The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Looking for a pizza crust that is light and airy with lots of holes

njbetsy's picture

Looking for a pizza crust that is light and airy with lots of holes

Hi folks,

I know you'll have the answer.  I made Reinhart's Neo-Neopolitan Dough for my friend who is a chef and a culinary teacher.  Her friends liked it very much, but she wanted a lighter, airier and more holey pizza crust.  Do any of you have such a dough?  Thanks in advance.



odinraider's picture

Check it out on my Fresh Loaf blog here:


LeeYong's picture

Hi Matt,

Your pizza looks awesome! Care to share the recipe? Tried one with Ciabatta recipe - was okay... Happy baking!


odinraider's picture

Lee Yong,

The recipe is on the same page, just scroll down a ways.


SylviaH's picture

Hi, Betsy,

I have e-mailed you with photos and info that might help.


G-man's picture

My wife typically prefers a lighter dough for pizza too. I like this recipe. Start the day before or EARLY in the morning if you must:

5 ounces KA AP flour

5 ounces KA Bread flour

6 ounces room-temp water (I use room temp because I mix with my hands. Use ice water if you mix with a mixer)

0.32 ounces kosher salt

0.3 ounces sugar

3 tbsp powdered milk

1 tbsp olive oil

1 1/5 tsp instant yeast


Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly and add any flavorings you want. I use a bit of oregano usually. This is also one of three recipes when I'll use garlic powder.

Mix in the oil thoroughly, then the water. Sometimes I add a bit more water to get a dough that sticks, depends on the time of year.

Autolyze 20-30 minutes.

Place on work surface, douse your hands in water and stretch and fold. I do this once most of the time, but occasionally I'll do it twice. The idea is to get it really, really tight.

Into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, into the refrigerator overnight or for at least twelve hours. If you've started the dough late you can skip this step but it won't turn out nearly as good.

Pull out the dough an hour and a half to two hours before you want it in the oven. Let it sit on the counter for at least thirty minutes, in the bowl. Dust work surface and hands liberally with flour, take out dough, and flatten/stretch the dough to roughly the size and shape you want it. At this point you should have about a half hour left on the clock before you want it in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 450. While the oven preheats, dock the dough with a fork, if you have a better method let me know.

Slide the bare pizza dough into the oven for about 8 minutes. There should be no moist spots showing when you pull it out but the dough should be quite pale and obviously not fully cooked. Dress in whatever toppings you wish, put back in the oven for 10 minutes.

When you pull the finished pizza out of the oven, let it sit for at least five minutes before cutting into it.

ananda's picture

Hi Betsy,

I'm sure your culinary expertise means you appreciate the need to roll out your pizza bases thinly, to bake hot, and preferably on the sole of the oven.

This will give a crisp base, but, done correctly, will also give the crumb texture you describe.   You want the dough to respond and rise rapidly in the very hot oven, on account of the bottom heat, directly under the dough.

You can achieve this as follows:

Firstly, use a "biga" type fermentation system, with a stiff dough.   Secondly, employ a long, slow and gradual fermentation, so the gluten in the dough can develop slowly, and will relax, giving essential extensibility.  To make this easier, the hydration should be reasonably high to make the dough easy to pin out.

Regarding proportions, the flour in the biga should make up around 30% of the total flour.   You can experiment here, but I doubt you would go beyond 50%, and below 25% is probably inadequate, unless you want to go for really long chilled ferments.   A bit of dark rye in the mix may well be something to go for as well.

Here is a possible formula:



Formula [% of flour]

  • 1. Biga


Strong White Flour




Fresh Yeast






  • 2. Final Dough


Biga [from above]


"00" type flour*


Dark Rye Flour








* For a US audience, use All Purpose; for UK, a 50:50 mix of strong and plain should suffice


  • Ferment the biga overnight.
  • Mix the dough on slow speed in a mixer for 6 to 8 minutes, or, by hand for about 15 minutes
  • Bulk prove/rest covered for half an hour to allow the dough to relax.   Maintain the dough temperature around 24 - 26*C.
  • Divide your dough, mould round and store well covered on floured tea towels in the chiller for at least 4 hours, and upto 24 hours if your chiller is genuinely cold.

If you are still finding you need a lighter base, then you could add a further, small quantity of yeast to the final dough.

Very best wishes for success


copyu's picture

This will definitely be my next Japanese pizza dough, using locally-milled bread flour in the biga and some of the lovely, but cheap, 'Kobe' flour that my local supermarket stocks, in the final dough. For the 'dark rye' component I'll just use the coarsest I can get (which is not very dark, actually) but should do the job(?) I really love the idea of 5% rye flour rye in pizza (and baguette) doughs!

I'll probably do a batch of 500-750g, so I'll almost certainly push the salt percentage up a 'teensy' amount...1.9-2.0% should be OK, yeah? I'm used to slightly 'saltier' breads and pizzas than the formulae that I bake with. For example, I mostly use about 11g of 'grey sea salt' for most 'boules', where the flour weight is only 430-450g, or "around a pound" of flour.

I'm guessing that 'grey sea salt', which I always use for baking, must have something other than "just plain NaCl, or common salt", in it...maybe that's why I always want to push the salt upwards a little bit? [Comments are most welcome...]



SylviaH's picture

Do I understand correctly, all these pizza's are being done on a grill? 


ananda's picture

Hi Sylvia,

not sure if this is a question for Betsy or me, or one of the other posters?

To me pizzas are baked on the sole of the oven...preferably brick-built and wood-fired, but stone will more than suffice...and baked hot, very hot.

A grill will not work; end of!

But, I'm pretty sure you know that anyway!

Very best wishes


SylviaH's picture

I'm pretty sure Betsy and friend are both baking all their pizza's on a grill..

Grilled pizza's are a another animal : )!


njbetsy's picture

Hi Everyone,

I think my friend left the dough out too long and didn't heat up the grill long enough.  When I did it today, my experience was very different from hers.  The dough was nice and airy--lots of holes.  NN is a very nice dough and my friend changed her opinion drastically.

Thank you all for your help.  You are all wonderful!!


jim baugh's picture
jim baugh

I have posted our full recipe here, neo-ny pizza, so just a brief re-cap, comment on dough.

* Autolyse is important, and do an extended one if you can then mix, and continue to overnight rise in fridge. Let rise, warm in oven with light on, for the next-rest of the day.

* Use a poolish, I make mine from our wild sourdough starter mother jar.

* Use GOOD ingredients, spring water, high gluten flour, good quality olive oil etc.

* Use a GOOD pizza stone that is WELL seasoned.

* High Heat. Get your grill as hot as you can get it. Our new grill get close to 750 degrees.

* Use a smoker box on your grill.

* Roll out your dough by hand, not a roller.


For sauce -San Marzano, I use Cento and just love them. Use the best Motz you can afford.