The romans used to eat a dish called placenta, a flat bread with cheese and honey on top, flavored with bay leaves. Much like some varieties of the Indian naan bread. Today, pizza is eaten all around the world, and its varieties are vast. The American style pizza recipe often refers to a pizza with a thick crust. In north of Europe, the thick pizza is often referred to as a “pan pizza”, even though cooking a pizza in a round pan is rather a “Chicago style” pizza, if you ask Americans.

When the Americans want a thin crust, they say “Italian style crust” or specify that they want a “thin crust”. However, the very thin crust on an “Italian style pizza”, isn’t really what you’ll get if you go to Naples and order a pizza from one of the many historical pizzerias. They’re often quite “puffy”. And if you go to a random pizzeria in Italy, you’ll often find squared slices, from a whole pizza made in a pan, “pizza al taglio”. A pan pizza, if you will. The most basic Italian variety, is the Margarita, topped with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil. It’s my favorite pizza recipe, but everyone has their own preferences.

If you ever go to Sweden, you’ll notice that the list of pizza names is very, very long. Hawaii, capriccios, and what not. The Marinara in Sweden, for some reason, is covered in shrimp and clam. In other words, far from what a marinara is in Italy; a bread flavored with sund dried tomatoes and olive oil. No cheese in the traditional pizza sense. A very common Swedish pizza is the “kebabpizza”, a pizza topped with döner kebab meat, and dairy based garlic dressing. It’s not as bad as it sounds, kind of like a flat döner kebab with cheese. What is as bad as it sounds, however, is the Swedish pizza with chicken, curry and banana on it.  You’ll find it in any random pizzeria in Sweden, often under the name “kycklingpizza“, which simply means “chicken pizza”.

Small pizzas

Let me quote Wikipedia: “A popular contemporary legend holds that the archetypal pizza, Pizza Margherita, was invented in 1889, when the Royal Palace of Capodimonte commissioned the Neapolitan pizzaiolo (pizza maker) Raffaele Esposito to create a pizza in honor of the visiting Queen Margherita. Of the three different pizzas he created, the Queen strongly preferred a pie swathed in the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), green (basil), and white (mozzarella). Supposedly, this kind of pizza was then named after the Queen as ‘Pizza Margherita’, although recent research casts doubt on this legend.

Legend or not, I’ve taken the best from all pizza recipes I’ve tried, and combined them into one. The dough is heavily inspired by the British cook Heston Blumenthal’s recipe, where he lets a pre-dough “over-leaven”, so that its growth capability is killed, but its flavor is full of yeasty tones, and an almost sour-dough like fragrance. This pre-dough is then combined with a fresh dough, that gives the pizza the chewiness and crunchiness we all expect, and that makes it rise in the oven. This pizza recipe can also be used as a base to make the delicious French pissaladière.

As for the tomato sauce, I use a anchovy or sardine paste. It’s a common ingredient in the Italian kitchen to enrich stews and sauces. It’s salty, and packed with umami flavors. Don’t worry, the tomato sauce won’t have a taste of fish. Just don’t put in too much.

Start with a finely ground wheat flour (called tipo 00 in Italy), and make sure it has a high protein count (12% is lovely).

You need to start working on this pizza recipe 48 hours before you plan to treat your friends with home made pizza. It yields about 8 small pizzas, or 4 medium ones.

Day 1, you’ll need

  • 120 g of flour (the “tipo 00” equivalent)
  • 70 g of cold water (100 grams per dl if you prefer volume, I just happen to weight stuff)
  • 1/2 tsp of malt syrup
  • 4 g of bread yeast (the dried kind)

Day 1 you’ll do this

  1. Mix flour, syrup, and water. In a large bowl. In case you wonder, the malt syrup is not only to quickly feed the yeast, it’s also there to give the pizza dough a rich flavor and scent. It has almost a sourdough tone. The reason I’m not using sourdough, is because I actually prefer the texture of a yeast based pizza dough. One can of course mix sour dough and yeast, but let’s save that one for another recipe.
  2. Run it in a kneading machine for 4 minutes (unless you have strong hands, in which case it will probably take you closer to 10 minutes).
  3. Leave the dough to rest for 15 minutes, or even longer than that. The osmosis (you know, the effect that makes water “climp” up flours and trees) will make sure the water spreads throughout the dough. It should be quite dry, tacky and elastic, if it’s not, let it rest for another another 5-15 minutes.
  4. Now add the dry yeast, and mix for another 4 minutes.
  5. The pre-dough is ready, and is now to rest in the refrigerator for 48 hours. The yeast fungus will multiply like crazy, and the lump will have a distinct and wonderfully yeasty smell to it, and that flavor is what we’ll be using for our main dough in two days from now.

