The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

NY Sicilian Pizza dough

keebs45's picture

NY Sicilian Pizza dough


Does anyone have a good NY Sicilian style pizza dough recipe?  I've had a craving and living in Boston I've only found a few close substitutes.  I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a shot at home to hold my over until my next trip home.  I know it's all about the dough, it needs to be thick and soft on the inside, a little crispy on the outside and most importantly it has to taste good. 

Thank you in advance!

LindyD's picture

He used to post here and it was quite entertaining.

Marty's picture

I believe Jeff is into NY pies, which I would not call Sicilian. Do you wany a thicker crust? What is specific about NY Sicilian? I suggest :

They have a whole section on Sicilian.

keebs45's picture

Thanks!  Jeff's recipe looks good, I like the addition of the potato.  Good sicilian has a nice thick crust that is crispy on the outside & soft in the middle. It's hard to explain, I'm pretty sure the NY pizza shops cook theirs in a pan.  Looks like the picture below (I wish I could find a better picture, google is letting me down)

breadman1015's picture

When I had a couple of NY Pizza places, I used the following formula:


                                     Sicillian Pizza Dough
                                            (3 pounds)

                                                                                             Baker’s %                
        27-1/2                oz        High-Gluten Flour                100
          3-1/4                oz.        Shortening                                12
             1/2                 oz.        Salt                                               2
             1/2                 oz.        Instant Yeast                              2
                 16               oz.        Water                                         58    
        47-3/4                oz.                                                          174

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook, combine the Water, Yeast, Salt, and Shortening at low speed. Add the Flour and mix to form a smooth, satiny dough, about 10 minutes. Turn-out onto a lightly-floured surface; form into a ball; and allow to bench rest for 20 minutes.

Oil a half sheet pan and stretch the dough ball to fit the pan, making sure it reaches into all corners. Brush the top of the stretched dough with Pizza Sauce Wash and allow to proof for 1 hour.

NOTE: Pizza Sauce Wash is generally 1 part Pizza Sauce to 2 parts water.


EricD's picture

Hi to all,

As you may notice, I'm completely new to this site. I just came across this thread, and it seemed like as good as any to jump into this seemingly great community of bread and pizza enthusiasts. I am by no means an expert, but I hope to be able to help.

For more recipes regarding Sicilian pizza, try a search for "pizza in teglia" or "pizza al talgio." Perhaps there are differences in the product, but from what I gather, this Italian product is what we Americans call Sicilian pizza.

Most of the best pizza in teglia is made either using lievito madre or a biga. These methods give that crunchy crust with a fluffy and delicious inside. If you use a biga, make the biga 50-60% of the final flour quantity.

You'll want a strong flour with high water absorption capabilities, so some Italian 00 flours could work as well as a manitoba. You can usually get this information from the mill's website.

You also want to let it first leaven for a couple hours in ball form before transfering it to the pan for it's final leavening.

All of the following percentages will relate to the total flour weight (i.e. 2.5% salt for would be 2.5 grams per 100 grams of flour)

100% strong flour (manitoba, Italian 00, et cetera)     1kg flour

65-85% water                                                                  650-850g water 

2.5% salt                                                                           25g salt

2.75% Extra Virgin Olive Oil                                           27.5g oil

1% Brewer's yeast                                                             10g brewer's yeast

o.2% powdered malt                                                        2g malt

The water variation depends on the type of flour you use, the product you desire, and the capabilities of your mixer. Make sure when you mix together, you add the flour first, then about 70% of the water, then salt, then yeast, then oil, gradually adding the rest of the water as you add the other ingredients. Salt and yeast never go together, as salt kills the bacteria in the yeast, and if you gradually add water to the flour, it has a slightly higher absorption capacity.

Since this is my first post, I suspect I may not have explained myself very well. Please feel free to criticize and/or ask questions.




thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Lievito madre and biga are two different things with different composition, right?

Lievito madre is a sourdough starter; biga is a yeasted preferment.

For the final dough, add 500/600 grams of biga? What's the formula for the biga?


For the final dough, add 500/600 grams of lievito madre? What's the formula/ratio for the lievito madre?


Also, why brewer's yeast for the final dough? Why not use instant or active dry yeast, which should work as well (and is easier to source).


Oh, and welcome!

EricD's picture

Lievito madre and biga are quite different, yes.

