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. 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

    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

  2. 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
  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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
  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

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