The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Jim Lahey's Pizza Patate from "My Bread"

Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Jim Lahey's Pizza Patate from "My Bread"

One of the challenges for a home baker is to try and figure out how to make a great bread once you've tasted it. Like encountering the Platonic ideal, you recognize it, reach for it and try and duplicate it -- and then you fail miserably and often give up.

Jim Lahey, the founder of Sullivan Street Bakery, was like a culinary Plato for me. Every bread he turned out was amazing and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't find a way to make the airy, light, wonderfully tasteful bread at home. To learn more, I actually visited his bakery in New York several years ago and did a story on him. And while he gave me a few generous tips in an interview (and critiqued the sample I had in my backpack), it wasn't enough. I had to learn on my own and like most bread, I later realized success was less about the recipe than the technique.

Lahey, of course, later caused a storm on the Internet with his no-knead bread recipe, courtesy of Mark Bittman. Then, he spun those recipes into My Bread published this past fall, which ranks as a perfect starting point for an aspiring baker.

Less known than his bread, however, are his terrific pizzas, which he also includes in the book. These aren't the round pizzas he serves up at his New York restaurant, Company, but rectangular sheets of exceedingly thin-crust pizza, topped with onions, mushrooms or just tomato sauce. They are sold by the slice in his bakery.

The big secret about these crispy gems? Like no-knead bread they are dead easy and fast to make. For the effort, you get great results. 

In fact, the pizza recipe was so easy that I was skeptical it would be worth it. You mix the dough quickly, let it rise for a couple of hours, flatten it out in a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil, spread the topping and bake it. The recipe was also quite different from another here, because no mixer is necessary. 

You can dispense with a baking stone, too. And finally, watch your impulse on toppings! The biggest error pizza novices make is to pile on so much stuff the pie turns into a soggy, gloppy mess. As Jim told me many years ago, when it comes to pizza, "less is more." He's right. Like many Italian concoctions, he also avoids cheese on these rectangular pies and the result, in my opinion, is superior. But if you insist, go ahead and add a bit of cheese.

Here's his basic dough recipe and the stellar pizza patate (potato pizza).

Basic Pizza Dough 

Yield: enough dough for two pies baked in 13x18-inch rimmed baking sheets

3 3/4 cups (500 grams) bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons (10 grams) instant or active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoon (5 grams) salt
3/4 teaspoon plus pinch (3 grams) sugar
1 1/3 cups (300 grams) water
Extra Virgin olive oil for pan

In a bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the water, and using a spoon, your hand, or a baker's plastic bench scraper, mix together until blended -- about a minute (Jim says 30 seconds but mine took a bit longer). You don't want to mix or knead this dough too much, or else the gluten will develop and you won't be able to shape it in the pan. But you want to mix in all the lumps of flour. In the end, you'll arrive at a stiff dough.

Cover the dough and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours. (If your room is cold, put it in the oven with a pilot light to warm up a bit, or in a closed cabinet).

Dump out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut it in half. Use both pieces, or save one in the refrigerator (I use a zip lock bag) for up to 1 day. Oil a 13x18 inch rimmed baking sheet liberally with good extra virgin olive oil (yes, pour it on). Then gently plop the dough on the pan and stretch and press it out to the edges. If it springs back (that's the gluten working) wait five minutes and then proceed. I found the gluten weak enough to spread it fully over the pan. The dough is very thin. If it tears, piece it back together.

Lahey has a few basic toppings in his book, such as pizza pomodoro (tomato sauce), pizza funghi (mushroom), and pizza cavolfiore (cauliflower), but I zoomed in on his pizza patate (potato). This might sound like a carbo-loading dream, but remember the crust is thin, so you're not stuffing yourself with dough.

Pizza Patate

As Jim writes, "Potato pizza is another Italian classic you don't see very often in the United States. While my rendition is pretty traditional, I soak the potatoes in salted water first, which actually extracts about 20 percent of their moisture. That causes them to cook more quickly and makes them firmer. It's a little trick I learned from cooking potato pancakes."

YIELD: One 13-by-18-inch pie; 8 slices 

EQUIPMENT: A mandoline

1 quart (800 grams) lukewarm water 
4 teaspoons (24 grams) table salt 
6 to 8 (1 kilo) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled 
1 cup (100 grams) diced yellow onion 
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) freshly ground black pepper 
About 1⁄2 cup (80 grams) extra virgin olive oil 
1/2 recipe (400 grams) Basic Pizza Dough 
About 1 tablespoon (2 grams) fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat the oven to 500 F (260 C) with a rack in the middle

In a medium bowl, combine the water and salt, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Use a knife or mandoline to slice the peeled potatoes very thin (1/16th inch thick), and put the slices directly into the salted water so they don’t oxidize and turn brown. Let soak in the brine for 1-1/2 hour (or refrigerate and soak for up to 12 hours), until the slices are wilted and no longer crisp. (Note: I cut the soaking time to 30 minutes and the results were still good.)

