The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

high hydration pizza recipe in Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day

TylerDavis's picture

high hydration pizza recipe in Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day

I have made a few recipes from Peter Reinhart's book "Artisan Breads Every Day"


Most of them have turned out OK, but only after I added a LOT of extra flour to make the dough workable.  Like 10-15% more than the recipe calls for.  Otherwise I get bater instead of dough.


This is his recipe for Neopolitan Pizza Dough:


680g flour

14g salt

3g inst yeast

28.5g sugar

482g water

28.5g olive oil


Using my digital scale and weighing ingredients exactly, I basically make batter.  It doesn;t even pretend to stick to the dough hook.  So I keep adding flour until I get some workable.

So my question is: am I calcuating 70% hydration correctly? and is it even possible to make pizza that will come off a peel @ 70% hydration?  Or am I doing somethign wrong?

mrfrost's picture

Oddly enough, someone just posted a video, yesterday, of this recipe on youtube. I guess that is the dough consistency you should seek to achieve. If for some reason  you are not getting that consistency, even after thorough mixing/folding, then you should add enough flour to get there.

Of course to shape the dough, the pizziaola(o), almost invariably, would coat the doughball in flour. That consistency should be pretty easy to handle with a well floured/semolinaed (wooden)peel. I say wooden because I have no experience with the aluminum type. Otherwise, you can just shape it, top it, and bake it, all on a piece of parchment paper.

That said, Mr Reinhart himself has a new website, , with a similar recipe posted, but is even a little wetter(75 %). Still looks pretty manageable. 

I made his country pizza dough there, which is also about 71 %, but it is 1/4 whole wheat, which makes it a little less slack. I had no problem shaping, topping, and popping that one off my peel.

You can "converse" with Mr Reinhart directly, by posting comments on the bottom of those pizza quest recipe pages. That is if he doesn't drop in on this thread. He just posted on this forum a couple weeks ago. Hope he doesn't take too unkindly the posting of his copyrighted recipe here, and the link to the (unauthorized?) video. Even if it's just the ingredients list.

What type(and brand) flour are you using? Experience level? I don't have the book, but happened to locate the overnight hoagie recipe on the web. I found that particular recipe pretty much spot on with the ingredient amounts. Actually, all of his recipes that I've tried(mostly BBA), seem to always turn out quite nicely, just as written.

Well, good luck on your pizza quest.

barryvabeach's picture

Tyler,  I am not familiar with his recipe, but have made some 80% hydration whole wheat pizzas following a formula from Villa Roma on  2 main differences are that a stretch and fold is done several times ( at 3 hour intervals ) and that gives the dough a little more solidity, and you don't shape the dough as you would with a normal hydration pie, it is way too sticky for that.  It took a few attempts, but my last one came out pretty well and I didn't add any bench flour.   

TylerDavis's picture

thanks for the reply


What that guy had in the video after mixing for one minute was way more firm than what I had.  My dough was still stuck to the sides of the bowl and was not clustered around the dough hook at all.  I guess my water must be "Wetter" than most.  I will drop it by a gram or two next time, then add flour until I get to a similar consistency.

I would say I am a medium expericne level, and I just used some generic bleached white flour.  I have made some great bread from his recipes but always had to decrease water/add flour.

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

1. Where are you and how humid is it there?

2. What flour are you using? Do you know the percentage of protein/gluten?

If your environment is very humid, that can affect the amount of water you want to add. Rather than adding more flour start with 10% less water and measure what you need to add for next time.

Also, I think low protein flour will absorb less water, than higher protein flours. If you can get some higher protein flour I would try that also.


sparklebritches's picture

I use bread flour (as stated in the recipe) and it works very well.  Perhaps using al purpose is the issue?

The stretch and folds also help a lot!   It can be a little messy, the bench scraper and oiled hands work particularly well.

TylerDavis's picture

I am in Tucson, AZ (in the Sonoran Desert).  Our current relative humidity is about 20%.  It can go down to single digits at certain times of year, so I would expect my flour would absorb MORE water, not less


Is there a certain brand of flour I should look for, or just adjust the ratios to get a more workable hydration?

mrfrost's picture

If you can't ascertain the precise protein specifications of your flour choose, at least, King Arthur All Purpose flour(11.7 % protein), or Gold Medal Better Bread flour for more predictable, consistent results for all purpose bread and pizza crust baking. They perform very similarly(to me).

Short of that, at least choose an unbleached all purpose flour. You may very yet, still need to make flour/liquid adjustments.

Bleached flour tends to absorb less water, all things being equal. Apparently yours is probably lower in protein, maybe appreciably so.

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

It definitely works with 70% hydration--just make sure to use plenty of flour as your stretching it out and on the peel.

Also, I generally do an extra 2 stretch and folds at 10 minute intervals before retarding the dough balls, rather than just the one he calls right after mixing.

Janknitz's picture

I've been making this ABED Neo Neopolitan pizza dough pretty successfully.  It is very "gloppy" at first, but takes on some structure with the stretch and folds. The video mentioned above does a great job of showing how the dough acts and how to work with it. 

I try very hard not to add additional flour, but I do flour the board rather than use olive oil as he suggests.  In the video, though, the baker is using only olive oil, quite successfully.  I like a light dusting of flour on the dough to get that "gluten cloak" when you form the balls in the first stage, and later to stretch out the dough for your pizza.  But I do dust with flour sparingly. 

