The Best Cold Fermented Pizza Dough Recipe

Cold fermented pizza

Are you ready to learn the secret to the best Italian pizza crust you’ve ever tried? Cold fermented pizza dough is the ultimate way to improve both texture and flavor. It might sound complicated but I promise, it’s actually fairly simple. I’ll teach you everything you need to know and give you my own recipe, that I’ve spent the last decade perfecting. This is how I make perfect Neapolitan-style, pizza every time!

For the most impatient readers, click here to jump to the recipe.

Just a little warning before we get started: making good pizza requires time. If you’re looking for a quick recipe to throw together some pizza for your guests that are there in an hour, this is not the right recipe.

Making amazing, flavorful Neapolitan-style pizza is easy, but it does require, quality ingredients, and giving the dough the love and time it deserves.

What Is Cold Fermented Pizza Dough?

First of all, what is cold fermented pizza dough? What is cold fermentation? And why do you want to cold ferment your pizza dough?

What is Cold Fermentation?

Fermentation is a metabolic process that produces chemical changes in an organic substance. In other, and simpler, words, fermentation is the process of yeast eating carbohydrates and convert them to alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2). This may sound complicated, but all you really need to know is that yeast turns sugars in the flour into gas. This is what inflates the dough, and makes it grow larger.

As a side effect of the fermentation process, the natural flavors of the flour will be enhanced, leaving you with more flavorful pizza dough!

If you’ve only typical tried fast-rise pizza dough, that doubles in size in 45 minutes, you may ask what are these complex flavors?

When most of the starch and sugars in the dough are consumed by the yeast, the resulting crust will develop a more complex flavor. This flavor is sometimes described as earthy and olive-like. And this takes time, the slower the process, the more flavorful the result.

The way you achieve this is by slowing down the fermentation process, allowing the yeast to take its time. You can do that by lowering the temperature. Lowering the temperature will slow down the pace at which yeast consumes sugars in the dough, creating these complex flavor compounds.

Balancing Rising and Fermentation

One thing worth mentioning is that even though the dough is fermenting, it doesn’t necessarily rise. The pizza dough can ferment and develop flavor even though it doesn’t rise.

This means you can make a very flavorful pizza crust that lacks the light texture with large air bubbles. You, therefore, need a balance between the development of flavor and inflation of the dough for the best possible result. And fermenting your dough at the right temperature is an important part fo the equation.

Cold Fermented Pizza Dough in the Fridge

To cold ferment your pizza dough, all you need to do is to let the dough ferment in a cool environment, such as the fridge, instead of at room temperature.

The fridge is actually a little too cold for cold fermentation. The reason is that in the fridge the fermentation process slows down so much that the dough almost stops rising. This does however not mean you can’t make amazing cold fermented pizza in the fridge, it simply means you need to leave it longer.

Cold Fermented Pizza Dough in a Cool Environment

The optimal temperature is around 59-64°F, or 15-18°C. But unfortunately, most of us don’t have commercial food storage space that keeps the right temperature. But you have a cool basement, that’s a great place to ferment your pizza dough. I have a cool storage room in my basement that says around the right temperature most of the year.

How Long Should You Cold Ferment Pizza Dough?

How long you should cold ferment the pizza dough depends on the temperature you ferment the dough at. But to get proper flavor development from the cold fermentation process, I recommend leaving the dough balls for at least 24 hours. The dough can be used sooner, but it will not be as flavorful.

In a cool room (60°F, or 15°C), you want to leave the dough for 24-48 hours, while in the fridge, leave it for 3-5 days (minimum 24 hours) for the best possible pizza crust.

Ingredients For Cold Fermented Pizza Dough

Using quality ingredients essential when you’re making pizza. Especially if you take the time to cold ferment your dough, and want the best possible result. Making pizza dough without proper ingredients is like building a house without proper materials. It doesn’t matter how good you are with the hammer if you’re using rotten wood and rusty nails. I therefore highly recommend spending some time and money getting quality ingredients before you start baking.

Flour for Cold Fermentation

The flours is the most important ingredients in pizza dough. In addition to being the biggest portion of the dough, it’s also where you will really notice the difference if you use the wrong type. Your can use the best water, the fanciest salt and the most expensive yeast, but if you don’t have the right type of flour the pizza crust will turn out bad.

The flour is also where most of the flavors that we’re developing by cold fermenting the dough are coming from, it’s there for the one ingredient that can make it or break it.

You Need a Strong Flour

You also want to use a strong flour for cold fermentation. The strength of flour is measured in “W”, most commonly ranging from 100-300W. A stronger flour will give the dough a stronger gluten structure, that will keep its shape longer.

The strength of the flour describes the protein’s (or gluten’s) ability to develop, and form stronger gluten walls. These walls trap the gas produced from the fermentation process and this is the reason dough increase in size when it’s rising. Strong gluten walls will hold onto the gas longer, which is essential for long fermentation.

A weak flour on the other hand will puncture and collapse if it’s left to ferment for too long. This is what’s called over-proofing. The reason this is happening is that the strength of the gluten structure can’t hold on to the gas for an extended period of time.