Day 2 (well, actually 3) you’ll need

  • 350g of flour (the “tipo 00” equivalent)
  • 200g of cold water
  • 5 g of dry bread yeast
  • 1 tsp malt syrup
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 400 grams of canned tomato (I prefer the canned pulp, that’s what I’m using)
  • A dash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp of anchovy paste
  • 2 tbsp of concentrated tomato paste
  • 300 grams of fresh buffalo mozzarella

Day 2 of the pizza recipe, you’ll do this

  1. Mix flour, syrup, and water in a large bowl, just like day 1 but with other quantities.
  2. Run it in a kneading machine for 4 minutes (unless you have strong hands, in which case it will probably take you closer to 10 minutes).
  3. Leave the dough to rest for 15 minutes, or even longer than that.* It should be quite dry, tacky and elastic, if it’s not, let it rest for another another 5-15 minutes.
  4. Add the dry yeast, the salt, and the lump of dough from the day before yesterday. Mix it all for another 4 minutes.
  5. The wonderful pizza dough is ready. Make around 8 balls, and set aside to let them double in size. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
  6. Mince the garlic and fry it in olive oil.
  7. Add the tomato paste and the anchovy paste.**
  8. Add the sugar, we need some extra sweetness here. No salt, the anchovy paste is already salty.
  9. By now, the dough balls have probably doubled in size. It is time to roll them into flat round pizzas. You don’t need a rolling pin, use your hands!
  10. Heat the oven to its maximum (most commonly in household ovens, 250 degrees Celsius)
  11. Start with a thin layer of tomato sauce, rip some mozzarella on top of it, and shove the pizza onto a hot pan with a baking sheet in between. Not a cold pan, that will steal too much of the heat energy. We want to cook this wonderful food as quickly as possible, with heat from the bottom and top.
  12. After about 2 minutes, the crust has some color, the cheese is melted, and everything around just smells wonderful. Take the pizza out.
  13. Drizzle some good extra virgin olive oil on top of the pizza, top with some fresh basil leaves, and finish of with a tiny pinch of smoked salt. Smoked salt will give you hat hint of smokiness that you’d expect from a wood oven, but not everybody has those in their own kitchen.

Enjoy the pizza!

Recipe notes

* The osmosis (you know, the effect that makes flours and trees “suck up” water) will make sure the water spreads throughout the dough.

** Yes, the anchovy paste is important, it takes the sauce to a whole other level. It’s salty and packed with umami. Wonderful!

Pizza with fresh basil leaves Classical French onion pissaladière

78 Responses

  1. Bob

    Hey food emperor, wonderful recipe! I think you might have forgotten to include the amount of yeast in the list of ingredients for Day 2…

    • The Food Emperor

      Thank you, Bob! You are very observant, thank you. I’ve now corrected it. Let me know how the pizza turns out!

  2. Bob

    Hi Food Emperor,

    the pizza was delicious! Even if I only waited for 24 hours… I’ll try 48 next time. Cheers!

    • The Food Emperor

      24 is good enough! I often cheat when I need it for the day after. It’s hard to plan for 48 hours, when you love pizza! 🙂

  3. krzyś

    Maybe you know what is ‘tipo 00’ equivalent in Poland?
    Czy jest to mąka drobniejsza czy grubsza?

    greeting emperor!

    • The Food Emperor

      Naj drobniejsza! The finest you can find. Tipo 00 is an extremely fine grind.

      • Dżeku

        W Polsce to jest mąka 450! Tak się nazywa.
        PS: Ja pierdolę, jakie to jest dobre!

