The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pizza Bianca

auntysharm's picture

Pizza Bianca

I recently ate some SPECTACULAR pizza bianca (in Sweden of all places) which I hadn't had since the last time I was in Rome. It got me inspired to recreate some of my own.

At the time, the chef in question, quite openly admitted that beautifully 'crisp outside / chewy inside' crumb was resultant from the 90% hydration. I gasped, wondering how I might mange a dough that sticky by hand.

So my questions are a) does anyone have a reliable formula specifically for this dough? And b) has anyone had any experience of working with the dough by hand?

All help gratefully received. Blessings to you all.

rainwater's picture

I pretty sure a 90% hydration can be handled....I just put an 80% hydrated dough in the refrigerator to retard and be ready for tomorrow.  The problem is the flour I think?????  I read repeatedly that there is quite a difference in the flour that they use in Europe.....I make good pizza, but I'm continually trying to "perfect" it....I'm not where I want to be with pizza dough yet.....My breads are always just about where I want them....but pizza dough is an obsession for me......

The recipe I put in the refrigerator is the "Pain L'Ancienne" from the "Bread Baker's Appretice"'s about 80% hydration.....I'm also trying a sourdough pizza dough at about 75% hydration tomorrow..

I never use any machinery for any bread making.....tonight I put the flour, salt, and yeast on the counter and added water....mixed, stretched and slammed, slammed, stretched, and folded.....for about 10/13 minutes......

I'm always trying different combinations of flour for the pizza dough.....(always unbleached).....bread flour, all-purpose, or a combination of both.....sometimes a sprinkle of whole wheat......someday.......

let me know if you come up with something really good......

campcook's picture

My favorite bread recipe is a variation of Jason's Cocodrillo Ciabata from the fresh loaf recipe section.  This recipe calls for 500 gms of flour and 490 gms of water.  I have found this to be an extremely forgiving recipe.  It stays in my mixer for a long time and then rises 3 to 4 times size before I dump it out on a wet work surface.  In my variation, I divide the dough with WET HANDS.  For ciabata, I form the normal sort of free form slipper shape by picking up the dough and squeezing it into shape with my wet hands.    I  let it rise again for 40 minutes before it goes in the oven.  For pizza.  I use wet hands and squeeze the dough into a circular shape.  Then I place it on dampened parchment and gently push the dough out into the pizza shape.  Again, it rises before baking.

Last Thursday night, I made a double batch of dough for a party.  We shaped and dressed four medium pizzas and two calzones.  It was almost two hours before we got around to baking the Calzones and they came out perfect.  On Friday, I made a batch for Ciabata loaves for a Saturday dinner party.  I let the dough go though first rise and then into the fridge overnite.  I shaped it into loaves as soon as it came out of the fridge and baked it 45 minutes later.  Again, the results were perfect


I am in love with high hydration dough.  And, I really love the wet hands method for the reduced mess in the kitchen.


Have fun,


lynnebiz's picture

I don't know what my hydration percentages are, (I need to recheck the info on this site about it when I get a chance) - on average, I use 4 cups of water (sometimes more) to about 6 cups of flour. Although I'm new to this board, I've been baking bread - and pizza - for more years than I want to admit (makes me feel too old, ha!) With the increase in prices, I can't afford King Arthur flour anymore - but I found a local (I'm in the Boston area) grocery store that has an unbleached grocery store brand that's very good - and close to half the price. Only all purpose, unbleached for my breads and pizza...

I've compared the results from my standard pizza dough recipe, Reinhart's l'Acienne and my own variation on the no-knead method.

If I have the time - and the foresight to plan ahead - the no-knead method wins out. And, if I have the room in the fridge, (as long as I don't have a big pot of soup in there, and something like a whole turkey marinating, lol) then I'll put my no-knead in the fridge for awhile, say overnight or even for a whole day - and wait 2 days until I use it. I learned this from the BBA book (I don't own it - took it out fr the library - it'll be on my 'hint-list' for my kids, for holidays)!

Anyway, when my very wet dough is ready (I let it get close to three times the volume - there is a certain look to it when I know it's ready), I carefully take out a handful of dough, cover it in flour, and (again, carefully) spread it out on a floured board by hand. I never, ever use a rolling pin - that would squash those beautiful air bubbles.

Again, if I have the time, (hungry souls are impatient in this household), I let it sit (covered with some plastic wrap) for awhile (sorry for the esoteric directions - it's how I cook/bake).

This is great for thicker, rustic crusts, but just lately (after a visit to New Haven - yum - to see my daughter), I've been experimenting w/thin crusts. Amazingly, this works for that, too. I just make sure I use enough flour to prevent sticking while I'm pressing it out.

Also - I don't have a pizza stone in my oven (bought a cheap one once and it broke right away), so I've developed methods to substitute. For the longest time I used a cast iron pan - the pan retains the heat and makes for a fantastic rustic, thick crust pizza. Lately I've been using the large, aluminum pizza pan that was gathering dust for so long - with a light coating of olive oil, and also a light sprinkling of semolina (or cornmeal) so it doesn't burn too much, I place my pizza on the next to lowest level in my oven (which has been preheated to the highest temp - 550 degrees f.)

If I can let the dough set for awhile before baking, it really comes out fantastic. Heck, even cooking it right away it's excellent... mmm... getting hungry...