To get a better understanding of flour and gluten, and how it affects your dough, I recommend taking a look at this article.

I’ve tried a bunch of different types of flour for cold fermentation and found that the ideal strength is around 300W. A 300W flour will keep up well both in a cool room temperature (59°F, or 15°C) for 48 hours, or up to a week in the fridge.

Unfortunately, most flours don’t have the strength printed on the package. Strength is however pretty closely related to gluten content, and you want to look for a flour that has a gluten content of 12-15%. Here is an overview of some common pizza flours and their strength:

FlourStrengthProtein cotnentFermentation time
Caputo ClassicaW 220-24011.5%Too weak for cold fermentation
Captuo pizzeriaW 260-27012.5%Short fermentation
Caputo NuvolaW 260-28012.5%Medium Fermentation
King Arthur Bread Flour12.7%Medium fermentation
Caputo Chef’s Flour W 300-32013%Long fermentation
Caputo Nuvola SuperW 320-34013.5%Long fermentation

What Is the Best Flour for Cold Fermented Pizza Dough?

I recommend using a high-quality, strong Italian Tipo 00 or Tipo 0 flour for your cold fermented pizza dough. You can slo use a good bread flour and make amazing pizza, but if you want the best result, Tipo is the way to go!

Tipo 00 flour is Italian-milled wheat flour, where the “00” refers to the finest milled flour on the Italian flour scale. Tipo 00 is also considered the highest quality flour on the scale. The reason is that it uses the core of the wheat and therefore has the least amount of brand and wheat middlings. Tipo 00 flour also has high stability, which is a measurement of the strength of the gluten in the dough. Stronger gluten will make the dough keep its shape longer, something that is essential when you’re baking a long-rise dough.

Tipo 00 us the best choice for pizza because of the fine grind combined with high protein content. With proper kneading, you’ll end up with an elastic stretchy dough that is easy to work with. The high stability and strength of quality tipo 00 flours is also important when you’re cold fermenting, because you want the dough to keep its structure during the long leaving time.

Caputo Pizza Flour

I’ve tried several types of flour while developing this recipe, ranging from cheap no-brand pizza flours to expensive import-flours. The challenge with a long rise is that the dough tends to puncture, and collapse. You will then end up with a very flat, hard crust, not the light bubbly crust we’re looking for. The flour really makes a huge difference.

From my experiments, the best option for a long, cold fermented pizza dough is Caputo Chef’s Flour. This is a high-quality Tipo 00 with a strength of 300-320W, making it ideal for cold fermentation. The flour milled in the Naples-region in Italy and, and despite not being the cheapest option, I think it’s worth the price. Caputo flours are also commonly used by pizzerias in Naples and are recognized by the True Neapolitan Pizza Association (AVPN). The strength of Caputo Chef’s Flour can handle the long fermentation times, and I haven’t experienced over-proofing, even leaving the dough up to a week in the fridge.

Caputo Chef's Flour

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If you want to know more about Caputo and their flours, check out our article: Caputo 00 Flour: Everything You Need to Know.

Clean Water

When baking pizza you should always use clean water. If you don’t have clean tap water, I recommend buying some quality bottled water. You should aim to use water that’s around 20°C (68°F) because the temperature will increase by a few degrees during kneading, and reach its ideal rising temperature for bulk fermentation.

Yeast

You can either use fresh or dried yeast. Fresh yeast tends to give you a little better flavor, but it doesn’t make that much of a difference. Personally, I think dry yeast is very convenient since it has a much longer shelf life than fresh yeast. My favorite yeast is Caputo Lievito. Caputo Lievito is made from a yeast species called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which has been used for pizza baking in the Naples region for 100’s of years. It makes great pizza crust!

Caputo Lievito Active Dry Yeast

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You can read my full review of how Caputo Lievito compares to fresh yeast here.

Adjust the Amount of Yeast Based on the Type You’re Using

This recipe is going to use active dry yeast, so if you decide to use another type of yeast, make sure to adjust the amount of yeast accordingly.

10g of fresh yeast is roughly equivalent to 5g of dry yeast, and 3g of dry active yeast.

When you cold ferment piza dough over a long period, the amount of yeast needed is lower than what you find in most pizza recipes. The reason is that you want to slow down the rising process. If you want an even longer fermentation time you should lower the amount more than this recipe describes.

Salt

A good, fine sea salt is a the best option!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In traditional Neapolitan pizza, you don’t add olive oil to the dough. Oil makes the dough conduct more heat, and in a blazing hot wood-fired oven, the dough will therefore burn. But you can use the conductive properties of oil to your advantage when we’re baking pizza in our home oven. The addition of oil will help achieve a crispier pizza crust in a regular home oven.

You don’t need a fancy 100 dollar bottle of olive oil for your pizza dough, but I still recommend investing in a decent bottle of extra virgin olive oil that doesn’t break the bank.

