This recipe uses an Old World method of incorporating 'old dough', basically leftover bread dough, as a flavor-enhancing ingredient. It will make enough dough for ten individual-sized pizzas or calzones. Any unused dough can be stored in the freezer.
2 1/2 cups water - divided use
1 (0.25-ounce) packet active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons
3/4 cup old dough*
6 cups all-purpose flour - divided use
1 teaspoon malt extract
4 teaspoons sea salt - divided use
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- Sprinkle yeast over 1 cup of warm water (105°F to 115°F | 40°C to 45°C); let sit until foamy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix old dough* with 1 cup of cool water and 4 or 5 handfuls of flour, stirring until you have a pasty mixture. Dissolve malt extract in yeast mixture and add this to old dough mixture; stir until well combined.
- Place half of the rest of the flour (about 2 1/2 cups) and half the salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add half of the old dough/yeast mixture. Pulse the processor to combine ingredients, then slowly add half of the remaining water (1/4 cup) through the feed tube while the processor is running. Process the mixture for between 30 seconds and 1 minute. The dough should be wet and sticky. In the last 10 seconds of processing, pour half of the olive oil through the feed tube. Empty the dough into a large bowl and combine remainder of the ingredients in the food processor to make a dough in the same way. Combine both batches in the bowl by mixing them together with a wooden spoon or plastic dough scraper. Let the dough rise, covered, in a warm place for 1 hour.
- The dough will still be very wet, so sprinkle plenty of flour over it and remove it from bowl, turning it out onto a well-floured surface. Divide into 10 pieces about the size of tangerines (each will weigh about 4 to 5 ounces) for individual pizzas or calzone. Round the dough up into tight little balls. Cover the balls with plastic wrap and let them rise a second time for between 3 to 5 hours.
- About 1 hour before assembling, preheat oven to 475°F (245°C); if using a pizza stone, place in oven to preheat.
- When ready the dough balls will be very puffy but, because they are so moist, will be somewhat flat. Flatten each piece of dough with the palm of your hand. With your fingertips, poke dough in the middle, leaving a 1/2-inch strip around the edge untouched, and making sure you do not poke through the dough. Lift the piece up, place it on the curled-up knuckles of both hands and gently stretch, while rotating the piece. The result will be a flat disk that measures 1/8-inch thick and 6 or 7-inches in diameter.
- Cover with your favorite sauce and toppings and bake in oven or on baking stone for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is golden and crisp and toppings are hot and bubbly.
Makes 10 individual pizzas.
*Old dough is basically leftover, unbaked bread dough (usually held in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, or 6 to 8 hours at room temperature) that's used to enhance the flavor of other bread. Decrease the amount of salt you add in this recipe if the old dough contains salt.