Last week I used 50% Italian Tipo 00 flour.  (Purchased from an Italian deli market, it's kind of pricey!).  This flour absorbs more water, so the usual instruction is to increase the water when you work with it, but I did not add any water.  That was the nicest pizza dough yet.  It wasn't dry or stiff by any stretch of the imagination, but it was SO much easier to work with!  Far less sticky but still very soft--exactly like the dough in the video. 

rjerden's picture

Apparently you have a mixer, so do what they do in Italy with high hydration dough. Once it is mixed together so all the flour is incorporated, turn the mixer to its highest speed and just keep going until the dough comes together. Daniel Leader describes this technique for several Italian breads in this book "Local Breads", including one for Pizza Bianca Romana. I never make pizza dough any other way anymore. It windowpanes like you wouldn't believe. The dough will start to slap around the mixer and will eventually clear the bowl. Go another minute and you're done. You need to watch the mixer or it might walk off the counter, which happened to me one time. The 00 flour does need less hydration (60%) because it's lower in gluten, but it makes the airiest, crunchiest crust. I have gone as high as 90% with very high gluten flour. I do suggest adding some oil, or at least coating the final dough in order to get it out of the bowl. I use a silicone spatula to work the oil all around the final dough in the bowl so I can get it out without it sticking to my hands. I let it triple in volume before making pizzas. Then a bit of bench flour to coat the dough, divide into pizza size portions and make the individual crusts. We make some killer pizzas on the Big Green Egg at 700 F. Use the highest heat you can get. The crust will be bubbly with charred bits. Try a simple pizza Margherita first.

See the thread on Jason's Cocodrillo Ciabatta to understand the technique. You won't think it can possibly go from batter to dough until you see it happen. There's a video on YouTube also.



TylerDavis's picture

wow, you weren't kidding!  That is some serious dough abuse.  We're not concerned about breaking down gluten or overheating dough with that much vigorous mixing?

I understand the reason fo rusing high-hydration dough is to makximize the oven spring, or the size of gas bubbles?  I noticed the youtube ciabatta video showed minimal shaping and handling, but stretching a pizza dough from a ball into a disk requires a certain amount of handling.  Isn't that going to pop a lot of the bubbles?  Or do you give it time to re-rise before topping and cooking?

rjerden's picture

No worries. I had the same concerns, but the dough will not overheat or break down. You can use cold filtered water from the fridge just to be sure, but I did not find the dough overheated. You can see some pizzas on the Jason's Cocodrillo Ciabatta thread. There's a whole sub-discussion on this very topic.

I proof the dough in a graduated container so I can see when it has tripled. Throw out some bench flour and dump the whole thing. It will spread out nicely. Don't flatten it out.

Dust the top liberally and divide the dough with your dough divider into whatever size you think will make the right pizza for your oven. I usually make 10 or 12 inch pizzas, so with the 500 gm of flour in Jason's recipe, I can get 4 small pizzas.

Now you can handle the dough. Don't try to pick it up yet. Be sure it's well floured on all sides. Don't make it into a ball. You can pinch the edges a bit to make a rounder mound of dough, however. Just start flattening it with your hands from the center out, leaving a slightly raised edge. With some practice you can pick it up and stretch the dough very thin if that's what you want (That's the way I like it). I wouldn't do this the first time, however. You'll get plenty of bubbles as long as you don't roll it (a blasphemy, IMHO).

Slide it onto parchment paper or slide a floured pizza peel underneath. The metal peels are better for this. It takes a bit of skill handling a pizza this loose, but it's worth it in the end.

Slap it onto a hot stone and watch the magic happen!



TylerDavis's picture

wow - just had pretty significant success with this "unruly" dough.  Got it onto a wooden peel with rice flour to keep it from sticking.  Topped it up and got it onto my BBQ grill (preheated with two stones around 700 F).  Cooked three pies in about 3-4 minutes each.  MASSIVE blisters in the crust and that great chewy/tearing thing even in the thin spots near the cente rof the dough.

The method still needs some fine-tuning but I can sense I'm on the right track here.  Thanks for all the advice!

rjerden's picture

Sounds like you're on the right track! Next time, pop the risen dough in the fridge for at least 12 hours - longer is even better! It will develop at lot more flavor. Leave it out for about 15 minutes to warm up. It will be easier to work when it's a bit cool, too.



TylerDavis's picture

hey Roy - I had the dough in the fridge for ~ 3 days as suggested in the book.  I let it warm up for 2 hours - maybe I will try taking it out later and see if it is easier to work cool.

madruby's picture

What a coincidence!  I just made this recipe exactly 5 min ago and was going on TFL to ask a question about the recipe and voila...there was a thread discussing this exact subject matter!

I found the Italian type 00 flour and used 680 g (rather than the bread flour called for by the recipe).  The instructions said that this Italian flour "does NOT require as much water", so I only used 469 g instead of 480 g (my water amount was very arbitrary number).  I did not have any problem manipulating this dough, which was at 69% hydration.

However, I would like to know what amount of water would have been required when substituting the bread flour with ALL Italian 00 flour?

Is there a rule, or an average that one needs to follow when using Italian 00 flour instead of the AP or bread flour?

Thank you.

DocB's picture

Simple Answer: Forget stretch and fold and all the other crap. get your hands into the dough and slap it around on the counter until it develops enough gluten to pass the window pane test. this could take as many as 200 to 300 times and it will start out like batter but will end up beautiful with no added flour or hydration % change. Tour crust will be light, crispy and absolutely beautiful.