Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust: it's an easy stretch

Ah, those three little words we all love to hear: no-knead bread. And since summer has finally arrived – and with it an abundance of farmers’ markets, roadside vegetable stands, and an ever-increasing bounty from our own gardens – let’s amend those three words to four: no-knead pizza crust, made from no-knead bread dough.

“Summertime, and the living is easy…” Or not. Days are longer for sure; but sometimes that simply translates to more daylight for getting extra stuff done. Mowing the lawn. Pulling weeds. Walking the dog after supper. Somehow, rather than slowing down to enjoy the season, we simply work longer.

And if that’s the case, it pays to work efficiently. Who knows, if you plan everything right you might just have time to enjoy homemade pizza and drinks on the deck – watching the sun go down on all your unfinished outdoor projects.

Speaking of homemade pizza, it’s not a stretch to turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust. Though actually, that’s exactly what it is: take a handful of your favorite no-knead bread dough, s-t-r-e-t-c-h it into a circle, and there you have it: no-knead pizza crust.

Let’s do it. I have some no-knead bread dough in the fridge, and pizza is calling my name.

Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust via @kingarthurflour

Here’s my no-knead bread dough. It’s been sitting in the fridge overnight.

Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust via @kingarthurflour

Look at that gluten! Time steps in for physical kneading in no-knead bread dough. As your minimally mixed dough rests in the refrigerator, the gluten gradually develops itself into the long, C02-trapping strands you see here.

Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust via @kingarthurflour

I’m making a 10″ pizza, which translates to about 14 ounces of dough – just about one-quarter of the entire No-Knead Crusty White Bread recipe. So one recipe of our no-knead bread dough will make four nice-sized pizzas.

Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust via @kingarthurflour

First, I cut a 12″ square of parchment.

Since I’m going to bake the pizza on a stone, parchment is a must-have. I don’t like fussing with the potentially sticky, floppy transition from a cornmeal- or semolina-sprinkled peel to pizza stone. Parchment makes the job much simpler.

I do a preliminary stretch, using my fingertips to press a ridge all around the outside edge; this will translate to a thick, chewy edge. If you like a thinner edge, simply stretch your pizza into a flat round.Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust via @kingarthurflour

After waiting 15 minutes for the gluten to relax, I pick up the crust and gently stretch it into a 10″ round. Want to see how? Our video walks you through two easy shaping methods.

Now, you can bake your pizza crust right away; or let it rest for awhile, for a somewhat thicker crust. I let my crust rest for 40 minutes, while I preheat the oven to 450°F, with the pizza stone in the lower third of the oven.

Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust via @kingarthurflour

Ten minutes in the oven creates a beautifully puffy crust.

Hey, what happened to the toppings? I like to bake my crust partway before adding the vegetables, cheese, etc. I find this benefits both crust (thoroughly baked) and toppings (not over-baked).

My first pizza for this project was wonderfully summery: oven-roasted tomatoes, fresh basil pesto, and mozzarella. However, it honestly wasn’t very photogenic.

Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust via @kingarthurflour

So I tried another version: turkey pepperoni, sautéed mushrooms, and shredded Italian-blend cheese.

Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust via @kingarthurflour

Five minutes on the stone, and an additional 5 minutes on an upper rack was just the right amount of time for the topping to warm and the cheese to melt.

Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust via @kingarthurflour

I like to add extra cheese on top, once the pizza’s out of the oven.

Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust via @kingarthurflour

The pizza’s heat melts it just enough. And if it doesn’t, I simply throw the pizza back into the oven for a minute or so to help the process along.

Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust via @kingarthurflour

Nice, huh?

Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust via @kingarthurflour

And look at that crumb! Now THAT’S the kind of edge I like.

This was a slice of my initial tomato/pesto pizza. Not a winner in the looks department, but honestly, beauty is only crust deep. The pizza tasted great.

Turn no-knead bread dough into pizza crust via @kingarthurflour

As did this pepperoni-mushroom version. Served – YES – as the sun went down, with drinks on the deck, overlooking the unmowed lawn (and unwalked dog relaxing on said lawn).

Hey, the work will always be there. A golden July evening? Fleeting. Seize the summer day!

Want to make a totally easy, totally fast pizza? Start with the dough from our No-Knead Crusty White Bread. And if you’re looking for other tasty transitions, check out our No-Knead Bread Three Ways: Savory (and Sweet) Add-Ins.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. sandy

    I love to follow the postings on the KAF blog. There is always something new to learn and the photos are great. The postings I like best are the ones like this one. Great recipes are good, but I love it when the story is about food and lifestyle.
    PJ’s description of sitting on the deck at sundown eating homemade pizza is so appealing. I also really enjoyed Susan Reid’s piece on wild blueberry pie – jumping in her kayak to pick berries….. Thanks KAF for happy reading and good recipes.

    Reply
  2. Elinor L.

