Yuuummmmm! Pizza!

farinam's picture

I've been thinking about doing pizza ever since the tasty experience in Italy.  So yesterday was the day.

Actually started the night before by getting the starter ready from my stock in the firdge.  Gave it a feed of my usual blend of rye and bread flour (plus water of course) and left it out on the bench overnight.  By morning it was up and rearing to go.

There was nothing fancy about the recipe - effectively the Pane francesa recipe - though I did only use bread flour rather than the bread/wholemeal blend.

After I had prepared the dough with a half hour to autolyse, I cut in the salt and let it rest for another half. I then gave it 5 minute kneads using the vigourous French technique at two hourly intervals.  This was a bit of an experiment to see if I could develop a really strong dough.  There were certainly some very nice windows forming at the end of it all and I definitely think the pizza crust benefitted.

Then it was left to bulk prove for about four hours.  At this stage I scaled and pre-shaped 300g portions for the pizzas and there was a scrap left over to make a bun.  Also turned the oven on to 265C with top and bottom heat.  While the pre-shape rested, I prepared the toppings.  One was Pizza Provencale with thinly sliced potato, rosemary, salt and oil.  The others were Margheritas with extras.  Baked on trays for 12 minutes.  Maybe next time I will pluck up courage to peel them onto the stone (have had some nasty experiences in the past /;-{)}  )

The results were absolutely delicious.  Lovely thin chewy crust with a subtle sweetness.

The scrap of dough cooked in the remaining heat of the oven.



HopesHope 2011 August 6

These all look delicious, farinam.  Now you got me thinking about making pizza.  


I made calzones last month!  they were delicious as well.   Kept well in the freezer and were even better after thawing out and reheating...


I think I'm going to try the potato one, with an addition of caramelized onions..


Thanks for the post..

bakerjohn 2012 March 5

 Hi Farinam.

Great looking pizzas!

Due to a busy weekday schedule, i only really get time to bake in the weekends.

What are your thoughts on the possibilty of using this recipe to partial bake the pizza bases and store them in the fridge or freezer until another day, when i could make the toppings and bake them off?

How long do you think they should have for the first bake so they don't end up being like cardboard when baked-off for example?

Best regards.


farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 5

Hello bakerjohn,

Of the top of my head, with no topping I would say not more than about half the time for a dresed one but couldn't guarantee that it wouldn't end up like cardboard at the end.

The other alternative would be to shape your base and freeze it unbaked.  Then take from the freezer, dress and bake.

The best thing to do is just to try it and see what happens - just don't invite a crowd to a pizza party when you do.

Let us know how you go.  The info could come in handy sometime.


lenohbabe's picture
lenohbabe 2012 March 8

Hey Farinam,

 As always,  great looking pizza.

You previously commented on my "best ever pizza Dough recipe,  which you said was  similar to yours.


Well !!!  Farinam what to do think about this, your comments and experience would be  appreciated. 

Its now  even simpler to make,  I recently forgot to remove it from the fridge before preparing and baking so I cooked dough cold straight from the fridge it turned out  even better. So here goes the modification.

 I now retard the dough in fridge straight  after making it, you can leave 1,  2, or 3 days. I have never tried longer, i find 2 days perfect.   I remove and bake cold when ready to make pizza. 

The dough is so easily handled when cold and it just stretches into a nice rustic circle as you hold in your hands and turn in your fingertips.

So change to recipe is, bring dough just together and do 10 min autolyse then mix for  5-10 mins (till ready) mixing it in your  food mixer ( with dough hook), separate the dough into 3. Ball the pieces with cupped hand, put each ball  in  plastic bag in the fridge and retard for 2 days (my fridge 3c).

Remove, shape and bake, on parchment,  straight from the fridge, 3 mins each side,highest heat,  then top  with your preferred ingredients and bake approx 3 - 5 mins till cheese melted and nicely browned.

   OR bake the dough 3 mins each side cool down and then freeze pre-baked bases their then all ready for future use..........mmmmmmmmm !!!! perfect pizza

anne_jackson 2012 March 8

 How do you get them so round?! I've had a few disasters, mainly due to trying to get them onto the baking stone using a peel. I might have another go thi weekend and just use trays. 

