Every generation of my family has their own variation on our classic pan pizza recipe. This is mine— a fluffy, light pizza dough that can be enjoyed on its own as focaccia or finished with your favourite toppings. I love starting this dough at night—it only takes 30 minutes for it to come together—and baking it fresh for lunch in the morning.
My Nonna makes jarred diced tomatoes every summer in her garage—they're seasoned with fresh parsley and basil, and a bit of garlic—which I prefer to use, but a can of diced tomatoes works just fine in a pinch. Opt for one with Italian spices or add your own.
The toppings are entirely up to you. Pictured is a zucchini, white onion, and kalamata olive pizza, and provolone and parmesan pizza with pesto, but I also love the combination of fresh spinach, cremini mushrooms, red onion and black olives. —Elspeth Chalmers
- Prep time 14 hours
- Cook time 25 minutes
- Serves 10
- The dough
3 1/3 cups
lukewarm water (800 g)
instant or dry active yeast
3 1/4 teaspoons
honey (20 g)
7 1/3 cups
unbleached all-purpose flour (1060 g)
2 1/2 tablespoons
Diamond Crystal kosher salt (24 g) [If using any other type of salt, use half the amounts recommended]
extra-virgin olive oil (67 g), plus more for greasing the pan and coating the dough for proofing
- The toppings
diced tomatoes, jarred or canned
desired toppings, such as olives, spinach, mushrooms, onions
- The dough
- If you're using active dry yeast, you'll first need to activate it. Fill a large bowl with lukewarm. Add the honey and yeast to the bowl and mix. Set aside, uncovered, in a warm dry place for 5 or 10 minutes or until the yeast becomes active. The mixture will rise and the surface will form a dome. If this does not happen, your yeast has died. You'll need to get some fresh yeast before moving forward!
- In the meantime, take out two large mixing bowls (about 4 qt each). Measure out half of the dry ingredients in each bowl (flour, salt, and instant yeast if you're using it). Mix the dry ingredients just until combined. Set aside one of the bowls.
- In the other bowl, make a well in the centre. If you're using active dry yeast, mix the mixture before adding half of it to this well. If you're using the instant yeast, simply add half of the lukewarm water to the bowl, then add the honey. Be sure to add the honey to the water in the well of your dry ingredients.
- Add half of the olive oil into the well with the water and honey. Begin stirring the wet ingredients with a silicone spatula or your hands, slowly pulling in the dry ingredients as you go.
- Continue mixing the dough until there are no dry spots left. Then, scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto your counter or flat surface. Form the dough into a rough ball. Add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil to the bowl and return your dough ball, rolling it in the bowl to coat the entire thing in olive oil. This will keep it from sticking and from forming a skin while it proofs. Cover the bowl with a warm, damp dish towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, dry place.
- Repeat steps 3–5 again with the other half of your ingredients. Then, leave both bowls for 12–14h to rise. The dough should about double in size.
- Once your dough has risen, grease two half sheet pans with about 1 tbsp of olive oil each. Gently scrape the each bowl of dough into a pan.
- Using the front side of the tips of your fingers, dimple the dough and gently stretch it to the edges of the pan, being careful not to tear the down or flatten it completely. It won't reach all the edges (in fact, it may not reach any!) and that's perfectly alright.
- Let the pans sit, covered with a warm damp cloth or plastic wrap, for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Repeat Step 8 and let the dough sit for another 30 minutes.
- Dimple and stretch the dough once more before moving on to the toppings.
- The toppings
- Spread about half the tomatoes on each pizza dough. The watery juices are just as important as the tomatoes here—they'll cook down as the pizza bakes.
- Start with larger toppings—like spinach or zucchini rounds—then grate your mozzarella over the pizza. Add more or less to your liking. Then, add your smaller toppings—like olives. Finish with bit of parmigiano grated across the entire pizza and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Be sure to get oil on that crust!
- Bake the pizza for 25 to 35 minutes. The crust will get a deep golden colour (even a bit of browning) when its ready. Once baked, give the pizzas another drizzle of olive oil (especially the crust!) while they're still hot. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before serving.