About Vaughn Tan
On our recent podcast with author and professor Vaughn Tan of The Uncertainty Mindet, part of our discussion focused on pizza-making. Because Vaughn spent a lot of time last year working on his pizza-making skills, I asked if he could share his recipe for pizza dough. You can learn more about him by listening to our podcast, or checking out his website.
Recipe For Pizza Dough
12g water at approx 37°C
12g sourdough starter (right from the fridge is OK)
24g flour (I use a stoneground organic wheat flour)
Mix all ingredients in a glass cup or bowl so you can see when bubbles begin to form. Ferment leaven at 21-23°C. (This leaven recipe makes enough left over to save for starter if you’re using this dough recipe.)
Test leaven for readiness by putting a spoonful of leaven in a bowl of water when you can see many small and medium-sized bubbles through the glass.
Use the leaven to mix your dough when a spoonful floats when put in water. (Waiting a bit is OK.) At the moment, this happens for me in about 2 hours.
Dough (for two 10-11” pizzas)
166g water at approx 37°C
270g flour (currently 200g E5 YQ, 70g Shipton #4)
10g olive oil
Warm large glass bowl with hot water—use glass so you can see bubbles forming in the dough. Mix all ingredients in the warm, empty bowl. Leaving patches of flour is OK. Cover bowl (I use a plate) and leave to rest for 15-30 min.
After resting, stretch/fold the dough in the bowl with wet hands (see videos online). It will be sticky and grainy.
Fold dough 5-7 times spaced out over the next 2-3 hours—when you remember to. It should become smoother with each fold, and tear less easily. Using a mixer or kneading instead of folding seems to produce a dough that is harder to stretch evenly.
Ferment dough until many tiny bubbles are visible through the glass even after a fold, and it feels pu‑y and deflates palpably when doing a fold. For me this usually takes 6-8 hours from when I mix, at 21-23°C.
Shape into two balls and refrigerate (covered without contact) for 18-36 hours before making pizza.
Yes, you could probably use dry or fresh yeast. Someone on the internet probably has a dough recipe for that. Sourdough tastes better and seems to make the dough behave better. Why not try that?
Yup, the hydration seems really low. Tried making wetter doughs. They’re harder to work with and they produce pizzas which are—in my opinion—not as delicious. The wetter the dough, the longer it takes to cook. With your already underpowered home oven, do you really want that?
Uh huh, any wheat flour should work here. Modern, very strong wheats will be easiest to work with. The more large bran particles are left in the flour (as in wholemeal flour), the harder the dough will be to stretch thinly and evenly. Spelt always seems to make the pizza tough. Heritage wheats (kamut, einkorn, etc) need experimentation and are probably not ideal to use on their own. The blend shown gives me the balance of flavor, extensibility and elasticity that I want.
Mmhmm, there’s no autolyse period. Tried it, was a pain, didn’t really change flavor or extensibility in any detectable way.
Warning: I am not a professional. I’ve just made and eaten over 100 bad pizzas at home so you don’t have to.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for pizza dough.