Chez Panisse Pizza Dough

May  8, 2020
4 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 4 hours
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes two 10-inch pizza, but scales up well
Author Notes

This recipe is essentially the one made daily at Chez Panisse, although this version will make enough dough for only two pizzas (the one used in the kitchen at the restaurant will make enough for an evening’s worth of service). If you need dough for more, it’s very easily doubled or tripled. One of the secrets to making really delicious pizzas is the garlic oil mentioned above; whatever pizza topping you decide on, it will make the final product that much more delicious and savory. To make the garlic oil, very finely mince a clove or two of garlic, place it in a bowl, and add a couple of big glugs of extra virgin olive oil to completely cover it. It should be liquid enough to easily brush or spoon onto a pizza when the time comes.

When I’m making pizza at home, I like to keep the toppings simple: for example, a tomato sauce (made by puréeing and reducing on the stove top a couple of handfuls of very ripe summer tomatoes) with just a scattering of fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves sprinkled over the top when it’s just out of the oven. That said, homemade pizza should always be a free-for-all in my opinion. I often just prepare loads of different vegetables (onions, summer squash, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and so forth, all cut very thinly or quite small), some cheeses, and the very essential garlic oil, and let people apply their own combinations.

For more stories, memories, and extended histories behind your most-loved, treasured family recipes from the column, check out our new podcast My Family Recipe.Fanny Singer

What You'll Need
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/4 cup rye flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt (like table salt or fine sea salt)
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. First you’ll need to make the sponge by dissolving 2 teaspoons of dry yeast in 1⁄2 cup of lukewarm water and then adding a combination of 1⁄4 cup of the unbleached white flour and 1⁄4 cup of rye flour.
  2. Allow the sponge to sit until it becomes quite bubbly, about 30 minutes.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the 3 1⁄4 remaining cups of unbleached white flour and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir this into the sponge, along with 1⁄4 cup of cold water and 1⁄4 cup of olive oil.
  4. Put the dough in a large bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. For a more complexly flavored and supple dough, you can let it rise overnight in the refrigerator. (If you do this, though, remove the dough from the refrigerator two hours before shaping, as the cold arrests the rising process.)
  5. When doubled in size, gently remove the dough from the bowl and divide it in two, forming each piece into a smooth ball. Wrap each one loosely in plastic and let rest at room temperature for an hour or so.
  6. Flatten each ball into a disc about 5 to 6 inches in diameter, flour lightly, cover with a dish towel, and let rest for another 15 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 500°F, and gently stretch one of the disks into a 10-inch round. Place on a floured peel or an inverted baking sheet.
  8. Brush the dough with the garlic olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and, leaving a 1⁄2-inch border uncovered. Top with your choice of ingredients.
  9. When the pizza is ready to go into the oven, slide it onto a baking stone (or keep it on the inverted baking sheet) and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is browned.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • boulangere
  • Ariel O'Donnell
    Ariel O'Donnell
  • Arati Menon
    Arati Menon
  • Liliocha

10 Reviews

Liliocha May 8, 2023
This recipe is not correct check recipe page 51 in chez panisse cafe cookbook
boulangere April 21, 2022
If only I could give this 0 stars. Editors: how to remove a recipe from a Saved file?
boulangere April 21, 2022
This is the worst pizza dough ever. The water:flour ratio looked wrong jus from reading the recipe, but it had Fanny Singer’s name on it, so I gave it a go. Then I tossed it in the trash. Not worth baking or even trying to trouble-shoot.
Ariel O. July 14, 2020
This recipe needs to be fixed. Totally wrong. I think it's missing a paragraph, or something.
Joan Y. September 20, 2020
I started making this recipe before reading your comments and had the same problem. There is definitely a mistake in the recipe. i Googled it and found the correct recipe on Epicurious. In step number 3 you should add 3/4 cup of cold water, not 1/4 cup. Please correct the recipe.
Jeremy W. May 22, 2020
I'm confused... this recipe calls for a total of only 1 cup of wet ingredients, and nearly 4 cups of dry ingredients. I tried this recipe and it didn't turn out... I don't understand how that ratio of wet/dry ingredients would result in dough. I'm probably missing something... Can you help please?!?
Kevin June 26, 2020
Same here. Dough barely came together after a fair bit of kneading. Let it rise twice, rolled it out and it was very stiff. Didn't puff at all in the oven, and had a thick cracker-like crust, dense and dry. So whatever you did Jeremy, I did too.
Jodi M. May 9, 2020
The recipe ingredients list shows 3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour (in addition to the first 1/4 cup) but the instructions say to add in 3 1/4 cups when the time comes to mix it. Can you please clarify? Thank you.
Megan May 10, 2020
To me, it looks like the first 1/4 cup goes into the sponge, then the 3 1/4 comes later-- not sure if that's what you were asking, so sorry if not!
Arati M. May 11, 2020
Yes, exactly. It's 31/2 in total, with the first 1/4 cup going into the sponge.