      • Lilly Lill

        Just to let you know – recently I saw 00 flour in shop – it was Kaufland in quite small town in Poland, so try to look around in some super/hypermarkets, maybe you’ll find this too 🙂

    • Mariusz Michalik

      w Polsce nie ma odpowiednika mąki typu 00 – najlepiej zamówić przez neta lub poszukać gdzieś w delikatesach – bardzo ciężko dostać oryginalną włoską mąkę do pizzy tzw “farina tipo 00”

      • Robert

        Jest mąka typ 400 i ta wydaje się być najbardziej zbliżonym odpowiednikiem. There is type 400 flour, very similar to the Italian one

  4. Radek

    Nie wiem co źle robię, ale ciasto jak wyrabiam jest klejące do rąk. Używam tutaj zwykłej mąki typ 450 czy 500 bo nie mogę dostać 00

  5. Radek

    Dziękuje. Udało mi się dostać mąkę typ 00 za 10 zł. Więc zobaczymy teraz jak wyjdzie z tych samych proporcji. A obroty w robocie kuchennym muszą być wolne , czy szybki zaszkodzą podczas ugniatania ciasta ?

    • The Food Emperor

      Nie uszkodzi ciasta ale może uszkodzić robota. Tylko jest ważne żeby te ciasto odpoczywało. I pamiętaj, że nawet ten sam rodzaj mąki czasami może różnić się. Możesz być uważny z wodom. Ciasto nie powinno być bardzo mokre.

      • Mariusz Michalik

        00 jest drobniejsza niż 450 – ciężko ją dostać w Polsce trzeba poszukać na w sklepach internetowych, lub w jakiś delikatesach

  6. Martina

    Where I live it’s hard to find malt syrup, so I was wondering: have you ever tried replacing it with honey? Do you think it could work?

    • The Food Emperor

      Hi Martina! For the yeast process, any sugars will do. As a matter of fact, simply the flour will be enough for the yeast fungus to grow. The malt syrup isn’t so much there to “work” (if we’re talking making the bread grow) but rather there for the flavor. It really enhances it. If you can’t find any, your dough will still be amazing because the two step process of “fermenting the dough” really does a lot already. Add some honey, you’ll be fine!

      • The Food Emperor

        The licorice flavor of molasses isn’t really something I’d recommend for the pizza bread. The malt syrup gives a nice malty flavor to it. If you don’t have that, just use any neutral syrup or sugar instead.

  7. assistente42

    The first dough has been resting in my fridge since yesterday. But I am a “balena con scarpe” and I’m eager to eat it as soon as possible!

  8. Rafał

    Why you don’t add olive to the dough? I used to do it, but I’ve tried your recipe and now I’m kinda confused, cause it’s awesome, but the question is “to add, or not to add olive oil to the dough”?

  9. darkfagio

    Hail Emperor!
    I’m trying to follow your recipe, but there is an ambiguity in phase 1: in the video you add salt, but the recipe doesn’t mention it at all. I’ll add salt in phase 2, hoping it will be fine, but if you could tell us which version is better you’ll do us a favor (i.e., as far as I know it’s not advisable to mix together salt and yeast because salt hiders the fermentation process).
    Greetings from a “porco schifoso italiano”!

    • The Food Emperor

      That’s a good observation. I’ll modify the instructions to address it. As an answer to your questions: I haven’t noticed any difference in the final result based on on when you add the salt. I add it in phase 1. My hypothesis is that any effect the salt may have on the yeast spores, is countered by the fact that they’re multiplying for 48 hours and have plenty of time to do their job even if they’re slowed downed by the salt. I don’t think you’ll have any problems with adding it in phase 2 instead, though. Let me know how it goes!

      • darkfagio

        I’m not a good pizza chef, as I use to roll the dough too much and end up with thin pizzas 🙁 but with your recipe the pizzas came out more edible than the other attempts!
        About the salt, I found out that the dough balls grew decently in size, so I can confirm that, most probably, adding salt in phase 1 or 2 doesn’t really matter as long as one does not add it twice.
        I’m Italian and I approve! (even if I’ll try to make the whole dough wait for 24 – 48 hours next time, we’ll see 😉 )

  10. Diego

    “Vada a bordo, cazzo”! Sei un grande Empreror, pisci in testa a Ramsay! 😀

  11. marek

    Jak zrobić pizze na zakwasie bez drożdży ?
    Można szybki przepis bez sosu?

  12. Vittorio

    Hej, a ten malt syrup (syrop słodowy) to może być chyba zrobiony z kilku różnych rzeczy np. jęczmienia, orkiszu lun kukurydzy. Który jest najlepszy ?

  13. Vittorio

    Czy mógłbyś podać drogi Foodemperorze jakiś przepis na Twój ulubiony sos do pizzy ?

