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Spoonful Eats – Chris Bianco’s Pizza D...

Spoonful Eats – Chris Bianco’s Pizza Dough

Pizza dough

Before you get to eat pizza, you must make dough. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with picking up a bag of refrigerated pizza dough from the grocery or your favorite deli, making pizza dough is surprisingly easy. This dough, from James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona, proves that, contrary to pizza purists, you don’t need to allow for an overnight rise to make great pizza. Combine a few pantry staples and knead them together by hand or, if you’re pressed for time, just chuck everything in a stand mixer and let it do the work. Either way, in just a few hours you’ll have a homemade canvas for four perfect pizzas. Planning to make pizza tomorrow? Make the dough as written, but place in the refrigerator to rise slowly for up to five days. Remove it from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before using.

Chris Bianco's Pizza Dough

Makes 4 12″ pizzas
Recipe by Chris Bianco

Total Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Active Cooking Time: 35 minutes

  • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (one ¼-ounce envelope)
  • 2 cups warm water (105-115°F)
  • 5 to 5 ½ cups unbleached, organic all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for bowl
  • Pizza stone
  • Pizza peel

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 3 cups flour and salt, stirring until smooth. Stir in an additional 2 cups flour. Continue adding flour (up to ½ cup), 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until dough comes away from bowl but is still sticky.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with lightly floured hands. Start by slapping the dough onto the counter, pulling it toward you with one hand and pushing it away from you with the other. Fold the dough back over itself (use a bench scraper or a wide knife to help scrape dough from surface). Repeat until it’s easier to handle, about 10 times. Finish kneading normally until dough is smooth, elastic, and soft, but a little tacky, about 10 minutes.

Shape dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat. Cover with plastic, and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, 2-3 hours. Press it with your finger to see if it’s done, an indent should remain.

Place a pizza stone on floor of gas oven (remove racks) or bottom rack of electric oven. Preheat oven to at least 500°F for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, scrape dough out of bowl onto floured surface and cut it into 4 pieces. Shape into balls. Dust with flour, and cover with plastic. Let rest, 20 to 30 minutes, allowing dough to relax and almost double.

Holding top edge of 1 dough ball in both hands, let bottom edge touch work surface (refrigerate remaining balls as you work). Carefully move hands around edge to form a circle, as if turning a wheel. Hold dough on back of your hand, letting its weight stretch it into a 12” round. Transfer dough to a lightly floured pizza peel (or an inverted baking sheet). Press out edges using your fingers. Jerk peel; if dough sticks, lift, and dust more flour underneath. Arrange desired toppings on dough.

Heat oven to broil. Align edge of peel with edge of stone. Tilt peel, jerking it gently to move pizza. When edge of pizza touches stone, quickly pull back peel to transfer pizza to stone (do not move pizza). Broil until bubbles begin to form in crust, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce temperature to 500°Fand bake until crust is crisp and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes more. (If not using broiler, bake pizza for 10 to 15 minutes total.)

Remove pizza from oven using peel, and top with additional toppings if using. Slice and serve. Repeat with remaining dough and assorted toppings (each variation can be multiplied, depending on the number of pizzas you’re making).

Recipe by Chris Bianco – Photos by Elliott Shaffner and Fred Turko


Emily Teel is the Editor-in-Chief of Spoonful Magazine, as well as a freelance food writer, recipe editor, tester, and developer in Philadelphia. She completed a Master of Arts in Food Culture and Communications at the University of Gastronomic Sciences. An alumna of Bryn Mawr College and a Legacy Award Winner with the women's culinary organization Les Dames d'Escoffier International, she's passionate about food and committed to the idea that everyone deserves access to meals that are both nourishing and satisfying. 

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