easier, as these devices are designed to be able to perform the task of cooking a pizza the traditional way. If you are lucky enough to own a pizza oven, then the cooking principles are much the same.
You’ll still want to preheat the oven until it gets as close as possible to 900-degrees, allowing you to bake the pizza for the optimal time of 60-90 seconds until it has a decent crispy bottom and a leopard-style brown and yellow pattern on the top. You’ll want to make sure that the cheese is entirely melted and all your toppings are grilled.
One way to improve how well your pizza is cooking is by employing a thermometer to your baking. This way you’ll be able to measure with scientific accuracy how well your pizza has been baked.
Your Cold Fermented Pizza Dough Recipe
The following recipe will give you roughly 4 portion-sized pizzas which will be around 12-inches in diameter, although you can double or triple the size of this recipe to accommodate any number of guests that you happen to be entertaining. You can also freeze any leftover dough.
The following are the ingredients that you’ll need for this cold fermented pizza dough recipe:
- Tipo 00 Flour (500g)
- Water (320ml)
- Salt (10g)
- Yeast (1g)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (10g)
- Semolina for dusting the pizza peel
- Tomato sauce (canned)
- Cheese (ideally mozzarella)
- Toppings (your choice)
Step 1: How To Make Your Dough
Your water should be around room temperature. Pour the entire measurement into a large mixing bowl, adding the salt and mixing it until it has completely dissolved.
Then you'll need to add roughly 10% of your flour and mix it until it has maintained a consistent texture, almost like batter. Then you should add all of your yeast, again mixing it until it has been completely absorbed by your flour and water mixture.
As you’re mixing add the flour slowly until the solution has formed into a dough-like consistency. When all your flour has been mixed in, then let the dough stand for about 5 minutes before adding your olive oil.
After you’ve put in your olive oil, you’ll want to knead the dough either in a stand mixer with a dough hook for around 10-15 minutes or 20 minutes by hand. Doing it by hand might give you that added control over the dough.
Numerous factors will affect the consistency of your dough, such as how much gluten is in the flour, as well as the temperature and humidity of the room that you’re cooking in. This means that you’ll have to adapt your recipe accordingly.
If you are cooking in a humid environment, you’ll have to increase the level of your flour, whereas you’ll have to reduce it if the atmosphere is slightly dry. Remember that a dryer air will sap the moisture from the air, whereas a more humid environment will make your dough moister.
Step 2. Bulk Fermentation And How To Make It Your Friend
Before cold fermentation can begin, you have to leave it to rise in a bowl covered with a damp cover or saran wrap for roughly 2 hours for the fermentation process to begin. We call this process bulk fermentation because all of your dough is rising at the same time.
Bulk fermentation allows the yeast to start the process of releasing gas and gives the dough the best chance of rising when you transition to the cold fermentation stage.
To prevent the dough from getting stuck to the underside of the bowl, we would recommend that you brush the base lightly with oil, although the oil contained in the dough should make it easier to remove from your container.
Step 3. Rolling Your Dough Balls
Using a sharp knife, split the dough into 4 roughly-equal segments. Once you’ve done that, roll them into evenly shaped balls, checking their weight to make sure they’re even.
Once this has been done, place them in an air-tight Tupperware box with individual bowls for each dough ball, covered in plastic wrap or a lid. You need to make sure that it’s airtight to prevent the balls from crusting.
Step 4. How To Cold Ferment Your Balls
Place your balls in a cool room for roughly 3-5 days or in the fridge for roughly 24-48 hours.
Allow the dough to ferment slowly over time, do not remove the lid at any point.
Step 5. Forming Your Pizza
Take one pizza ball from the fridge and place it in a bowl sprinkled with flour to prevent the ball from sticking. You’ll want the flour to cover your surface as well as your dough ball, but you don’t want it to dry out your dough, so keep it light. Excess flour can also burn in the oven.
Stretch out your dough to around 12-inches in diameter, forming that classic pizza shape, leaving an inch around the edge for that classic pizza crust with light air bubbles inside. You should make the center of your pizza base so thin that you can almost see through it.
Then add the tomato sauce, the cheese and whatever toppings that you’ve chosen. Lightly drizzle your semolina on your pizza peel until it is completely covered. If your pizza dough still sticks to the upper surface, scrape it off and pepper it with a little extra flour.
Step 6. Baking Your Pizza
If you’re baking in an oven with a broiler function, you’re going to want to keep checking it during its 3-8 minutes of baking time. You’ll know that it’s been cooked properly when the crust is crisp and slightly charred, the cheese on the top completely melted.
Use your pizza peel to take your pizza in and out of the oven.
Step 7. Tuck Into Your Delicious Pizza!
Now, all there is to do is enjoy the sumptuous and unique flavor of your cold fermented pizza!
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