    PJ, your instructions say to put the pizza stone in the lower third of the oven yet your photo shows your stone on the floor of the oven. Which is correct? Thanks for the clarification!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Elinor, anywhere in the lower third of the oven will work. I just put mine on the lowest rack setting. Barb@KAF

    2. Katie

      Check your oven direction and then with the company. I was told to NEVER put anything on the bottom of my oven. I do not have an element visible but it is underneath. I was told if you put anything on this type of bottom it will make cracks and this is not covered by any warranty.

  3. Marguerite

    I like to grill pizza on my gas grill with a pizza stone on parchment paper. Should I do the preliminary baking in the oven and finish it on the grill after topping?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Marguerite, this sounds like an excellent plan! Or it may work to do the preliminary baking on parchment on your grill, if you’re willing to experiment a little. Barb@KAF

    2. Janine

      I grill one side on the grill – take it off and top the grilled side with everything and then return it to the grill to finish

  4. Steve

    One can have lots of fun with this idea.

    I like to experiment with seeing how thin I can get the crust.

    Paint it with a little butter and favorite cheese only. Just a little. Then bake at highest oven temp. Puffy. I enjoy watching both the crust and the cheese bubble on the top rack. Fun for winter breakfast. But you have to watch it else it gets to hard.

    Using parchment makes most aspects easier.

    Also fun to make small , 6 inch rounds customized for each diner.

    I have yet to try doing this on the grill. That is in the list of things to do.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jill, we don’t have very many low salt/sugar recipes. Clearly this is an area we need to work on! In general you can reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe by 10% without causing any significant issues. Salt can also be reduced in most pastries and cakes, but in bread and roll recipes that call for yeast, salt plays a very important part in flavor and structure, and also helps to control fermentation. In a a recipe that calls for yeast, I would not recommend reducing the salt by more than half. Some people find that almond flour recipes provide a nice way to lower carbohydrates. I though you might enjoy this Strawberry Almond Flour Cake recipe. Barb@KAF

  5. Susan W

    Is the pizza stone sitting on the floor of the oven? When you said lower third, Id pictured lowest rack setting. I’m eager to try this including the initial crust bake.
    As always, so many inspirations here! Thank you

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Susan, there’s no need to put your stone on the bottom of the oven. Any location in the bottom third of the oven is fine. I usually put mine on the lowest rack setting. Barb@KAF

  6. Barb

    PJ, Thank you for the hints. The amount of dough to use-14 ounces, putting a little more cheese on after the pizza is out of the oven and the parchment. Gotta try this.
    Yum!

    Reply
  7. Angela

    Have you ever partially baked the crust, cooled it, and froze it for topping and baking at a later date?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Angela, you can certainly par-bake a pizza crust, although you’ll want to be sure that the dough is completely baked, but not completely browned when par-baking. Barb@KAF

    2. Barbara

      In other words just bake until starting to brown, cool and freeze. Would you thaw before loading with toppings or bake it straight from the freezer, after adding the toppings? It’s just my husband and myself, so all this bread dough is a bit much, but I can see making four pizza rounds, freezing and having them available to make pizza.

    3. PJ Hamel , post author

      I haven’t had good luck baking par-baked crusts straight from the freezer, Barbara; they seem to dry out. I’d thaw it first, add the toppings, then bake. Good luck – I think you’ll be pleased. PJH

  8. Dani Pagador

    Hi.
    I have a 14-inch Lodge pan and would love to try using the no-knead dough in it. How do I figure out how much dough I should use?
    Thanks,
    Dani in sunny, humid HI wanting pizza tonight

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Hi Dani – If you mean a 14″ round pan, using about half the dough in the recipe will yield a crust like the one shown in this blog post. Enjoy! PJH

  9. Jeanne

    Dear PJ:

    I am an 80 year old widow who still bakes her own bread but in mini size now — that size lasts 3-4 days at the freshness level I want. Do you have any tips for baking mini loafs? There aren’t many recipes out there so I adapt my old, old recipes as best I can. Thank you.

    Jeanne

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Hi Jeanne: Here’s what I do, rather than bake mini loaves. Make your regular loaf, and slice it up. Wrap slices in plastic wrap, 4-5 in a packet, or however many you think you’ll eat in a day or two. Put the packets in a larger plastic bag, and freeze. Then thaw only as many as you’ll eat quickly. Toasting helps refresh the slices. Or try this: Bake your regular recipe, but instead of making it into one loaf when you put it into the pan, shape three balls and nestle them side by side in the pan. When the bread bakes, the balls will rise and form three distinct loaves – three smaller loaves. Once cool, break them apart and enjoy one right away, while freezing the other two. If you’re devoted to mini-loaves, I’d simply make any favorite recipe into minis, as it sounds like you’ve been doing. My only tip would be you’ll need to bake them less time ni order to keep them moist. Or, if you like crusty bread, try our No-Knead Crusty White Bread recipe, making as large or small a loaf as you want; the dough sits in the fridge and you can make a new loaf every day up to 7-10 days, if you like. Good luck – PJH

    2. Pat Harrington

      I make a half recipe. When I am ready to bake, I pinch off small balls and flatten them. Fill a baking sheet, let rise, bake at usual temperature for shorter time (Experiment). Freeze leftovers in plastic bag, pop a frozen one in microwave to reheat. Enjoy!

