No-Knead Thin-Crust Pizza: it doesn’t get any easier than this.

Hankering after a slice of thin-crust pizza?

Pizza that’s neither from the supermarket freezer case, nor the local pizzeria?

Pizza that’s ready in less than 30 minutes, from the time you get that irresistible pizza urge till there’s a hot slice on a plate in front of you, smelling deliciously of melted cheese and tomato sauce and [insert your favorite toppings]?

No problem.

It’s Jeff and Zoë to the rescue – again!

Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François have taken the baking world by storm with their “Five Minutes a Day” books, including their original Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day; the follow-up Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and their latest: Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day.

You know, if you haven’t yet tried this no-knead thing – what are you waiting for? I’m a veteran bread baker, having started with Beard on Bread and Tassajara over 30 years ago. And I realize no-knead bread isn’t a new concept; heck, remember that recipe for cottage cheese-dill batter bread that made the rounds back in the ’70s?

But Jeff and Zoë – building, perhaps, on The New York Times’ Mark Bittman/Jim Lahey no-knead bread trend of several years ago – have made no-knead yeast creations of all kinds accessible to anyone with a bowl, a spoon, a fridge, and an oven.

No special skills needed; no fancy equipment; no hard-to-find ingredients.

Just grab your bag of King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, water, salt, and yeast, and you can make pizza dough, store it in the fridge, and enjoy spectacularly good pizza tonight, tomorrow, and right on through the weekend.

Ready? Let’s do it.

Put the following in a mixing bowl:

3 cups + 3 tablespoons (25 1/2 ounces) lukewarm water
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon instant yeast or active dry yeast
1 heaping tablespoon regular table salt or 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
9 cups (38 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

If you compare this recipe to Jeff and Zoë’s master recipe in the book, you’ll notice a few slight differences.

Most important, they call for 7 1/2 cups of flour, while this recipe calls for 9 cups. This is strictly a volume measurement variation; you want to use 38 ounces of flour, so whether you “scoop and sweep” (as the authors do) or “sprinkle and sweep” (as we do here at King Arthur), use 38 ounces of flour.

In addition, they call for kosher salt; I use table salt, just because it’s what I have on hand. And they call for dissolving the salt and yeast in the water before adding the flour; lazy baker that I am, I just dump everything in at once.

Mix until everything is moistened; that’s it. No need to knead.

Let the dough rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, loosely covered; it should puff up nicely. If you pull it away from the edge of the bowl, you’ll see some nice gluten development.

Then, refrigerate the dough, covered, for at least 3 hours – or for up to 7 days. The longer it stays in the fridge, the richer the flavor will be, as yeast continues to eat and give off organic acids and alcohol, both flavor enhancers.

When you’re ready to bake, start preheating your oven to 450°F. Jeff and Zoë call for preheating to “your oven’s highest temperature;” I found that 450°F was ideal for my oven.

If you plan on using a pizza stone, place it on a lower rack to preheat along with the oven.

Pull a softball-sized piece of dough off the dough in the bowl – about 8 ounces.

Place it on a piece of greased parchment, with another piece of greased parchment on top. Roll into a 12″ round, peel off the top piece of parchment, and flop it onto a lightly greased 12″ round pizza pan. Peel off the other piece of parchment.

Notice how the crust shrinks on the pan; that’s the gluten trying to revert to its unstretched, normal self.

I found that leaving the rolled dough sandwiched in the parchment (where it can’t shrink) for 30 minutes or so keeps it from shrinking on the pan.

Still, if you don’t want to fight with the dough, just let it shrink to whatever size it likes.

If you plan to bake on a stone, leave the dough right on the parchment; it can go into the oven with the pizza, and won’t affect browning.

Now, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can skip rolling the dough, and toss and twirl it in the air to shape it instead. Check out Jeff in this video – complete with operatic accompaniment!

Now, the thing with thin-crust pizza is, you don’t want to overload it with lots of heavy, wet toppings. I find that brushing the dough with sauce makes a nice, thin layer.

Add any other toppings you like; I used a mandoline to slice Roma tomatoes and red onions, then topped with a bagged 3-cheese pizza blend.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or so (depending on oven temperature), or until the pizza’s as done as you like.

Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack so the bottom doesn’t steam.

Now, here’s what the bottom crust may look like if you bake on a pan. If that’s too brown for you…

…simply nest your pan inside another, to provide an insulating double layer of metal between crust and oven heat.

Enjoy!

