Pizza with high hydration dough (80%)

For a long time I wanted to try pizza with a highly hydrated dough (80%, i.e. 800 ml of water on a kg of flour, to be clear). It really looks like a lot of water, you could imagine a super sticky dough, difficult to manage, instead it is extremely simple and the results are exceptional. The whole process may seem cumbersome, but with a little attention it is really easy to get an excellent pizza.

Ingredients 

The poolish
210 ml water (room temperature)
210 g Manitoba flour (high protein bread flour)
1 g fresh yeast

The dough
The poolish prepared the day before
140 g Manitoba flour (high protein bread flour)
70 ml water (room temperature)
3 g malted barley flour
10 g salt

Process

At 5:00 pm start with the poolish; it is trivially a batter composed of water and flour in equal parts (100% hydration) with the addition of a small amount of brewer’s yeast.
Mix the ingredients in a bowl, without kneading for a long time, just to obtain a soft batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until the next morning.

In the morning, at around 8:00, put the flour and the malt in the bowl of the planetary mixer (yes, for this recipe a planetary mixer is strongly recommended) and add the poolish prepared the night before. Knead at low speed for at least 5 minutes, using the hook tool.

Continuing to knead, add the salt little by little, so that it is perfectly incorporated. Only at this point, increase the speed of the mixer and continue kneading for at least another 15 minutes, adding 65 ml of water little by little, during all 15 minutes. Add a drizzle of water to the dough and wait for the water to be absorbed before adding a little more water. It is very important that the water is added gradually.

Once we have added all the water, the dough will be smooth and silky, clearly very hydrated but not sticky.

The dough, ready for proofing

Let’s now transfer the dough to the work surface (not floured) and make a few folds, to give elasticity to the gluten.

At this point, put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let rest for 2 hours, covering the bowl with plastic wrap.

After 2 hours, make a couple of folds directly into the bowl and let the dough rest (uncovered) for 10-15 minutes. Then transfer the dough to the generously floured work surface. Flour the top of the dough slightly and create a ball, sealing the edges very well.

Put the dough back into a bowl and let it rise for a couple of hours, or until doubled.

At this point transfer the dough onto the floured work surface, also flour it on top and, with your fingers wide open, spread the dough starting from the top down and from the outside inwards.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 250-260 °C (482-500 F), convection mode. Once the dough is shaped with your fingers, transfer it to a 30 × 40 pan, trying to remove the excess flour. Once in the pan, gently widen the dough to reach the edges.

Add the tomato and season as you prefer, being careful not to put too much tomato (avoid adding too weigh on the dough).

Bake for 10 minutes at 250-260 °C (482-500 F) in the lower part of the oven, then take out the pan, transfer the pizza from the pan to the oven rack,

add the mozzarella and continue baking in the central part of the oven for another 4-5 minutes. Transferring the pizza to the rack helps to obtain a crispy pizza also on the lower side.

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