The relationship between lievito madre and sourdough is actually the reason I first stumbled upon this site. I only have theoretical knowledge of lievito madre; I've never worked with it. I also have zero experience with sourdough and baking in America in general. All of my experience is actually in Italy, so I also am rather ignorant regarding terminology in English. Best I can tell, lievito madre and sourdough are the same, but here in Italy some people cheat and call some other things lievito madre, and others use something which translates exactly to sourdough. In realty this Italian "sourdough" is simply old dough added to new dough. Long story short, I have yet to find confirmation as to lievito madre and sourdough.

Biga is a sort of yeasted first step in which you mix flour with 44% water and 1% yeast to a crude consistency (not mixed to the point that it becomes one mass) and is left to mature for 18 hours at 18 degrees celcius. There are other bigas which can be done with very strong flours at even 48 hours of maturation, although the second 24 hours is in the refrigerator. Biga for pizza is generally 18 hours. (ex. 100g flour, 44g water, 10g brewer's yeast)

I don't know the quantity or formula for lievito madre, but I know that it has multiple steps, and if you make it from the beginning, it generally takes 2 weeks to a month before it's ready for use.

For biga, the low end would be 30% of your final flour quantity and the high end would be about 60%. For Sicilian pizza I'd do 50-60%. For example, if you want to use 2 kg total of flour, use 1kg of biga. After 18hrs, or if you don't have a climate controlled area, depending on the temperature it could take more or less time to mature, you add it to your final mixture. To obtain the final mixture add the other kg of flour and about 75% of the remaining water. Be sure to always subtract the water used to make the biga (for 2kg of flour at 60% hydration I need 120g of water, minus the 44g used for the biga, I have 76g remaining) using a mixer or your hands. Also here you don't want to bring the dough to a singular mass, just mix enough to combine the water and flour. Let it rest 20 minutes. Then add the biga, and slowly add the rest of the water as you add the other ingredients. Generally you put salt first, then yeast, then oil at the end. The salt goes first because it helps with the absorption of water, yeast after because it creates heat and adding it first could cause you to heat the dough too much, and the oil last because it works to reinforce the "maglia glutinica" in Italian, which is the name for when the two types of gluten combine to form the structure which keeps the gas in released during the leavening of the dough.

Other types of yeast could work, but they work differently and thus require different percentages. I simply don't know them, because in Italy brewer's yeast is commonly found. I also personally like the fact that it's fresh and "alive." I've been told it's better to use it, but I honestly don't have a concrete reason other than, "because I say so."


Hope this helps and is clear enough. 

pmccool's picture

Thanks for the insights, EricD.  It's nice to hear from someone who is actually "on the ground", so to speak.

I did want to point out that in your example using 2kg of flour, 60% hydration would require 1200g of water, not 120g.  Knowing that might keep a neophyte from wondering why they couldn't get their flour wet.

Does a 44% hydration level produce a workable dough in the biga?  If so, the protein contents of the flours you have available must be much lower than those that I routinely use.  A 44% hydration with the flours I use would make soft crumbs that are too dry to cohere into a uniform dough.

Thanks again for the information.


EricD's picture

Sorry about the typo, it's absolutely 1200 grams of water.

A 44% hydration level should only produce crumbs. In fact, if you don't have a mixer which can turn the bowl in both backward and forward, it's usually better to mix it loosely with your hands. You want it to arrive to uniform crumbs, with no loose flour which hasn't mixed with any water. At this point, put it in a bowl or container tight enough that it fits snuggly, but deep enough that it can double in size. Cover the container either with a cover or saran wrap. Some say to put a moist towel on top before covering and others say to lightly oil the container before putting it in. I learned the biga without doing either and it comes out well, so I wouldn't worry about it, but that doesn't mean my way is always the best way. It should stay at 18 degrees celsius for 18 hours, some strong flours (ex manitoba) can even take 24. Practice will tell you when it's ready, but it is generally ready when it has become one mass, doubled in size, and developed that awesome, strong alcoholic bread smell. If the smell gets too strong and/or it gets really dark, it's too far ahead. Either way, it's usually usable unless it's just way too far ahead.

Regarding flour, with a biga you must use a strong flour, as weak flours aren't capable of producing a decent biga. The W, or strength of the flour should be over 250 minimum. Manitoba, for example, is often over W350. These are high protein flours.

Hope this helps. Let me know if any more clarifications are needed.