Extra virgin olive oil is unrefined, and the highest quality olive oil. It’s therefore also the best tasting type of olive oil. When looking for olive oil, be aware that some companies add a small amount of extra virgin olive oil to a low-quality refined oil and advertise it as extra virgin. Stay away from those!

Toppings

When it comes to toppings, cold fermented pizza dough doesn’t dictate how you should top your pizza. You can of course use your favorite pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings, but if you’re looking for perfect crispy, Italian pizza, I have a few tips for you.

Don’t Overtop Your Pizza!

A very common mistake is to overtip the pizza. If you’re baking a Neapolitan-style pizza, you want a quick bake. If you add too many toppings, or too much sauce and cheese, it will take longer to bake the pizza. And you’ll end up with a soggy, underbaked pizza.

In addition to that, adding too much toppings will make it harder to move your pizza onto the pizza peel, and the weight will also make it more likely to stick to the peel. Therefore, more is less when it comes to pizza toppings. You’re look for a balance between the ingredients, and more is not always better.

More is less when it comes to pizza toppings.

The Simplest Pizza Sauce Is the Best Pizza Sauce

It’s not very often I recommend putting anything you find in a tin can in most grocery stores on your pizza, but that is actually the best option for pizza sauce. Fresh tomatoes are only in season for a short period of time, so most of the year the tomatoes you’ll find in your local grocery store are not sweet and flavorful.

Pizza Sauce Recipe

San Marzano tomatos is the what’s used in Naples. They are picked then they are in season, and the canning process makes them keep the flavor. I really think making San Marzano tomatos makes a difference, but I know they can be pricy and hard to find. Therefore a good substitute is canned cherry tomatoes, that’s a bit similar in flavor.

In addition to tomatoes, you’ll need salt, basil, and extra virgin olive oil.

  • One 400g (14oz) can of whole, skinless tomatoes (preferably San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 4g (a little less than 1 teaspoon) of sea salt
  • 3-4 leaves of fresh basil
  • 15g (1 tablespoon) of extra virgin olive oile

Then simply mix the ingredients before adding it to your pizza. You can also add a little bit of sugar if your tomatoes aren’t sweet enough. For the full recipe, click here: Neapolitan pizza sauce recipe.

Other SauceOptions

Another great option is Mutti Pizza Sauce, which a chef recommended me to try. It’s not as good as homemade sauce from San Marzano tomatoes, but it’s still a pretty good and convinient alternative!

Cheese

You can use any kind of cheese you like, as long as you don’t put too much. The most traditional option, and my favorite is fresh mozzarella, that give a nice, creamy texture and flavor to the pizza. In combination with the tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella is really delicious.

If you want to add some stronger, more interesting flavors, adding some hard, aged cheese is great. Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano are great options.

Baking Cold Fermented Pizza

There are several ways you can bake your pizza, but the key is a quick bake at really high temperature.

The Ideal Way to Bake Pizza – What We’re Trying to Achieve

A traditional Neapolitan pizza is baked in a wood-fired oven at around 900°F (480°C) for 60-90 seconds. The pizza is baked with a combination of radiating heat from the ceiling of the direct contact with floor of the oven. The radiating heat will bake the top of the pizza, the toppings and the cheese, while the floor will bake the bottom of the pizza.

pizza, pizza oven, restaurant

When you want to re-create the same baking environment at home, these are the two things, you’re looking for: hot radiating heat from above and a hot baking surface. There also needs to be a balance between the two heat sources, else we might end up with a raw dough and burnt pizza toppings, or burnt bottom and raw toppings.

This quick bake results in a crispy, blistered (leopard) pizza crust, that’s still airy and soft on the inside. This is something we only can achieve with a very fast bake. And that’s why your homemade grandma pies, often end up denser, and not as crispy and nice. It’s simply not possible to get this kind of bake on a baking tray at home. But after doing a lot of experiments with different baking methods, I’ve found that a way to achieve a similar bake in a home oven!

Baking Cold Fermented Pizza at Home

If you have a proper pizza oven at home – great! You’re all set. But if you don’t, there are a few things you can do to improve the bake in your regular home oven.

What You’ll Need for the Perfect Bake

  • A pizza peel
  • A pizza stone or pizza steel

A Pizza Peel to Transfer the Pizza

Weather you’re baking pizza in a pizza oven or in a home oven, you’re going to need a pizza peel to transfer the pizza in and out from the oven. If you don’t already own one, check out my complete guide to pizza peels, where I talk about the different types of peels, and how to use them.

pizza peel

In addition to a pizza peel, you need a baking surface, such as a pizza stone or pizza steel.

Baking Pizza in a Home Oven – Pizza Stone or Pizza Steel

The easiest and cheapest option is to bake the pizza in a regular home oven. But is it really possible to get a proper bake in a home oven? Yes, with the right tools and techniques it’s definitely possible! The pizza at the start of this article was baked on a pizza steel in my 500°F (260°F) home oven.

As mentioned above, there are two things we need to work on to re-create pizza oven baking: radiating heat from above and a hot baking surface.