So, 4 days later, and after making several 12″ pizzas, I still had dough left. Shaped it into a Sicilian-style, thick crust pizza on a baking sheet; topped half with my husband’s fave (anchovies), half with my son’s (pineapple & ham). Baked for about 30 minutes at 450°F, double-panned so the bottom wouldn’t brown too much.

Awesome – chewy, crunchy crust, full of big holes, and perfectly cooked toppings.

Jeff and Zoë, I tip my (chef’s) hat to you – great recipes, tips, and techniques. Your book is a definite keeper.

Looking for this recipe on our site? It’s not there; it’s in Jeff and Zoë’s book.

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. Sheryl

    This was so easy and so good! My husband is the cook in the house, but has no experience with pizza. The one and only other time we tried it wasn’t any good–the sauce made it soggy. My husband made the sauce and I made the dough. He did the rolling, I did the grating of the mozzarella. I cannot believe how perfect it came out. No kidding, just as good as in Italy–really. We followed the directions and baked the pizza on a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet. Thank you! Finally, pizza at home!!!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hurray! Be sure to check out some of our other pizza recipes and blogs for topping ideas. So many pizzas, so little time! ~ MJ

  2. Ellensue

    I know I’m chiming in late for this discussion but hopefully new messages still get read.

    Jim Lahey’s recipe calls for a minute amount of yeast, 1/4 tsp. to 3 c flour. Would anyone happen to know the purpose or effect of using more vs. less? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      By using less yeast than in a standard recipe, you have better control over the long rise period. The yeast will continue to grow and multiply, but will not overwhelm the dough and consume all the sugars/starches. Using too much yeast for a long rise will result in bread that can be overly sour, dull and pale. ~ MJ

  3. James

    My conversions to mass and relative mass

    1077g unbleached AP flour
    720g luke warm water
    64g olive oil
    9g yeast
    27g salt

    100% unbleached AP Flour
    67% luke warm water
    5.94% olive oil
    0.83% yeast
    2.51% salt

    Thanks, James – always nice to see baker’s percentages being used. Makes it so easy to make any amount of servings you want of any particular recipe… PJH

    Reply
  4. Drawerdoc

    Just finished building a brick oven. I have a terrible time getting the pizza off the peel, with this type of dough. Could I use parchment paper till the crust firms up and slide the pizza off the paper to finish cooking? We’re not talking 500, we’re talking 650?

    Once the oven temperature is over 500, parchment is no longer usable. With our wood fired oven here at KAF, I’ve found that it is the combination of cornmeal on the peel with a very quick (and confident) “snap” of the peel to release AND slide the pie onto the hearth floor. “Practice makes better.” Keep at it, I’m sure your pies will improve with practice. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  5. "New York Sunflower"

    This was (another) excellent KAF recipe, although I respect KAF was the conduit, not creator, of this marvel. It is simply delicious. My empty-nester husband and I have come to like thin and crispy crusts we make ourselves, and this hit all marks: it was easy to create and neat to watch develop during its two-day refrigerator sojourn. I rolled my 9 oz. dough ball – encased between two KAF sprayed parchment sheets – into a thin, baking-sheet-sized rectangle; as advised, I let the rolled crust set for 30 minutes before I dressed it. I heated the oven to 500 then reduced it to 450 when I placed the sauce, caramelized onion, sausage, and cheese laden beauty into the oven; I left the bottom parchment sheet intact. Twenty minutes later – a pizza of beauty. I used the middle oven rack and next time – which will come soon – I may try the bottom rack to crisp the crust even more (or split the time/rack difference). Excellent as is, I am eager – in a few months – to try this on our grill. Once again, KAF, thank you for the encouragement, pithy guidance, and fellow baker’s reviews; baking is fun and rewarding.

    And thanks for taking time to connect here, NYS. I always love hearing about everyone’s favorite pizza toppings; my current is garlic oil, topped with spinach, drizzled with mornay/cheese sauce (white sauce with cheddar), topped with more cheese. Good luck with all your pizza baking, both oven and grilled, going forward! PJH

    Reply
  6. Susan

    How about using this dough for a stromboli? After the dough if filled and rolled, should you bake it immediately or let it rise a little? Thanks!
    That should work just fine. I like to let mine rise a bit before baking, the family likes the slightly thicker crust. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. Jess

    If I have leftover dough, can I bake it like a focaccia (spread in a pan, sprinkled with salt & maybe extra olive oil)? What temperature/time would you suggest? Thanks so much.

    Jess, sounds delicious. As for baking, depends on how thick you make it; I like to bake focaccia at 425°F for 20 minutes or so, for focaccia that ends up about 1″ thick… PJH

    Reply

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