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Cold-Fermented Pizza Dough
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Cold Fermented Pizza Dough Recipe

My go-to pizza recipe for an outdoor oven or home oven uses a slow, cold fermentation method for better flavor and texture. For the most accurate results, use a scale.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword 24 hour, 72 hour dough, baking, bread baking, cold fermentation, dinner, dinner party, fermented, pizza, pizza dough, proofing, weekend projects
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Inactive Time 1 day 6 hours
Total Time 1 day 7 hours 15 minutes
Servings 5 230g pizza dough balls (10” - 12” pizzas)
Calories 514kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 686 g 00 High-Protein Flour like Antimo Caputo (5 cups) | 100%
  • 20 g Diamond crystal kosher salt 3 1/2 teaspoons | if using any other brand of salt, use 20g in weight or 1 3/4 teaspoon in volume | 2.9%
  • 0.8 g Instant yeast 1/4 teaspoon | avoid rapid-rise | 0.12%
  • 425 g Lukewarm water 1 3/4 cups + 1 tablespoon | make sure to use lukewarm but not hot water as it will kill the yeast | 62% |
  • 8 g Extra-virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons | 1.2%
  • Semolina or 00 Flour for dusting

Instructions

Preparing the dough

  • In a large mixing bowl, stir flour, salt, and yeast until combined with a wooden spoon.
  • In the center of the bowl, form a shallow well with your hands and slowly pour in the water and olive oil. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with your hands or the spoon until just combined. No dry bits should remain, but it will still look quite shaggy.
  • Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Knead the dough for 5 minutes. It will look smoother and feel less sticky at this point.
  • Perform 3 sets of stretch and fold, each spaced apart by a 30 minute rest period. So the timeline will look like this:
    Stretch and Fold #1: perform 30 minutes after kneading, then let rest for 30 minutes covered
    Stretch and Fold #2: perform 30 minutes after stretch and fold #1, then let rest for 30 minutes covered
    Stretch and Fold #3: perform 30 minutes after stretch and fold #2, then let rest for 30 minutes covered. Dough should feel quite strong (it will resist stretching slightly) and show visible gas bubbling. If you’re not seeing this gas bubbling, let sit out for another hour or so until you observe this.
  • Cover dough and let sit in the fridge for 24 to 72 hours.
  • After 24 to 72 hours, and on the day you'd like to make the pizza, take dough out of fridge.
    Divide dough into 5 equal sections. Form each piece of dough into a ball, then place each ball in a large pizza container generously dusted with flour or oil. Alternatively, you can place each ball into an individual container (sometimes I use deli containers or a plate).
    Take the dough out at least 3 to 5 hours in advance until it is proofed and has reached room temperature. Dough will have expanded in the process, appear bubbly, and feel soft.

Prepping the oven (standard home oven method)

  • 45 minutes before pizza dough is at room temperature, arrange oven racks to prepare for baking and preheat your oven to the highest temperature. There are two main methods of cooking your pizza in the oven. I recommend trying both and seeing which method produces the best pizza for you.
    ° Top rack method: For this method, put your baking tool of choice (steel, stone, baking sheet, cast iron) on the top rack of your oven. The top rack should be about 5-6 inches from the broiler. If your broiler is weak, you can move the top rack to be 2-3 inches from the broiler. Once you’re ready to form your pizza, switch the oven to the broil setting to preheat the broiler. When ready to launch the pizza, broil it for 2 minutes, then turn off the broiler but keep the oven on at the hottest temperature until the pizza is finished cooking (an additional 1-2 minutes).
    ° Switching racks method: Put your baking tool of choice on the middle rack of your oven, and arrange your top rack so that it is 5-6 inches from the broiler. When ready to launch the pizza, bake for 3-4 minutes until the bottom is browned on the middle rack. Then, turn the broiler on and transfer the pizza to the top rack to finish cooking for ~1-2 minutes. Repeat the process, switching between the broiler and the oven to cook the pizza.

Prepping the oven (portable outdoor oven method)

  • For a portable outdoor pizza oven (Ooni or Roccbox), preheat the oven at least 30 minutes prior to baking the pizzas.
    I typically preheat my oven until the center is 900 °F (482 °C).

Stretching and topping

  • Once dough has come to room temperature, you’re ready to make the pizza.
    Flour your pizza peel with semolina flour or 00 flour. Carefully and gently pick up the dough from the container and transfer to the peel. Dust the dough with flour as needed to prevent sticking.
    You can check that it’s not sticking by sliding the dough around the peel. If it is sticking, add a bit more flour to the bottom. I like to do this every minute or so to ensure my dough is not sticking, especially once I start adding the sauce and toppings.
  • Form a rim for the crust by gently pressing your index finger all around the perimeter of the dough, about 2/3” from the edge.
  • Stretch the dough as desired. Pizza should stretch to at least a 10-inch diameter.
  • Ladle or spoon the sauce on top of the dough. You will likely need less sauce than you think (and too much sauce can weigh down the pizza), about 3 to 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce max.
  • Top the pizza with desired toppings.
  • Make sure the pizza is not sticking to the peel before launching. If it is, add a bit more flour, then hold the handle of the peel and slide the dough around to ensure it’s not sticking at all.

Launching and baking

  • Standard home oven: Launch the pizza in the oven by holding the peel parallel to your baking sheet/stone/steel and gently sliding the pizza onto it. There’s no need to rush it; you can do this slowly to get the hang of it. Immediately close the oven and bake according to your desired method.
    Repeat the process with the next pizzas.
  • Portable pizza oven: For my Ooni Koda 16, I typically launch the pizza at the highest temperature setting, then turn the knob down to 2/3 right after launching for the rest of the baking. I'll cook the pizza 30 seconds, then rotate every 15 seconds until cooked through (about 2 minutes). If I find I want a crispier bottom crust, I will turn the heat down fully to low and cook for an additional 30 seconds or so.
    I'll then crank the oven temperature back to the max in preparation for the next pizza. Repeat the process with the next pizzas.

Video

Notes

FYI, if using Antimo Caputo flour, make sure you buy the right kind for the oven you're using.
  • For standard home ovens: Buy the "Chef's Flour" (usually in a red bag), such as this one.
  • For high-temperature pizza ovens (900°F or 482°C): Buy the "Pizzeria Flour" (usually in a blue bag), such as this one.
Even Baking: In a standard home oven, you may notice your pizza doesn’t cook perfectly evenly, especially with the broiler. Feel free to rotate the pizza 180 degrees halfway through the cooking process to ensure even charring.
Storage: Pizza dough can be stored in the refrigerator for cold fermentation for up to 72 hours. After 72 hours, the dough may begin to over ferment/overproof, though I typically haven't had issues within the first 96 hours in the fridge.
No pizza peel? Instead of using a pizza peel, you can build your pizza on a sheet of parchment paper set on top of a thin cutting board or a baking sheet (placed upside down). Carefully slide the parchment paper off the board/baking sheet onto your pizza stone/baking steel in the oven. Keep in mind that parchment paper can and will burn under the broiler (and it will definitely burn in an Ooni or other outdoor pizza oven), so it's definitely not an ideal option in all cases.

Nutrition

Calories: 514kcal | Carbohydrates: 105g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1557mg | Potassium: 149mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 0.4g | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 6mg