How to Get a Hot Enough Baking Surface

Let’s talk about the baking surface first. Whet you need is a baking surface that can retain and conduct heat well. If you’re simply placing a thin aluminum baking sheet in the oven with the pizza on, it’s not going to be get hot enough.

The best option is either a pizza stone or a pizza steel. They both serve the same purpose: retaining heat that will help bake the pizza faster. You can choose whichever you like, but personally I prefer a pizza steel, because it conducts heat a bit better, it’s more durable and less prone to cracking. It’s also a bit easier to clean. If you have a hard time choosing, check out this article, that describes the differences in depth.

The thickness of the stone or steel, will affect how much heat it can retain. This means that a thicker stone or steel will bake the pizza faster than a thin stone or steel.

To bake pizza on a pizza stone or steel, you first have to preheat it. Place it in the oven, and let it preheat with the oven for at least 45-60 minutes. The baking surface need time to heat up to be able to retain enough heat. This will give you that nice blistered pattern, you’ll see from wood-fired ovens.

One thing to keep in mind is that baking several consecutive pizzas will lower the temperature of the baking surface. The reason is that the cold (room temperature) pizza dough will cool it down, and block any re-heating while the pizza is baking. I, therefore, recommend to re-heat the stone for 10-15 minutes after every 2 pizzas to make sure they all come out nice and crispy.

If you want to learn more about baking pizza on a pizza steel, check out this easy step-by-step guide to perfect pizza a pizza steel.

Baking the Top of the Pizza

The next challenge is the radiating heat. Luckily, most ovens come with broil or grill element, that get’s really hot. This is prefect for increasing the temperature for pizza baking!

Since the heat is stronger the closer you get to the broiler, you want to place your pizza stone or steel as close as possible to the broiler. Ideally around 2 inches (5 cm). I, therefore, recommend placing the pizza stone or steel at the top rack in your oven. If that’s not close enough, you can place it on an upside-down deep baking sheet to get it closer to the broiler.

Another tip is to use the broiler when you heat the baking surface, as this is going to make it even hotter.

When you’re baking the pizza is that the broiler tends to go on and off, trying to keep the temperature you’ve set your oven on. But to make that nice charred, leopard crust on the pizza you want the broiler to be on as much as possible during baking. A way to do that is to turn down the oven temperature a bit a few minutes prior to baking, and then crank it back up to the highest setting again when you add your pizza. This will make sure the broiler is on most of the baking time. The baking surface should be able to hold the heat well enough so this trick shouldn’t affect that negatively. If you want to know more about charing and creating a beautiful leopard pattern on your pizza crust, check out this easy guide.

Baking Time in a Home Oven

The baking time depends on the temperature of your oven, the broiler and the thickness and material of your baking surface. It’s therefore impossible to give you the one perfect baking time. The short answer is as short as possible, but it really depends on what temperature your oven can reach. With a hot pizza stone or steel and a broiler, you should be able to bake a pizza in 3-8 minutes. The most important thing is to get to know your oven, and keep a close eye on the pizza.

One thing to keep in mind is that there needs to be a balance between the temperature of the oven (or broiler) and the baking surface. As mentioned above, a thicker stone or steel will bake the pizza quicker. But if your oven can’t hold up with the baking speed of the baking surface, you might end up with a burnt bottom and an undercooked top. Therefore, I recommend to get a thinner stone or steel if your oven can only reach 500°F (250°C) than if it can reach 600°F (300°C).

The bottom line is that you need to get to know your oven and your equipment. And to keep a close eye on the pizza. In a hot oven the pizza can burn very quickly.

If you want to know more about baking times and temperatures, I recommend checking out this article.

The Best Pizza Steel for Cold Fermented Pizza

Personally, I prefer pizza steels over pizza stones because it conducts heat better. They are also more durable and easier to clean and maintain. For baking cold fermented pizza, I recommend the Conductive Cooking Square Pizza Steel 3/8 inch Deluxe!

The reason I recommend the Conductive Cooking Square Deluxe is that it’s incredibly durable and solid pizza steel made in the US, that will last you a lifetime with proper care. A pizza steel is honestly the best investment I ever did for my kitchen. And it really elevated my pizzas. Never soggy pizza again!

The extra-large baking surface and the thickness of 3/8 inches make the Conductive Cooking Square the perfect all-around pizza steel, that will give you an amazingly crispy crust every time!

Conductive Cooking Square Pizza Steel 3/8 Inch Deluxe

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Baking in a Pizza Oven

Things are a bit easier in a pizza oven, because a pizza oven can reach the desired temperature. If you already own a pizza oven, you probably already know how to use it, but the principle are the same. You want to preheat the oven to get it as close as possible to 900°F (480°C), and then bake the pizza for 60-90 seconds, or until the it’s crispy and nice on the bottom, the crust has a nice leopard pattern, the toppings are baked and the cheese is melted.

One tip to increase the consistency when baking in a pizza oven is using an infrared thermometer. This way you can know with certainty wheat the surface temperature is. More about pizza oven thermometers here.

