This Overnight Pizza Dough is the best! It’s super simple to make and is packed with tons of flavor! You will never want store-bought pizza dough again! 😉
This has been a recipe in the making for a while now, and I couldn’t be more excited to share this amazing pizza dough with you! It requires 30 minutes of your time on night one while the remainder of the time is left untouched (rising & fermenting). The next day, you will need to make the final dough with the pre-ferment and more water, flour, and salt. Let the dough rise for a few more hours before using. By the time you are ready to make dinner, this dough will be ready for pizza night.
When we moved to Bloomsburg, PA, a few years ago for Jake’s fellowship training, it wasn’t easy to find a decent and healthy pizza for our Friday movie-nights-in. That’s when I went on a mission to find the best pizza dough possible that could feel like we were “eating out or ordering in.”
I knew I wanted a flavorful pizza dough with tons of texture and micro-bubbles… So, after doing some research, making a poolish dough seemed like the easiest route. Poolish means the dough is a pre-ferment consisting of only yeast, flour, and water, which is then added to the final dough (salt and more flour and water). While it does take about a day n a half to make the final pizza dough, it’s totally worth it.
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Tips on making Poolish – the overnight pizza dough:
Make the poolish pre-ferment the night before by allowing it to ferment untouched for 12 to 14-hours. If you will be home all day, I would aim to make the poolish around 8-9 PM. If you aren’t around during the day, I recommend making the poolish around 5-5 PM. The reasoning behind this is fermentation. If the dough ferments (rests) too long, the final product will have an excess of alcohol-flavor, an overdeveloped flavor. If the dough does not ferment (rests) long enough, the sweet flavors won’t fully develop. Therefore, fermenting time is key. A good pizza is when you eat the crust. If you ever found yourself eating everything but the crust, then it’s most likely, the dough did not have enough flavor, or the flavor was not delightful.
Store poolish in the microwave with the light on underneath. This keeps the dough warm while it ferments (rests). The temperature of the dough plays an important role when the dough is rising and developing its flavors. It also encourages rapid reproduction of yeast (sugar in / gas out) and a quicker fermentation process.
Use about 1/8 tsp of yeast. Why? Even though you are using several cups of flour, the small amount of yeast used during the fermentation process = a more complex flavor of the final dough. Unlike cinnamon rolls that require tablespoons of yeast, the fermentation/rising process is shorter than poolish. That’s why you require more yeast when making cinnamon rolls.
Fold the dough together by hand. Do Not Use a Mixer. Once you mix with a spatula to combine, start using your hands to fold the dough. This allows you to control the flavor. If you a stand mixer with the bread attachment, the dough folds more rapidly, resulting in a dense dough. Fold the dough by grabbing underneath the dough, pulling it, and then folding it on top. Work in a circle by folding the dough.
Do not add more flour if your dough seems “too wet.” This is key. It increases the flavor profile of the final product. Trust me. Yes, it’s harder to mix the dough, but the trick is to make your hands wet, so the dough does not stick to your hands when folding. When I first started experimenting, I made a wet dough and a dry dough. It’s tempting to add more flour, but don’t waste your flour for the pre-ferment. Leave the dough on the wet side. Continue to fold for about 10 minutes, and the batter turns into a sticky wet dough. It almost resembles cake batter.
One final rise is a must after you divide into 2 dough balls. Once the final dough has rested for about 6 hours, you will need to flour the surface, fold the dough one and then cut it in the center to make it even. Fold both dough balls once and place them on the baking sheet for one last rise (30 minutes).
Do not knead the final dough before making pizza! This is so important. I learned this the first time I made dough. I kneaded it before I started rolling the dough. The dough becomes dense and doesn’t stretch. If you knead it, the gluten structure will be destroyed, and you will lose the gas (aka, you won’t have those beautiful pizza bubbles). If you accidentally knead the dough and aren’t able to shape it, I recommend folding the dough once, placing it on a baking sheet on the top of the preheating stove, and rest for another 30 minutes.
Refrigerate the final dough before using (not required, but I recommend it). After you divided the dough into 2 balls and allow them to rise for 30 minutes, I recommend adding them to plastic bags and refrigerating them for about 12 hours (max 24 hours). Why? Because cold fermentation yields a more complex flavor and aftertaste. If you make this dough, use 1 of the dough balls and store the other in the fridge for 2 days before freezing. That way, when you’re ready to make pizza again, you already have vibrant pizza dough ready.
I spent months perfecting this overnight pizza dough: finding the right amount of flour, water, yeast, and salt. This recipe makes 2 medium pizzas or 1 large pizza – take your pick! If you prefer to make 1 medium pizza (8 slices), the remaining dough can be bagged up and put in the fridge for up to 24 hours and then into the freezer for up to 1 month.
You will be AMAZED and will truly enjoy making pizza at home. Friends and family also are obsessed with how good the overnight pizza dough tastes after it’s baked to perfection. 100% enjoyable, so I hope you are inspired to make homemade pizza with this pizza dough!
Warm 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of water in the microwave to a temperature of 80°F.
Add a scant of 1/8 teaspoon of yeast to the warmed water and let sit for a few seconds.
Add 2 cups of flour to a bowl, and then add the water with the yeast.
Mix with a spatula to combine, then mix by hand until fully incorporated.
Place a kitchen towel on top of the bowl covering the mixture, and place the bowl in the microwave with the light on underneath. Leave untouched for about 12-14 hours.
Make the Final Dough:
Take the Poolish out of the microwave to confirm it’s ready. You will know because there should be bubbles on top (see the top picture in the blog post).
Warm 1/2 cup of water in the microwave to a temperature of 80°F.
Add 2 cups of flour, 2 and 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and the warmed water to the poolish. Wet your hand and mix everything. You may need to wet your hand a few more times.
Once mixed, start folding the dough to combine all the ingredients. You will need to fold for about 5 minutes to get a nice soft dough. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fold the dough again by working in a circle. Once done, add one more tablespoon of olive oil and smooth it on top.
Place a kitchen towel on top of the bowl and place it in the microwave with the light underneath. Leave untouched for about 6 hours, or until you see the dough has doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 2 balls:
Flour your surface and gently ease the dough out of the bowl. Dust the top of the dough and cut into two equal-size pieces with a dough scraper or knife.
Flour each piece and fold one time around.
Flour a baking sheet and place both pieces on top, and cover with a kitchen towel.
Preheat the oven to the highest temperature it can go, anywhere from 500 to 550°F.
Place the baking sheet on top of the stove while the oven preheats. Let the dough rest for about 30-minutes before using. (If the dough sits longer than 30 minutes, the dough will start to get crusty on top, so set a timer if not using right away).
The dough balls should have doubled in size. Use right away by rolling the dough flat, or put them in zip lock bags and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. After 24 hours, use the pizza dough or store it in the freezer for up to 1 month.