Adapted from a recipe in Gabriele Bonci’s book, “Pizza: Seasonal Recipes from Rome’s Legendary Pizzarium“. Let me know if you have any questions or if any steps are unclear. I’ll also try to add pictures the next time I make it.

The recipe makes enough for 5 medium-sized pizzas. As it takes 1-3 days and is easy to freeze, I always make the full recipe and save the rest for later.

Ingredients

I usually cook with a scale but I have attempted to add the measuring cup equivalents below for those cooking without one.

  • 1 kilogram of bread flour which is almost 8 cups (7.87 cups). You can also use 8 cups of all-purpose flour instead. It changes the fluffy and chew factor, but is still good.
  • 8 grams of active dry yeast or 1 package
  • 700 grams of water at room temperature or almost 3 cups (2.8 cups)
  • 26 grams of salt or about 4 1/2 teaspoons
  • 40 grams of olive oil or almost 3 tablespoons (2.94 tablespoons)

Mixing the dough and first rising

  1. Mix the yeast and the flour.
  2. Slowly add the water paying attention to the moisture. The dough should be soft and shaggy. You may need to add a little more but do so carefully.
  3. Add salt and olive oil and blend well.
  4. Coat a clean bowl with plenty of olive oil and place the dough in it. Cover with saran wrap or a dish towel and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place without a draft. It should double in size.

Folding and second rising

  1. Pour the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface.
  2. Instead of kneading, fold the pizza dough. Use your fingers to gently press the dough into a rectangular shape. Grasp the bottom of the dough and stretch it toward you and then fold it up, pressing it back into itself halfway. Pull the top of the dough away from you, stretching it and then fold it back down and press into the middle of the dough where it meets the dough you folded up. Turn the dough 180°and repeat, pulling both down and up and folding both into the middle. The four folds, two tops, and two bottoms complete one rotation. Do three full rotations.
  3. Wait 20 minutes and complete 3 more full rotations. Repeat two more times, waiting 20 minutes between each set of 3 full rotations. In about an hour, you will have completed the folding process a total of 4 times with 3 full rotations each.
  4. Coat a very large, clean bowl with olive oil and place the dough in it. Coat the dough with olive oil as well. Cover with saran wrap and put in the fridge to rise for a minimum of 24 hours. I usually let my dough rise for 2 to 3 days to improve the flavor, but not more than 3 days.

Dividing, second folding and third rising

  1. Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Use a pastry scraper or a knife to cut into individual pizzas. There will be enough to make 5 medium-sized pizzas of 350g each. Adorable individual minis will weigh in at about 150g.
  2. At this point, you can wrap any balls of dough that you don’t plan to use in plastic wrap and toss them into the freezer. When ready to use, let thaw and then start the recipe again here. It can take several hours for the dough to thaw. I usually move it from the freezer to the refrigerator in the morning when I plan on cooking it for dinner that same day.
  3. Fold each individual pizza again. Complete one full rotation with the four folds (two tops and two bottoms) 3 times. Cover with a dish towel and let rest for an hour and a half. Preheat the oven to about 475 degrees. I usually just turn my oven up as high as it will go.

Baking

  1. Gently shape the pizza into a pie by pulling and poking and stretching. It’s hard to explain, but easy to do. Don’t panic if you wind up with a hole. It’ll still be delicious.
  2. Place it on a baking sheet that has been lightly coated with olive oil. Add toppings or you can bake it with just a light coating of olive oil on top and add the toppings when it comes out of the oven.
  3. Bake for approximately 12–20 minutes until it becomes puffy and golden brown. Your particular oven matters so watch it carefully. When you tap the crust it should sound hollow. Make sure the bottom does not burn.

Some simple topping ideas

  • Canned whole tomatoes and mozzarella: Pour off the tomato liquid and save for something else. Crush the tomatoes and add a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drain the mozzarella if it is watery. I often cook the pizza with the tomatoes and only add the mozzarella at the very end to melt it.
  • Cheddar and onion: Thinly slice onions, coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Slice cheddar. Put the cheese and then the onions on the pizza and bake.
  • Chickpeas and mortadella: Ground chickpeas into a paste with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Coat pizza dough in olive oil and bake fully. Add the ground chickpeas and top with sliced mortadella when it comes out of the oven.
  • Prosciutto: Coat pizza dough in olive oil and fully bake. Add prosciutto when it comes out of the oven.