No Knead Pizza Bases

No Knead Pizza Bases


This week we have a re-visit of a recipe I posted when I started blogging – Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread.

A few years after word got out about Jim’s fabulous no-knead bread, he opened a pizza restaurant. The whole theme of the restaurant was to be bread, from the name Co. – pronounced ‘Company’, from the Latin com- “with” + panis “bread”  – down through his menu. From his website:

Co. celebrates the communal dining experience with bread as the centerpiece of the meal. Our menu features a variety of toasts, soup, salads, artisanal meat and cheese selections – and, of course, pizza.

So here is my suggestion for adapting Jim’s bread recipe to make delicious, airy pizza bases that you can have on hand whenever you like.

The same quantities that make one large loaf, will make eight, adult-sized pizza bases. You can add toppings to the dough and bake it immediately or, as I’ve found works well, make eight ‘blank’ pizza bases, freeze them and then top and bake from frozen – giving you the luxury of never being more than 20 minutes away from delicious artisan pizza.

I shall shamelessly copy/paste from my previous post, to save you having to flip between the two.

No Knead Pizza Bases

820g plain or bread flour, plus more for dusting
0.5 teaspoon rapid-action yeast
2.5 teaspoons salt
700ml warm water
Semolina, polenta or cornmeal as needed.

  • In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 700ml water, and stir until blended; the dough will be very wet and sticky.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it to rest for at least 12 hours, preferably 18, at room temperature. The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.
  • Sprinkle flour over a work surface and scrape the dough from the bowl onto it. Sprinkle with more flour and fold each side towards the middle. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
  • Using a long knife or dough scraper, divide the dough into eight roughly even pieces and shape into balls.
  • Set aside onto a floured surface to prove for one hour or until doubled in size.
  • After 30 minutes, preheat your oven to it’s highest possible setting.
  • Line 2 or 3 large baking sheets with parchment. Alternatively, grease the sheets themselves and scatter with semolina, polenta or cornmeal.
  • When the dough has doubled in size, it’s time to shape it into pizza bases.
  • For each piece of dough:
    • Pick it up and, holding the edge lightly between your fingers, work them around the edge of the dough in, as Terry Pratchett put so well “the famous Ai-Senor-Mexican-Bandits-Have-Raided-Our-Village position”
    • The weight of the dough will stretch it downwards as you hang on to the edge, so you need to keep shuffling round with your hands to allow the dough to fall evenly. Don’t let it get too thin in the middle.
    • When you’re happy with both the shape and the thickness, lay your shaped dough onto one of the baking sheets.
    • Alternatively, you could put the risen dough straight onto the baking sheet and tease it out by hand.
    • If the dough seems a little too thick in places once it is on the baking sheet, ‘dock’ it by poking your fingertips down into it, as you would do with foccaccia.
  • When all the dough has been shaped, sprinkle with flour and bake for 12-18 minutes until cooked through. You want them to be on the pale side, because of the second baking they will get with the toppings.
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack, then wrap and freeze.

To serve

  • Remove from freezer and add your favourite pizza sauce and toppings.
  • Place in the oven and turn the heat to 200°C, 180°C Fan.
  • Pizza will be warmed through and bubbling after 10-15 minutes.


One Comment on “No Knead Pizza Bases”

  1. Helen says:

    There is nothing that can’t be improved by a bit of Pratchett!

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