72 Hour Pizza Dough

After hearing about this method for making pizza dough for a while now, I’m jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve been teaching a lot of pizza classes lately, and always use my tried and true recipe for weeknight pizza. It’s approachable and easy, so it’s a great one for starting out my students with. It makes two 12″ pizzas, which are slightly thicker crust than a traditional pizza napoletana, which has a very thin crust. We’ll see what the rents think of this new method, which will produce a thinner pizza crust, but is rumored to have a fantastic flavor from the fermenting of the dough. I did a few google searches and watched some videos, and am mostly using Jim Lahey’s no-knead method, but instead of cooking it after 24 hours, I’m combining it with the Baking Steel method and letting it ferment for another 48 (or more) hours in the fridge. I’m excited to taste the results!

The key is to measure the ingredients with a scale, to make sure you’re getting the right hydration ratio. This part took about 5 minutes. My dough is now resting on the counter, covered in plastic, waiting to double in size. After that, it will get portioned out and put in the fridge to further develop until we’re ready to eat it on Saturday.

After mixing up the dough, and resisting the urge to knead it (this is a no-knead dough recipe, after all), I covered it and let it sit on the counter for about 22 hours. The recipe says 12-24, depending on how warm your kitchen is. It’s been chilly these days, so I gave it almost the full 24 hours. At that point, it looked like it had just about doubled, and was looking very nice and bubbly. The next step is to simply divide it up into 4 equal pieces. I used my handy scale again, since I’m a little OCD, and weighed out 4 pieces that were 7 1/2 ounces each. I was a little worried that this dough would be difficult to handle, since it is so much wetter than what I’m used to. I used plenty of flour on the bench, and it was actually much easier than I expected! I shaped each piece into a nice little ball, and then placed those into plastic containers, and into the fridge they went.

Fast forward to Saturday. Ok, I confess, I had been peeking at these dough balls in the fridge every day. So excited to watch them ferment! After 3 days it was the moment of truth. I pulled the dough out of the fridge and placed each dough ball on a floured sheet pan, then let them rise covered for another couple of hours. I prepared all of my toppings and put a cast iron pan in the oven at 550°F for an hour. I was going to do 2 at a time, so I varied a bit from Jim Lahey and the Baking Steel recipes – they have you place the pizza in the oven, and then turn on the broiler and cook for 5 minutes. I left my oven at 550 because I was going to use 2 pans on 2 racks…. But I ended up only using one, so next time I will try the broiling method. Even so, this turned out great!

The dough was super easy to stretch out on my pizza piel (no, I didn’t twirl it in the air). It was super stretchy and pliable, but didn’t tear. I topped one with tomato sauce (homemade of course), mozzarella, anchovies for Father, kalamata olives, and prosciutto. I just love the way prosciutto on a pizza crisps in the oven. The other pizza had tomato sauce on a little more than half – the other half had a mixture of goat cheese and sour cream. The goat cheese half was topped with kalamata olives and caramelized onions. The other was topped with the onions, mozzarella, olives, and some sausage. A little something for everyone!

The final verdict: everyone loved this pizza! Even Father ?. We only used two of the four dough balls, so I froze the other two. Will be interesting to see how they hold up. A google search says that they do, and they don’t, so depending on who I listen to…. well, I will report back with my findings. I’m also planning to test one out with dividing the dough into just 2 pieces, for a slightly thicker crust. We’ll see… so many food experiments to try!

72 hour pizza
The final result – delicious!
Print Recipe
4.50 from 4 votes

72 Hour Pizza

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Resting time3 days
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 pizzas


  • 500 grams All Purpose Flour Plus more for shaping dough
  • 1 gram Active Dry Yeast
  • 15 grams Fine Sea Salt
  • 350 grams Water


  • In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon or your hands, mix thoroughly.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature (about 72°F) for 12-24 hours or until it has more than doubled.
  • Generously flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shape them into balls by very gently folding in half, then in half again and again for a total of about 10 folds, then into a round. Turn seam side down and place into lightly oiled plastic deli containers. Place in the fridge for at least 48 hours, and up to 72 hours.
  • Remove from fridge and place each dough ball on a floured surface (a sheet pan makes them easy to move around if needed). Place a clean kitchen towel on top and allow to rest for 2-3 hours.
  • Place a pizza stone, steel, or cast iron pan on an oven rack 8" from the broiler and heat to 550°F, or as high as it will go. Heat for one hour while you prepare your toppings.
  • Sprinkle a pizza piel with a light dusting of semolina.
  • Shape dough into a circle by stretching over your knuckles. You want it to be slightly larger than your final pizza, as it will spring back slightly. Place onto prepared pizza piel, stretching out slightly into a circle if needed. Add your toppings (keep toppings to a minimum so you don't weigh the pizza down).
  • Shake the piel back and forth a little to make sure the pizza is not stuck. If it sticks at all, gently lift one side and sprinkle more semolina underneath. Gently, but swiftly slide the pizza onto your stone, steel, or cast iron pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown. (Jim Lahey's instructions say to turn on the broiler once you put the pizza in the oven.)
  • Remove from oven using the pizza piel. Let cool slightly before cutting into 8 slices. 

One Comment

  1. Pizza is my favorite thing to cook with the kids. It is one food that their “help” can actually be help. You can’t really screw up putting toppings on, and they love to customize their own little pizzas.

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