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 8

Hi guys,

Yes, I agree that the dough definitely improves if you plan far enough ahead and give it at least a day in the fridge. Have also worked it straight out of the fridge which gives a bit more latitude with the shaping.

On the roundness front, I mostly let the dough stretch under its own weight while gripping by the edges and rotating it in the vertical plane until it is about the right size. Then a final stretch in the appropriate places when it is back on the horizontal.

I don't pre-bake the bases - just dress the dough and in it goes.


lenohbabe's picture
lenohbabe 2012 March 9


Shape your pizza straight on a piece of parchment, sprinkled with Marshall's semolina, this will slide easily into the oven. Baking from a fridge retard also makes dough easier to shape.  That rustic round looks every  bit as good. 



bakerjohn 2012 March 12

I have now tried a partial bake (5 mins.) and then left to cool, stored in fridge for 2 days, and then baked with toppings for 6 mins.

The result, while not cardboard, was at least thick paper! (The taste was fine though).

Having read the latest additions to this thread, I have an idea what I'll do different next time, but some feedback would be appreciated :-)

Firstly, lenohbabe, your suggestion of 3 mins. each side; is it something you have tried with good results, or just a suggestion? I must admit to forgetting to flip the bases half way through the partial bake, so this would have undoubtably have helped. 

Farinham, the bases were rolled pretty thin (I probably won't go quite as thin next time), but I doubt I could manage the bases and get them undamaged direct to the freezer after shaping, so the partial bake would be my preferred method. A slight deviation from your recipe was necessay, as i ran out of white flour, and had to substitute approx. 80g of durum flour (what I had available at the time). The dough ended up being a little more sticky than anticipated, and I'm wondering how much of an effect this had on the result?

My next attempt will be adhering to your recipe and partial baking maybe 2 mins. on each side.





lenohbabe's picture
lenohbabe 2012 March 13

Hi Bakerjohn, Yes I have tried pre-baking then freezing, works out fine for me.  My crusts are not too thin so that stops them getting like cardboard, however they are not what you would call thick either.   You're not really saving that much time and effort freezing a base, unless like me you potentially have 6 kids turning up uninvited looking for a quick lunch. 

I usually make 3 pieces from my pizza dough recipe so approx 330gr per pizza base.  That make perfect thickness/thinness for a good sized pizza.  2-3 mins pre-bake on your stone  each side, depending on how hot your oven goes.

  I do  prefer to cook the pizza by  pre baking each side and  then topping and cooking straight away rather than freezing.

Instead of freezing a pre-baked  pizza base, just freeze your dough balls in a  seperate plastic bag for each ball.  Take it out night before and leave in the fridge overnight to defrost.  Next day, when your ready,  remove from the fridge shape, pre-bake and top as normal.  Working with the cold dough makes it so much easier to handle.

As I mentioned previously I now have making pizza down to a virtually "no effort" recipe.  I make  dough with 200gm of my discarded starter, autolyse 10 mins, add salt, in mixer for 5-10 mins, shape into 3 balls and bung in fridge for 24 - 72hrs, then straight from the fridge shape, pre-bake and top.  I always put the dough onto a semolina sprinkled piece of parchment this also saves time rather than messing about trying to get your dough on and off a peel. AND CARDBOARD ??  I dont even use a peel, a piece of thick  cardboard or a flexible square of plastic.  You can buy the coloured cutting ( meat, veg, dairy etc) plastic sheets, their ideal.



farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 12

Hi bakerjohn, Perhaps if you roll them out on baking paper and maybe place them on a baking sheet until they freeze. I'm only guessing here as I have never done it myself. Also, I only stretch mine into shape - perhaps rolling might require a stiffer dough. The durum flour would have had a higher gluten (read protein) content which should have made for a stronger dough which might have resisted forming a bit more but I wouldn't have thought stickier if it was developed properly. Ditto on the guessing for the pre-baking. I have just read some other blogs and recipe books that suggests this approach. I know that it is not recommended that you store your bread in the fridge - I wonder would freezing have a similar effect. I know I have frozen commercial bread and that comes out fine for toasting but who knows what sort of extras contribute to that. I think I feel a pizza coming on. Farinam

bakerjohn 2012 March 13

 ...for your replies.

I'll try again this weekend, (maybe freezing both partial bake bases and uncooked dough to compare) ready to have some quick pizzas for the coming week :-)


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