Cold Fermented Pizza Dough Recipe – Let’s Put it All Together

This recipe yields 4 portion-sized pizzas of around 30cm or 12 inches. You can of course double the recipe if you really love pizza! And if you have any leftover dough you can always freeze it. Check out our article on how you store pizza dough if you want to know more.

Let’s get started!

Ingredients

  • 500g Tipo 00 flour (100%)
  • 320ml water (64%)
  • 10g salt (2%)
  • 1g instant dry yeast (0.2%)
  • 10g extra virgin olive oil (2%)
  • A pinch of semolina for dusting the pizza peel
  • Tomato sauce, cheese, and other toppings of your choice

1. Making The Cold Fermented Pizza Dough

Pour room temperature water (ideally around 20°C/68°F) into a large mixing bowl. Then add the salt and mix until the salt is completely dissolved.

Next, add around 10% of your flour and mix it well, until it’s completely incorporated, and have a batter-like consistency. Add the yeast, dissolve it in the flour-water mix. Then continue adding the flour, a little at a time, until the dough has formed. When all the flour is mixed in, let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes before adding the oil.

The reason you want to leave the dough before kneading is to let the gluten hydrate, and start developing, This step is called aytolyse, and will help develop a more stretchy pizza dough.

Then knead the dough either in a stand mixer for around 5 minutes at low speed with a dough hook, or for around 5-10 minutes by hand, until the oil is fully incorporated, and you’re left with a smooth, nice dough.

I personally prefer kneading by hand, because it really gives me control over the dough!

sticky dough

There are many factors that can affect the dough’s consistency, like the amount of gluten in the flour. But also the temperature and humidity in the room you’re baking. You may therefore have to adjust the amount of flour in the dough slightly. Either increasing it if you’re in a humid environment or reduce it if you’re in a very dry environment. When you’ve made pizza a few times, you can feel if the dough has the right consistency or not. And how you have to adjust it to achieve the desired results. But don’t worry too much about that if this is your first time making pizza. Simply follow the amounts described in the recipe. You can always make some adjustments next time!

2. Rising the Dough – Bulk Fermentation

Before we can cold ferment the dough, we need to leave it to rise in a bowl covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap for 2 hours. This is called bulk fermentation because you let the whole dough rise. Bulk fermentation gets the yeast going, and gives the dough a good start for the cold fermentation.

If you’re worried the dough will stick to the bowl, you can lightly brush it with some olive oil. The dough does however already contain oil so the dough should be easy to get out. If you want to know more about preventing sticking, check out the article Why Is My Pizza Dough Sticky? And How to Fix It.

Bulk fermentation of pizza dough in baking bowl

3. Make Dough Balls

Next, split the dough into 4 equal size pizza balls using a pizza dough scraper or a knife. And form four nice, even pizza balls. I recommend to weight them as well, to check that they are roughly the same weight.

Then place the dough balls in an air-tight container. Ideally a pizza rising box, but you can use any Tupperware container with a lid or individual bowls with plastic wrap. The most important thing is that it’s air-tight, to prevent a hard surface to form on the dough balls. This is extra important when you’re leaving the dough for several days.

Authentic Neapolitan pizza dough ball

4. Cold Ferment the Dough

Now it’s time to cold ferment the dough. Place the dough balls in the fridge for 3-5 days. Or in a cool room (60°F, or 15°C), for 24-48 hours. Don’t touch the dough, just leave it there to do its thing.

5. Prepare to Bake the Pizza

A couple of hours before you’re going to bake your cold fermented pizza, you need to take out the dough and place it at room temperature. This will both make the dough more pliable, and it will bake better.

Another thing you need to do is preheating your oven for at least 45-60 minutes. Place your pizza stone or steel on the top rack, as close as possible to the broiler. Then turn the oven up to the highest setting, and turn on the broiler.

Getting your sauce, cheese and toppings ready before starting to work on the dough, will also make the assembly easier.

6. Make the Pizza

When the oven is hot enough, and the dough has come to room temperature, it’s time to make our cold fermented pizza.

Start by taking out one dough ball using a dough scraper, and place it in a small bowl filled with flour. This will cover the dough with a layer of flour that will help it prevent sticking. Lift the ball up with your hands and shake off any excess flour. You want the flour to cover the dough ball, but you don’t want more flour than necessary. The reason is that the excess flour can burn in the oven.

Then stretch the dough out by hand to around 12 inches (30cm) in diameter. You want to leave an inch (a couple of cm) on the edge of the pizza to form the crust (cornicione). This is going to create a nice, tall crust with air bubbles when you bake the pizza. The middle of the pizza, on the other hand should be thin, almost so thin that you can see through the dough.

Next add sauce, cheese, and any other topping to the pizza. Then lightly drizzle a pinch of semolina to prevent the dough to stick to the peel. Then carefully drag it over to a pizza peel. If the pizza dough is sticking to the working surface, use a dough scraper to loosen it, and apply little extra flour.