  14. Vittorio

    Nie chodzi mi o ten sos pomidorowy, który jest na cieście tylko taki w którym maczasz kawałki gotowej pizzy jak jesteś w restauracji np. sos czosnkowy. Co do syropu słodowego (malt syrup) to z czego jest zrobiony też ma chyba znaczenie. Podobno jak jest z kukurydzy to ma tłuszcze o wiązaniach chemicznych w konfiguracji trans i od tego można być jak to mówisz grubym i paskudnym. Wydaje mi się, że najlepszy to jest z jęczmienia i Ty chyba taki masz. A tak apropos jakie wino byś serwował z pizzą ? Z góry dzięki za pomoc drogi Foodemperorze.

    • The Food Emperor

      Biały sos? Włoży nie jedzą tego. Ale bym muk napisać jakiż przepys. Wino? Jakieś czerwone które nie jest za “ciężke”. Np. Briccotondo Barbera.

  15. Livia

    It’s impossible to buy anchovy paste in Poland. You said there are no good substitutes, but how about: (a) anchovy fillets in oil (b) Thai nam pla (c) soy sauce?

    • The Food Emperor

      It’s an exaggeration that there are no substitutes. There are several types of fish based sauces that give great umami flavors to your dishes. Your examples are great, and I might even quote you. I would go for Thai nam pla sauce. It’s very salt (as you probably know) so be careful with adding addition salt to the sauce. Also, nan pla is very overwhelming so a couple of splashes is enough for the quantity of sauce in the video.

      • Livia

        Excellent, thank you 🙂 Nam pla has the advantage of being available in every Polish supermarket. I learned how well nam pla works in many, also non-Thai dishes, from recipes of great Japanese chef 行正り香 (who is also a big fan of Italian cuisine).

  16. Templar

    Czy mozna kurwa zamienić sos słodowy na miód oraz anchvy na pastę z łososia?
    Can I change malt sauce on honey and pasta wiht fucking salamon?

    • The Food Emperor

      Pasta with salmon? Sure you can. As for honey, it will give a different texture and different flavor. But sure you can, food is about inventing!

  17. Vittorio

    Foodemperorze, w większości twoich przepisów z ciastami potrzebny jest ten malt syrup. Czy ten, którego używasz dokładnie to Gerstemoutstroop holenderskiej firmy Horizon albo inaczej po polsku syrop jęczmienny tejże firmy? Z góry dzięki za pomoc

    • The Food Emperor

      Ja kupiłem w takim sklepie “nature food”. Gerstemout to chyba “barley” po angielsku. I z tego się robi “malt”. To chyba to. Kup!

  18. Vittorio

    Foodemperor, most of Your recipe with cake need malt syrup. Do you use Gerstemoutstroop from Dutch company Horizon ? Thanks in advance for your help.

  19. Paweł 2'nd

    Kurwa, jaka zajebista pizza. Thanks a lot. Czekam na kolejne przepisy. Jesteś kozak, a debilami to są Ci co cały czas wszystko hejtują, a sami nic nie potrafią. Pozdrowienia.

  20. Lilly Lill

    As I like to make experiments in kitchen (too ;)) I added some wholegrain flour instead of part of the “regular” one, fresh yeast and honey (because I had them at home) and the dough is still perfect. I have never made so great pizza dough, which can be thin and soft at the same time. It was great as your marghrita, but when added some more toppings (onion, mushrooms, paprika) it was very good too.
    Tack sa mycket for this recipe 🙂

  21. Kacper

    Hello Food Emperor!
    I’ve got a question to you. Could you write me components in tbsp, tsp, cup or milliliters?
    I don’t have a scale (well I’ve got but not kitchen scale). Thank you in advance 🙂

    • Kacper

      I forgot to write 😀 So I can’t weight flour or yeast and in fact I can’t do your pizza! 🙁

      • Bolo

        Może jeszcze dostawę do domu Jaśniepan sobie życzy?

  22. Aleksandra

    It’s the best pizza dough recipe I’ve ever tried. Thank u so much for sharing:)

  23. Paweł

    można zamiast syropu słodowego dać ekstrakt słodowy do piwa ?

  24. Moteke

    Hi, where can i buy anchovy paste in Poland? Maybe you know, but i was looking for it and i can’t find it.