This no-knead pizza dough by Jim Lahey is the laziest and easiest dough that one can ever make. All you need are all-purpose flour (don’t even need bread flour!), salt, yeast, water and time (at least 18 hours), that’s it! It’s also an extremely forgiving dough – there are times when I made it the night before but on the day itself decided not to eat pizza (or realised I didn’t have the right cheese), all I did was stick the dough into the refrigerator and take it out only a few days later to make pizza, and it’s still perfect.
I like to use this no-knead pizza dough to make a thin-crust pizza, never tried the dough with thick bready ones because we are not a fan of such pizzas. In the past I used to shape the dough by hand but nowadays I just roll it out on a piece of parchment paper. As the dough is quite sticky, it will stick to the parchment paper as I roll it out, which helps to keep the dough from shrinking back. After baking, the pizza base will crisp up and release itself from the parchment paper – no need to flour or oil the parchment paper at all! And an additional bonus: clean-up is a breeze!
I’ve tried out several flavours using the no-knead pizza dough including pesto and green curry (using leftover curry) but we usually end up with the tomato-based one – our all-time favourite. The combination of tomato sauce, meat (sometimes I used my cooked homemade meatballs, mushrooms and plenty of mozzarella, cheddar and Parmesan cheese wins our hearts every single time.
I don’t own a pizza stone (probably never will) so the recipe below includes the instructions on how I baked my pizza without one. Basically you just need to heat up the oven with a baking tray on the maximum heat for at least 30 minutes, slide the assembled pizza on the preheated baking tray, then bake at the lowest rack so that the bottom pizza dough gets the maximum heat to cook as quickly as possible while the meat (usually already precooked) and vegetables heat through, and the cheese turns gooey, bubbly and golden.
Another thing to note is the serving size – this recipe yields two pizzas meant to feed two people, just like how in Italy everyone will order their own pizza. However, X and I always have trouble finishing one pizza by ourselves, so in order not to stuff ourselves silly, I usually take 2/3 of the dough to make a big pizza for our dinner, saving the remaining 1/3 of the dough for a weekend brunch. So if you are not a big eater, you can easily make three individual pizzas.
And that’s it! Please give this no-knead pizza dough a try and let me know what flavour combinations you have come up with! I would love to get more pizza inspiration from all of you!
Jim Lahey’s Perfect No-Knead Pizza Dough
18 Hours Before – Make the Dough
- Place flour in a medium-size mixing bowl. Whisk in the salt. Then whisk in the yeast.
- Add in the water at one go and stir to form a dough – the dough may be sticky but it's okay. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and set aside to rise for 12 to 18 hours at room temperature or until the dough has more than doubled in size.
- If it has more than doubled in size but you still have 4 to 6 hours to go before you prepare your dinner, you can punch down the dough lightly then let it rise again.
- Make ahead: Once the dough has risen, punch it down slightly, wrap the bowl with clingfilm and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Let it come to room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before shaping the dough.
- I usually make the dough the night before to prepare it for next day's dinner.
Divide and Rest
- Flour the counter top with all-purpose flour and scrape out the dough. Divide into 2 or 3 portions and shape each portion into a ball. Flour them lightly and rest for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.
Preheat the Oven
- Place a baking sheet in the lowest rack in the oven and preheat the oven (and the baking sheet together) for at least 30 minutes prior to baking. Use the pizza function if you have it (top broiler + bottom heating element + fan), but if you don't, just turn the oven to the maximum temperature (mine goes up to 230C/445F) (top and bottom heating element + fan).
Shape the Pizza
- By hand: Stretch out the dough by hand into a circle. Check out the video on how to shape the dough by hand on SeriousEats. Once the dough is shaped, place it on a piece of parchment paper.
- With a rolling pin: Place the dough on a large piece of parchment paper – no need to flour the parchment paper as it will help the dough to stick which will release during baking. Flour the top of the dough and your rolling pin and roll out the dough until it's 1/4-inch thick.
- Top with whatever sauce and filling you like! Cook any raw meat before topping them onto the pizza.
Baking the Pizza (Without Pizza Stone)
- Wearing your oven gloves, take out the preheated baking sheet from the oven and slide the pizza with the parchment paper onto the baking sheet. Quickly place the pizza into the lowest rack in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is crisp, the cheese has melted and the top is golden.
- Slide the pizza with the parchment paper onto a serving board. Serve immediately.
- Everyone’s oven is different – if you find that baking at the lowest rack resulted in your pizza base to hard by the time the top is browned, consider shifting the tray up one rack and experiment from there.