Then, simply transfer the pizza into the hot oven.

7. Bake the Pizza

When you’re baking a pizza in a hot oven with a broiler, you need the keep eye on the pizza. It can quickly go from done to burnt! Depending on how hot your oven and broiler are, bake the pizza for 3-8 minutes. You know it’s done when the crust is nice and crispy, slightly charred, and the cheese is melted. Use your pizza peel to get the pizza out of the oven. Simply push the carrying surface of the peel under the pizza and lift it out of the oven.

8. Enjoy Amazon Cold Fermented Pizza

This is a portion-sized pizza, so you can place it straight on a serving plate. Or you can do like I usually do, place it on a wooden chopping board and cut it into slices, so everyone around the table can enjoy a slice of every delicious pizza!

Cold fermented pizza
Cold fermented pizza baked on a pizza steel
Cold fermented pizza

Cold Fermented Pizza Dough

Make perfect Italian pizza with cold fermented pizza dough at home. Cold fermentation is the best way to enhance flavour and get fect pizza every time.
4.94 from 16 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Fermentation time 2 d
Total Time 2 d 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g tipo 00 flour
  • 320 ml water
  • 10 g salt
  • 1 g instand dry yeast
  • 10 g extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Pour room temperature water (ideally around 20°C/68°F) into a large mixing bowl. Then add the salt and mix until the salt is completely dissolved.Next, add around 10% of your flour and mix it well, until its completely incorporated, and have a batter-like consistency. Add the yeast, dissolve it in the flour-water mix. Then continue adding the flour, a little at a time, until the dough has formed.Let the dough rest for 5 mintues for the gluten to absorb the water, thena add the oil.Then knead the dough either in a stand stand mixer for 10-15 minutes with a dough hook, or for around 20 minutes by hand.
  • Leave the dough to rise in a bowl covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap for 2 hours.
  • Next, split the dough into 4 equal size pizza balls using a pizza dough scraper or a knife. And form four nice, even pizza balls. And place them in an air-tight container.
  • Place the dough balls in the fridge for 3-5 days. Or in a cool room (59°F, or 15°C), for 24-48 hours.
  • A couple of hours before you're going to bake your cold fermented pizza, take out the dough, and place it in room temperature. Meanwhile, place your pizza stone or steel in the oven, and preheating it for at least 45-60 minutes with the broiler on.
  • Dust the pizza dough with flour and stretch it out to a 12 inches (30cm) in diameter circle. Next add sauce, cheese and toppings. And move it to your lightly dusted pizza peel.
  • Bake the pizza for 3-8 minutes depending on your oven. It's done when the crust is nice and crispy, slightly charred, and the cheese is melted. Use your pizza peel to get the pizza out of the oven
Keyword Neapolitan pizza, pizza

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51 thoughts on “The Best Cold Fermented Pizza Dough Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for the detailed recipe!
    This is pretty similar to the method I’ve followed the last few years, and it always turn good.

  2. Hi thanks for the details, just have one question, when you form the dough balls and put in the fridge, what is the minimum time needed to rest before it’s ready to use?

    1. Hi, Jane! You should leave the dough balls in the fridge for at least 24 hours. You can use them sooner (if you’re in a hurry, I’ve sometimes used the dough after 2-3 hours), but then you’ll have less flavor development from the cold fermentation process.

      Great question! I will add the answer in the article too.

      – Andreas

  3. Hello, I’m currently in a colder area so right now the temperature are below 16°C, so I’ll let my dough cold ferment outside. You asked to let the dough come to room temperature after the fermentation is completed. But since it’s cold should I keep it in a warmer room to warm up?

    1. Hello, Isha, if you have a warmer room I recommend leaving the dough there prior to stretching the pizza, as this will make it a bit easier to stretch and shape the dough. But you can make perfectly good pizza if you’re working with the dough at 16°C too. The gluten will just be a little tighter and, something that will make it a bit harder to stretch the pizza properly. I’ve used pizza dough straight from the fridge several times (around 3°C), and the result was still great! 🙂

  4. I’m determined to become a master home pizza chef! With that said I spend hours researching methods of dough making….one thing I see often is salt and oil should be the last ingredients as they retard development of the the yeast and hamper proper hydration of the flour. In your recipe the first thing you do is add salt to the water!
    Please comment!
    Thanks!

    1. Hi, this recipe is inspired by Neapolitan-style pizza, where the salt is traditionally added to the water first.
      Salt, in high concentration, will kill the yeast. The concentration is however not that high in this recipe. Time is also a factor, the longer the yeast is in contact with the (higher concentration of) salt, the more likely it is to be affected. The reason salt is adding to the mixing process is that it strengthens the gluten bonding, resulting in stronger gluten development. This is beneficial for slow-fermented pizza dough since the dough will hold up better during the fermentation process.

      You’re right about the oil. It does prevent the flour from absorbing as much water when added early. It would be better to add the oil after you’ve formed the dough and let it rest a few minutes for the flour to fully absorb the water. I’ve updated the recipe. Adding the oil early was something did back a few years ago, before I knew that much about baking chemistry. Nowadays, I often don’t add the oil at all (essentially making Neapolitan pizza dough).