  10. Evelyn Finney

    OHMY – talk about good!!! Made the loaves of bread the other day – YUM! This evening used the dough for pizza – DOUBLE YUM! Would love to mix in some fresh herbs and turn this into a flat bread. Any suggestions for over temps and time to bake?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re so glad you’re loving the versatility of this dough, Evelyn! Flatbread can be baked at different temps — we’d probably recommend turning the temp down to 375° and baking for longer (30-45 minutes), but you can also bake it just like a topless pizza by keeping the oven temp at 450° and baking for 15-25 minutes. Either would be quite tasty with some fresh herbs mixed in! Mollie@KAF

  11. Jeanette

    I have noticed that a lot of parchment paper has a maximum temperature for use. Many are under 400degrees. I have used nonstick foil as a good substitute.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jeanette, the parchment sheets we sell have a recommended maximum temperature of 500°F for a single use or 450° for multiple uses. Mollie@KAF

  12. Linda Lambeth

    Love King Arthur products. We have a wood fired brick oven and it’s great but I find it is hard getting the pizza off the peel. I like your suggestions for those using parchment paper and a stone. What can I do with this no-knead dough to make it more workable with a peel? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Linda, shape the dough on parchment and leave it right on the parchment. Use the peel to load the crust, parchment and all, into your brick oven. After a minute or so, reach the peel back in and drag the crust to the front close enough that you can grab the parchment and slip it out from beneath the crust; as soon as the crust sets, it’ll stop sticking to the parchment. Now, if your oven is so hot that the parchment catches fire and burns immediately, you’ll have to try coating your peel with a heavy layer of semolina. Some people use cornmeal, but I think semolina is less likely to burn. Good luck – PJH

  13. Ralph Lombardo

    I know that your no-knead recipe(s) are based on the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day recipe. I am curious as to whether the dough will work using Jim Lahey’s (sp) dutch oven technique rather than the “create steam with hot water in a pan” in the ABi5. I find that using the dutch oven with these soft doughs gives me a higher loaf. My other attempts seem to allow the dough to spread more giving me delicious bread of insufficient height that would allow me to make sandwiches. Also, I love the lower glycemic index of sourdough. Can I substitute some starter in your, or ABi5 recipe/technique?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The short answer is yes and yes, Ralph! No-knead recipes are more flexible than you might think. Using a dutch oven, we suggest baking it for ~20 minutes lidded, then removing the lid and continuing to bake until the bread is deep brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers at least 190°. To add sourdough starter, you can substitute 8 oz(~1 cup) starter to your dough in place of 4 oz (1 cup) flour and 4 oz (1/2 cup) water. We’d still recommend including the added commercial yeast, though you could probably lower the amount if you also increase the time allowed for the first rise. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

  14. Chelsea

    I made this but didn’t let it rise in it’s flattened form before baking/topping/baking, which is what I usually do with normal bread/pizza dough, but I think you need to do that rest/rise with the no-knead dough. Without it mine came out kind of gummy/tough. Of course i still ate it and it was delicious (carbs/cheese nom).

    Reply
  15. Barbara

    Would like to bake this with uncooked fillings, as I usually do with other pizza dough. Any suggestion on changing oven temperature?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you’ve had success using raw toppings on other pizza crusts in the past, you can use that same baking time and temperature with this crust too. There’s no need to divert from the 450°F temperature called for in the blog post; this will work to cook your raw toppings slightly and melt the cheese perfectly. As always, pizza is about personalization, so feel free to bake the pizza for as short or as long as your taste buds tell you to. Happy pizza baking! Kye@KAF

  16. Margaret Stettner

    I use my mom’s recipe for pizza dough. We always had pizza for Christmas Eve when I was a kid (I’m 70), before pizza parlors. The reason I was on your site is I wanted to know if the dough could be frozen. Mom’s dough has olive oil in it if that would make a difference.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for stopping by our site, Margaret. Pizza dough, like other yeast doughs, can generally be wrapped airtight and frozen for 2-3 weeks before the integrity of the dough starts to break down. The yeast will die off a bit, however, so you may want to slightly increase the amount of yeast you add to your dough to compensate. Hope this helps you enjoy mom’s pizza dough throughout the year! Mollie@KAF

  17. Diane Lopez

    This looks so easy! I admit I’m terrible at the kitchen, but I just love going through recipes. Can’t hurt to try! This one looks so tasty and different that I can’t mess it up. Thanks for sharing with us! http://homeyou.com

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sure thing, Natalie. You’ll want to bake the crust just enough so that it starts to get crisp on the bottom and slightly golden around the edges. Let it cool completely before wrapping in plastic and freezing for 1-2 months. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  18. Grace

    I see that the baking stone is on the floor of the oven. Is this something you recommend for pizza in particular or for other breads as well?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Grace, this approach is typically used for pizzas so the heat transfers directly to the bottom crust. It helps to keep things crispy. You’re welcome to experiment doing this with flat breads, pitas, or other loaves of bread, knowing that the end result will likely make the bottom bake faster than the rest of the loaf. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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