Slow Dough

28 Oct 2014

Making dough without yeast may seem like a half-baked idea, but its one that offers stunning results. This is a lesson from the Kiln: Pizza and Bread by Benjamino Bilali. Benjamin was present to speak about the appliance of science to the kitchen; specifically how you can make pizza dough without yeast.


It sounds so simple. A dough made from just flour and water, but the chemistry and microbiology is behind it are subtle and complex. A master pizzaiolo has the sensitivity to understand the different reactions between different yeasts and different flours at different temperatures. But why make pizza dough without using yeast?


“Not adding yeast to your dough helps you obtain a much lighter and much more easily digestible result,” Says Benjamin. Apparently in many pizzerias, they use large quantities of cultivated yeast in their dough’s in order to produce it in a few short hours. It often results in that all too familiar “pizza belly”, that follows you home from the restaurant. Making a yeastless dough is simple – it’s all about embracing the slow philosophy.


Maturation is key. The yeast in our dough will come from an autonomous process; wild yeasts from the air around us will find a home in our dough and slowly ferment it. This slow philosophy requires that you start with the right flour All flours are not equal – so don’t skimp on the quality. Stone ground flour is best. Stone grinding retains some of the husk, which from a technical standpoint provides more food for our newly born yeast to grow.


Depending on climactic conditions, the process takes 48 hours. First you must mix together your flour and warm water. For every 100g of flour use 80ml of water then let it rest for 24 hours. After 24 hours add a little warm water, salt and olive oil to your dough and let it rest for a further 10-12 hours. Slowly does it! You can’t rush art. Now the time has come for you to turn your dough into dough balls which in turn must be rested for a further 12 hours. Now you’re good to bake.


Let’s make Margherita pizza. With its few simple ingredients carefully chosen and prepared the right way, this quintessentially Italian dish has the power to transcend its humble origins and never ceases to amaze. A quality passata, fresh aromatic basil and creamy buffalo mozzarella cooked for a few minutes in a searing hot kiln (At home use your hottest oven setting and a pizza stone). Made with a master’s touch and yeastless dough, it is lighter than usual and the contrasting between the textures of the mozzarella and the dough is wonderful. “There is nothing more gourmet than a traditional Margherita pizza,” says Benjamin. Salone is inclined to agree.

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