  5. 5 stars
    Wow ! As a self taught home pizza cook (always refining recipe/process over 15 years) I am happy to know I have been doing things mostly correctly and ~90% of your recipe/process but more importantly I learned a few things from you and will try asap.
    The “problem” with creating the best tasting pizzas at home is you and family will never want to go out for pizza again (esp. in suburban USA), because most take out/fast food/restaurant pizza isn’t anywhere near as good ! So home cooked pizza once a week has been our routine for 10 years. And we even invested in a wood fired oven for nice weather. Great post !!

    1. Thank you! I’m happy to hear that you found my post useful. And I totally agree, going out for pizza isn’t quite the same after learning how to make proper pizza!

  6. 5 stars
    A few things to add to the conversation – Yes for Steel pizza stone, it does perform better at browning/charring the bottom. It lives in my oven on top rack and even helps balance out the heat when cooking other things. Also a big fan of cold fermenting. Up to 4 days in fridge before the dough starts to break down but days 2-3 have amazing flavor almost like poolish or light sourdough. I don’t add EVOO to mix for same reasons mentioned above, instead I, coat my boules with EVOO before proofing in air tight containers so they don’t get crusty and the dough will pick up the benefits from there. And lastly, been experimenting with freezing my boules for later use with great results. Just dust with flour and seal in freezer bag for up to couple months. Let defrost and proof at RT for 8-10 or so before cooking. This way we can have spontaneous pizza nights !

  7. 5 stars
    I am an 80 years old man very much interested in making the best Neapolitan pizza using my wood fired or home oven. I have gone through your pizza papers from a to z. I think they are the best. Thanks for your effort.

  8. 5 stars
    Hi Andreas,
    Would you mind checking my conversions below for accuracy.
    500 g tipo 00 flour: 4 cups
    320 ml water: 1 1/3 cups
    10 g salt: 1 3/4 teaspoons
    1 g dry active yeast: 1/3 teaspoon
    10 g extra virgin olive oil 3/4 tablespoon

    1. Hi! I strongly recommend measuring ingredients by weight rather than volume. Volume is pretty inaccurate in comparison. You’ll easily end up 5-10% off if you measure flour by volume, and may end up with a completely different pizza dough than you expected since this will affect the hydration. But if you still want to go by volume, it seems pretty accurate to me.

  9. I would love to try the pizza recipe but could you give us the measurements and you ask? I can’t quite figure it out and I don’t want to make the mistake. it sounds like a keeper and that you can make it in the beginning of the week and have it toward the end of the week or whatever so that would be great thanks a lot

    1. I’m not quite sure I understand what you’re asking. If you by measurements mean the amount of each ingredient, they are in the recipe (here).

      In my house, Saturday is usually pizza night. So to prepare pizza dough for Saturday night, I usually make the dough Wednesday evening, if I make cold fermented pizza.

  10. 5 stars
    Hi. This is great information, thank you! Is there a difference between bulk fermenting the dough for 24-48 hours at 15 degrees Celsius and then making the balls and stretching the dough rather than making the balls and letting them ferment in the fridge as balls as per your method?

    1. Hi, I haven’t experimented a whole lot with bulk fermentation vs. dough ball fermentation at low temperatures. When it comes to temperature differences (fridge temp or 15 degrees Celsius), fridge temperature will pretty much completely stop the dough from rising, something that allows the dough to be stored longer without overproofing. From my experience, this results in more flavor. I also find it convenient that I have a larger window to use the dough, if it’s left a day shorter or a day longer, it doesn’t affect the dough that much (given that you use a flour that’s strong enough). There are also other ways to achieve flavor, like using a sourdough starter, poolish vs biga.

      If you’re comparing bulk fermentation vs. dough balls fermentation at the same temperature, from my understanding, you’ll get more rise from a long bulk fermentation process because the dough takes longer to cool, (from room temperature to e.g. 15 degrees Celsius), and dough fermented in bulk will produce more heat.

      1. Hi Andreas – the recipe shows 10g of salt in one place and 7.5g of salt in a different place. Please let me know which is correct. Thx!

  11. 5 stars
    Thanks for publishing this. I have followed the recipe and have made my best pizza dough ever. I will be playing with the recipe to understand it better going forward.

    I am working on a show, which to be honest I am not sure will ever open. Nonetheless, I would like to add you to my list of people I owe free tickets. Thanks again, and have shared this link with a few people too.

  12. 4 stars
    Proof reading the article would have been nice. I am a Pro baker with 50 years in the industry. Almost any vegetable oil is suitable for Pizza dough and though it is nice to use expensive name brand flours, you can make a perfect delicious crust with almost any quality high gluten bread flour, especially King Arthur’s or Bob’s Red Mill. The article was very good.

  13. Thanks for your very informative article. I have a question about the bulk fermentation. I have a proofing setting on my oven. Is it better to proof in the oven for 2 hours or just proof at room temperature? Thanks.