Drain the potatoes in a colander and use your hands to press out as much water as possible, then pat dry. In a medium bowl, toss together the potato slices, onion, pepper, and olive oil.

Spread the potato mixture evenly over the dough, going all the way to the edges of the pan; put a bit more of the topping around the edges of the pie, as the outside tends to cook more quickly. Sprinkle evenly with the rosemary. (Note: I left it out in the version pictured above, but feel it's better with it). 

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the topping is starting to turn golden brown and the crust is pulling away from the sides of the pan. Serve the pizza hot or at room temperature.

Variation • Pizza Batata (Sweet Potato Pizza)

Substitute 2 sweet potatoes (800 grams), peeled, for the Yukon Gold potatoes, and use about 4 cups (about 900 grams) water and 24 grams (4 teaspoons) salt for the soaking liquid. Omit the rosemary in the topping.

(I originally posted this on ChewsWise)


Yippee's picture

Good to see you here.  Your award winning baguettes surely looked great. 


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Sam.

Welcome to TFL!

That potatoe pizza has been on my "to bake" list forever. Thanks for sharing your experience with it. It looks delicious.


ehanner's picture

I just finished reading your current Blog on the bake you did for Alice Waters. I have been reading your Blog for a while and enjoy your style.

I haven't tried the Pizza you are writing about  but it looks interesting enough to try.

I hope you plan to stick around here and post some original work. The loaf is well visited by many great artisan bakers, novices and everything in between. A friendly place to share your thoughts about bread.

Good to see you here.


Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Yes, I plan on spending a bit of time here -- when I have it. What I love is that there's so much passion here for bread. It's thinking with your hands, eyes, nose and mouth. Oh yeah, the brain comes in there somewhere too, maybe in the baker's calculations!

And yes, that was among the most surprising calls I've ever received -- to bake for Alice Waters. That's more an essay than a recipe so will post the link:


Floydm's picture

Great post, Sam.  I featured it on the homepage.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

What a way to introduce yourself!  I'll be trying these out soon.  Hubby and I had our first potato pizza in Korea last summer.  It was fantastic! 


wally's picture


Good to see you here - I've enjoyed your baguette recipe on many occasions!

At G Street Food in DC where I work, we served a potato pizza that Mark Furstenberg devised.  The recipe was quite similar to yours above, but he made an addition of fontina cheese, very thinly sliced covering the potatoes.  It makes for a pizza that is visually appealing - a not-quite golden yellow color - and that attracted a lot of attention.  And the cheese is not an overwhelming flavor but works well with the potatoes.


Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Larry, Thanks, I had been meaning to get to G St. but didn't before Mark left. I'll try and come over though and try that pizza. 


wally's picture


We aren't baking the pizza patate regularly anymore, but if you're in the area please stop in.  I'd love to talk baguettes - we bake a poolish baguette based on a Hamelman recipe that I altered to up the hydration to 72%.  Poolish is amazing, but truly temperamental!


Janknitz's picture

I can't wait to try it.

2 1/2 tsp is a lot of yeast for 3 1/2 cups of flour.  Does the yeast flavor come through at all?



Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

I was very skeptical about this recipe when I saw it, since it had a lot of yeast, very little rising time -- it went against all my assumptions. But here's why it works: Olive oil. It's the oil that suffuses the dough, along with the topping. And it really works. I was amazed.

Kevin E Smith's picture
Kevin E Smith

I've had several versions of patate over the years and the bakers just couldn't constrain themselves to the few ingredients that Jim uses (I have this problem myself). 

I made this last night for my family and eyes popped from the flavor and crunch. It was very quiet for a few moments (excepting the crunch). That's the tell of a fine recipe. 

I can make this for any function and know people will be glad they came. Best.


Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Kevin, glad you enjoyed.

As I said in the article, I really believe less is more when it comes to pizza. Jim's Neopolitan style pizzas at his restaurant Co. have very little cheese on them, just dots of high quality mozz, for example, and the pizza is better for it. But he's not alone, Keste in NYC also is very judicious on the use of cheese. 

