The Annotated Pizza Recipe

Ingredients (for 4 pizzas)

As a general rule, ingredients are measured in weight rather than volume because this allows for better precision. On that topic, a digital scale is a must to make sure you are following the correct proportions.


Put all the water in a large container, dissolve the yeast in it and start pouring in the flour while mixing with a large spatula (or spatula attachment if using a kneading machine). When half of the flour is used, add the salt to the remaining flour and continue incorporating. Let rest for 15 minutes.

If using a kneading machine, switch to the dough hook attachment and knead at a low speed for 15 minutes. Otherwise transfer to the work surface and knead by hand. Knead for 15 minutes and let rest for another 15 minutes.

A wet dough (68-70% hydration) is difficult to work by hand, so a kneading machine is recommended. If you are going to knead by hand, dust the dough with a little flour often, but be careful not to use too much.

Knead the dough ball using the "stretch and fold" technique (see video below): stretch it, rotate 90 degrees, fold it in half, stretch it again and repeat. This makes the dough much more firm and elastic. Shape into a ball and store in a large plastic container previously coated with oil (drizzle a few drops and spread with a piece of kitchen paper). Store in the fridge and let rest overnight, or out of the fridge for 4-6 if you are short on time.

I found one night (or 24h) to be the proofing time that gives the best results without being too long - planning your pizza a day ahead seems like a reasonable demand. You can also let the dough rest for two nights if you want, but more than that will not produce any better result.

Divide into 4 chunks and shape into balls, let rest for 1.5 hours. Put the pizza stone in the oven and turn the oven on at max temperature. Let it heat for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, roughly blend the canned tomatoes with their juice and leave them into a colander to drain. Break the mozzarella with your hands and put in another sieve to drain.

Flatten and stretch one of the balls in to a pizza disc (see how in the video below), transfer to the pizza peel, spread one spoonful of tomato sauce on it and toss on top of the hot stone.

A pizza peel and a pizza stone are fundamental tools and will improve any pizza recipe tremendously. Your pizza needs to land on a very hot surface so that the "heat shock" will make it bubble and raise instantly. The cooking time needs to be fast so that the inside of the crust stays moist and airy, while the outside becomes crispy.

After 5-7 minutes the pizza should have risen but not be fully cooked yet, take it out, add the mozzarella, basil leafs, a drizzle of olive oil and return to the oven for another 5 minutes or less.

The cooking time depends a lot on the oven, you'll have to try a few times to find the one that works for you.


This recipe would not exist if it wasn't for Jeff Varasano and his Famous New York Pizza Recipe. I also owe a lot to Serious Eats' J.Kenji Lopez and his Pizza Lab. Thanks guys, you are an inspiration!