    1. Both should be fine, just make sure the proofing temperature isn’t too high. The benefit of using the oven setting is that the temperature might be more stable than on the countertop. Actually, I sometimes leave my dough to ferment in the oven, turned off (I don’t have a proofing setting on my oven), to get a more stable temperature.

  14. 5 stars
    My dough looked great in the stand mixer, but after i separate into balls and put in fridge it has a runny look, like it’s just formed to the shape of the bottom of the bowls, and not a ball at all. Do you know what went wrong? I do not own a kitchen scale (yet) and went with conversions. Maybe the flour isn’t enough? Thanks for any light you could shed!!

    1. It sounds like your dough had too high hydration (too much water compared to flour), too little gluten development, or that you used too weak flour. I strongly recommend getting a kitchen scale if you’re interested in pizza baking. It’s very hard to get a consistent result by measuring ingredients by volume compared to weight.

  15. I’m curious. Should the olive oil be added to the dough recipe if the pizza will be cooked in an oven like an Ooni Koda 16. You mentioned that this is not traditionally the case for Neapolitan pizza.

    1. If you’re using a pizza oven, like the Ooni Koda 16, I would skip the oil. Oil will help transfer heat and bake the pizza faster, which is beneficial in a convection oven since it doesn’t get that hot. But in gas or wood-fired ovens, the addition of oil will make the pizza burn more easily, that’s why it’s not traditionally added to Neapolitan pizza dough 🙂

  16. 5 stars
    If anyone is interested in a slightly healthier alternative I recommend Caputo Tipo 1 Flour. It has more of the bran left in and is more easily digestible than the 00 flour.
    No adjustment to the recipe is necessary, other than replacing the type of flour. I also add a tablespoon of honey to the mixture. It gives a subtle flavor boost to the crust, not to mention it’s benefit to the fermentation process.

  17. 5 stars
    This recipe is the real deal… Last night I made the best looking and tasting pizza I’ve ever had. Thank you very much for releasing this to the internet for all to benefit from.

  18. Antonio Badetti

    5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I just made the best pizza I ever tried!
    I have baked a lot of pizza, and always focused on the toppings. I never event though about the dough, but cold-fermenting the dough really makes a huge difference!

    I don’t know where I came across cold fermented pizza the first time, but I’ve been looking around the Internet, and this is the most detailed guide I have found on the topic.

    If anyone has not tried, please give it a try! Just follow the instructions accurately! The result was truly amazing, I can never go back to any other pizza recipe again.

  19. I love the detail you put in this post. Thank you. If I use bread flour instead of 00 flour, are the ingredient quantities and process exact same? Note that I will be baking in a home oven at 550 degrees.

    1. Yes, the ingredient quantities and process should be the same. Bread flour should work great both for longer fermentation and for baking in a 550°F oven. The most important thing to look for when picking flour is the strength of the flour. Usually the higher the protein content, the stronger the flour is. And the stronger the flour is, the longer you can ferment the dough. But I would not ferment the dough for more than 24-48 hours if it’s the first time you try cold-fermenting with it.

  20. Martha Stewart

    I’m just getting ready to try the pizza dough recipe which looks amazing but I’m confused by the quantity of yeast that you mention in the preamble versus what is listed in the recipe. In the recipe, you say 1gm but in the preamble on yeast, you suggest 3gms of active dry yeast.
    Thanks

    1. It should be 1g of active dry yeast (I will emphasize that in the ingredient list). The amounts mentioned yeast section is a more general example of how you can account for different types of yeast.

  21. Do you have any advice on kneading technique? Sometimes I feel like my dough is overworked because it gets dense and difficult to stretch. I can’t quite seem to get the silky texture that this tough sboudt have.

    1. After kneading, I would give the dough a few minutes to rest, before doing the final shaping. When you knead the dough, the gluten will tighten, and make the feel dense and harder to stretch. But if you leave the dough to rest for 5-10 minutes, the gluten will relax, and the dough will be much more stretchy and get a smoother surface.

    1. Hi. Yes, it should rise. This dough formulation is inspired by Neapolitan-style dough, which usually uses very small quantities of yeast.
      The 0.2% instant dry yeast suggested in the recipe is just a starting point. You may have to adjust that depending on the room temperature (dough ferment much faster at 25°C than 20°C) or leave the dough longer before putting it in the fridge.

      Yeast and fermentation time is a pretty complicated topic and there are a bunch of factors that affect the fermentation time. The most important is temperature, but also salt content in the dough, hydration, humidity, etc.

      I, therefore, encourage you to try, and adjust the amount of yeast or leave the dough longer or shorter at room temperature. Good luck! 🙂

  22. Hello;), many, many thanks for pizza heaven, it is the holy grail for me. I have been looking for a long time, for a site like this and finally found it, I am sooooooo happy:)))) I was looking for understandable explanations, such as how something works and why that is so etc and illustrated in examples.
    Simply suuuuuper. Thanks a lot:)))))))

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