Try his pizza pomodoro too -- nothing but tomato sauce over this crust, but you need to have a very fine tomato sauce, no chunks, and spread it over the dough. After 25 minutes or so, it dries out and the tomatoes get this intense flavor over the crust not unlike roasted tomatoes. I just put a little sea salt on it and it's good too go.

rossnroller's picture

Right with you on the less-is-more notion for pizzas, Sam.

I tried your/Jim's pizza patate 2 nights ago, using my SD pizza dough for the base - fantastic. My damned camera's packed up, so couldn't take pics, but glad to report the pizza looked pretty much like yours.

I didn't add cheese, but did use fresh rosemary and fresh-ground black pepper (no salt - my partner has a med condition requiring a low-sodium diet). This is one of the rare dishes that doesn't miss salt - although of course, I did put some in the pizza dough, so I suppose that doesn't qualify as 'low-salt'.

We do like fresh-cut chillies in EV olive oil to add to our pizzas, but I didn't even bother about that for this one...and it was still delectable.

Thanks for the recipe!

burgeoningbaker's picture

I have yet to try Lahey's original no knead (waiting to get a Enameled cast iron dutch oven).  That aside, this looks wonderful.  Over this past weekend, we were hit with some wintry weather and I decided to bake up a storm.  One of my concoctions was a focaccia (a la Peter Reinhart) that was topped with sliced potatoes, rosemary, sliced onions and a light coating of parmesan, kosher salt and black pepper.  I have photos sitting in my camera.  It was great but for me the potato (used a parboiled/blanched Russet) could have crisped up a bit more (maybe the soaking trick will work).

chayarivka's picture

For some time now because of health reasons we've been avoiding yeast breads (I've been making mainly sprouted breads and crackers, as well as whole-grain sourdough breads--including a very good 100 percent rye). We also haven't been eating potatoes for the same reasons. This photo and recipe are going to change that for a special treat. I actually went out and bought the potatoes, yeast, and white flour for it today. Thank you for posting this irrestible recipe.

Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

I am sure this could be made with sourdough, though the crust will be chewier. If I were to experiement, I would start with a sourdough at 25% of the total flour weight. With the following you come out with the same hydration as lahey's pizza of 60%. I would also be careful about developing the gluten too much, as you need to spread this dough over the sheet pan.

438 grams bread flour
5 grams salt
3 grams sugar
125 sourdough at 100% hydration

238 water

Extra Virgin olive oil for pan

As I said, I have not tried this, but I encourage you to give it a shot and then modify as needed (less sugar? less sourdough? more sourdough? etc). 


rossnroller's picture


Seems you didn't see my post above. I did your pizza patate with my usual sourdough pizza dough and it was extraordinarily good - so case closed! SD pizza bases definitely work brilliantly with this recipe.

I provided a link to my sourdough pizza dough recipe above, but here it is again:


Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Will have to give that a shot - pizzas look great. 

ehanner's picture


What is the prep on the mushroom topping? I was thinking of doing one of each tonight.


toile apron's picture
toile apron

I am new and this is my first post (I am not a frequent poster). 

This pizza looks so fantastic I can't wait to bite into it.  I have made the dough, and will complete the pizza for dinner tonight. 

I hope that it turns out well; I had some trouble with the dough coming together.  The 1 1/3 c. of water in the recipe wasn't enough for me.  I had to add some more to incorporate the flour.  I was worried that it would not rise since it looked fairly doomed, but it has nearly doubled in size and feels right. 

This is a fantastic website; happy to have found it, novice baker that I am.

toile apron

Janknitz's picture

Tried the pizza patate this weekend and it was delish!  I froze half the dough in two balls for more pizzas.  My picky kids want thicker crusts--will it work for that if I just don't stretch it out so thin???  It was wonderful thin and crackly, but my teenager has to find SOMETHING to complain about. 

It was easy as pie (pizza pie!) to make this, though the dough was surprisingly a little drier than I expected.  I probably mixed a bit too much to get all the flour incorporated--I had to let the dough rest twice while stretching it out. 

To all those people who complain that there 's too much yeast in AB in 5 doughs, the ratio of yeast to flour in this recipe is EXACTLY THE SAME as it is in most AB in 5 recipes--2 1/4 tsp(actually 2 1/2 here) to 3.5 cups (about 500 grams) !!!!!!!!  Neener, neener :o)

ovguide's picture

There are 1 1/3 cups (300 grams) water in basic pizza dough recipe. Is it cold water or warm water?


sumegha's picture

My search for the perfect pizza dough has finally come to and end with this recipe.. :-) Easy to make and tasted great..!!