Cold-Proof Pizza Dough
Good things come to those who wait, and pizza dough is certainly no exception!
Cold-proofing or cold rising is a technique that slows down the fermentation process by placing the dough inside your fridge as it ferments, allowing the yeast to work on the sugars in the flour for long period of time.
A 24- to 72-hour prove time helps the dough to develop a complex structure, creating a deeper flavour and added texture. Shaping the dough into balls while they’re cold also prevents excess air from escaping, resulting in beautifully bubbly crusts when cooked. Although it requires a bit of forward planning, the technique itself is super simple, and the results are well worth the wait. Just mix the ingredients together, then pop the pizza dough in the fridge and let the yeast work its magic!
This recipe is very similar to our Classic Pizza Dough, with simply the quantity of yeast adjusted for cold-proving.
Makes 4 x 12” (30cm) pizzas (equivalent to 4x 250g dough balls), or 3x 16” (40cm) pizzas (equivalent to 3 x 330g dough balls)
Preparation: 29 h 40 min
364ml cold water
4.1g fresh yeast (or 1.8g active dried yeast, or 1.4g instant dried yeast)
607g “00” flour, plus extra for dusting
Prepare the pizza dough
Place two-thirds of the water in a large bowl. In a saucepan or microwave, bring the other third of water to boil, then add it to the cold water in the bowl. This creates the correct temperature for activating yeast. Whisk the salt and yeast into the warm water.
Mixing and kneading - by hand
Place the flour in a large bowl and pour the yeast mixture into it. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough starts to form. Continue mixing by hand until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead with both hands for about 10 minutes, until it is firm and stretchy. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover with cling film (plastic wrap).
Mixing and kneading - using a mixer
Fit the mixer with the dough hook and place the flour in the mixer bowl. Turn the machine on at a low speed and gradually add the yeast mixture to the flour. Once combined, leave the dough to keep mixing to at the same speed for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is firm and stretchy.
Cover the mixing bowl with cling film (plastic wrap).
Cold prove the pizza dough
Place the covered pizza dough in the fridge to cold prove for 24 to 72 hours. When the dough has roughly doubled in size, remove the dough from the fridge.
Divide the cold-proved pizza dough into 3 or 5 equal pieces, depending on what size you want your pizzas to be (either 12 inches or 16 inches wide). Shape each piece into a ball, and place each pizza dough ball in a separate bowl or tray. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for 5 hours on your kitchen bench, so that they can come up to room temperature and double in size.
Stretching the pizza dough
Once the second prove is complete, you’re ready to stretch out your pizza bases!
Place the ball on a lightly floured surface, flour your hands and use your fingertips to press the dough into a small, flat disc. Working from the centre, push the dough outwards while spreading your fingers, making the disc slightly bigger. Pick up the dough and gently pinch it all around the edge, allowing gravity to pull it downwards into a 30cm (12-inch) circle. Neapolitan-style pizza bases are very thin, so you should be able to see through the base when you hold it up to the light. Take care when doing this – you don’t want it to tear.
Once the dough is fully stretched, lightly flour your pizza peel and lay the base on it. If at this point you see any small holes in the dough, gently pinch them back together. Once you’re happy with the base, add your toppings and bake in your Ooni pizza oven!