- Sponge: Up to 48 hours in advance
- 1st rise: 1½ to 6 hours
- Dough Resting Time: 10 minutes
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1½ cups warm water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1½ cups flour
- 2½ to 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for bowl
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
Pans and Parchment Paper:
- Two 16-inch pizza pans
- Parchment Paper (or instead of parchment paper bake directly on a pizza stone)
In a large bowl dissolve yeast in 1½ cups warm water.
- Add 1½ cups flour and ¼ cup olive oil to the bowl. With a spatula, stir for 1 minute. Batter will have the consistency of soft pudding.
- This is your sponge.
- Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let it rest in a warm place, free from drafts, overnight or up to 2 days. The longer the sponge ferments, the better the flavor of the pizza dough.
- Transfer the sponge to a work bowl.
- Add salt and 2 cups of flour to the work bowl.
- Using an electric mixer or the paddle attachment for a stand mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Remove mixer or paddle attachments from bowl.
- Insert a dough hook into the stand mixer.
- Mix in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that is smooth and elastic.
- Wash and dry the bowl the sponge was in.
- Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into the bottom of the bowl.
- Place the dough in the bowl.
- Move the dough around to make sure that oil covers the entire surface of the bowl.
- Turn the dough over so that the entire dough ball is oiled.
- Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise on the kitchen counter for 1½ hours. NOTE: You can make the dough in the morning and let it rise for up to 8 hours.
- Tear off 2 sheets of parchment paper. Each one should be approximately 20-inches long.
- Place each piece of parchment paper on a separate work surface.
- Lightly dust the parchment paper with cornmeal.
- Punch down the dough.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Split the dough into two equal halves and form into round balls.
- Place each ball of dough directly in the center of the prepared pieces of parchment paper.
- If you are using a baking stone place the dough directly on a floured pizza peel, press out into a 14-inch round, and assemble as directed below.
- Beginning in the center of each dough ball use the palm of your hand to gently press each ball into a 14-inch round.
- Get out two 16-inch pizza pans.
- Slide each pizza pan under the parchment paper so that both the paper and the round end up on the pizza pan.
- Assemble and bake pizza as directed.
Recipe from Baking With Julia, by Dorie Greenspan. New York: William Morrow (1996).