There have been way too many poolish pizza dough recipes out there, but this one is the easiest, and trust me, the results are just outstanding.
I have tried a lot of different recipes, but this one works the best, and I love the outcome of this poolish Pizza dough recipe. Poolish pizza dough is best for making Neapolitan pizza.
This pizza dough recipe is inspired by Vito Iacopelli’s Poolish Pizza dough Recipe and it really makes the next level pizza crust that is airy and bubbly.
I have tried to make it as easy to understand as possible so you can replicate my results and make some amazing pizzas with a nice, airy, light crust, just like I did!
There is a lot to unpack if you are unaware of what is poolish and why it is used for pizza dough, and I would try my best to explain everything in a simple way.
Table of Contents
What is Poolish?
Poolish is a pre-ferment made with flour, yeast, and water. It uses 100 percent hydration, meaning the ratio of water to flour in a poolish mixture is 1:1.
The poolish acts as a sponge to make the final pizza dough, giving it more complex flavors and a nice aromatic crust.
Poolish preferment was first used in Poland; however, after its success in making the best bread, it was spread to other parts of Europe and was extensively used by French bakers.
It is similar to sourdough, but while making sourdough, you use wild yeast, but here you are using instant yeast to do the job instead, which makes the process faster compared to sourdough.
The flavors of sourdough and poolish will also be different due to the kind of fermentation each of them goes through. Poolish uses instant active yeast, while sourdough uses wild yeast.
What is a poolish formula?
The Poolish Formula is simple; you need equal parts of flour and water and a little active instant yeast. I have also used some honey in my Poolish for this recipe, which is a personal preference.
The Poolish is a preferment that is mixed in with the dough so that you get a more elastic, flavourful dough. Biga is another kind of preferment that is used for making pizza dough.
Poolish has higher hydration than Biga as Poolish uses 100 percent hydration; on the other hand, Biga has 50-60 percent hydration. Biga means preferment in Italian, and it is drier than Poolish.
Poolish is easier to make if you do not use a dough mixer. Biga is a dough best for people who have a dough mixer(I did it with hands but do not try this if you have little patience).
You can make your poolish formula with flour, water, and active instant yeast.
It won’t matter; however, a little bit of sugar/honey helps speed up the fermentation and also helps with the browning of the pizza crust when cooked.
Why use poolish for pizza?
The main purpose of using Poolish for pizza is to improve the crust’s texture, elasticity and flavor profile. Poolish also helps to make and manage dough with a higher hydration level.
It also reduces the amount of instant yeast used in the pizza dough and renders a deeper and better flavour profile in the crust, which sets it apart from other preferments like Biga and Sourdough.
Poolish also creates a lot of air pockets inside the pizza dough, which is a direct result of the gluten bonds being elastic and strong within the pizza dough.
If you do not want to wait long and make a preferment but still want great results then you should even try Autolyse pizza dough recipe as that gives amazing results too!
Best flour for poolish pizza dough
I prefer a 00 flour with a protein range of 12.5-14 percent for making this pizza dough. 00 flour is finely milled, and you should also consider using 00 flour for the best results.
I was impressed at how great the pizzas turned out whenever I made them using 00 flour, and I get mine from a local mill, so it is not branded.
But considering all the brands out there, it is safe to say that Caputo 00 is a trustworthy and reputable brand to get your hands on 00 flour.
You can get any other brand; just make sure you check the flour’s protein content range, and it should be 00 flour and nothing else.
How much percentage of Poolish should one use in Pizza Dough?
So, I use thirty percent Poolish in my pizza dough recipes. This means, if I’m using 1kg pizza flour, I would use 300 grams of flour to make poolish.
This yields great results every time. What would happen if you increase the percentage of poolish?
Your poolish should be 30-50% of the total pizza dough. This means if you plan on using a total of 1 kg flour to make pizza dough, you should make poolish using flour weighing around 300-500 grams.
I used 30% poolish in this recipe, and the pizza dough turned out great. So you can make yours with a higher poolish preferment to see which is better.
How much instant yeast do you need for Poolish?
The amount of instant yeast you need for Poolish is very little. I didn’t have a scale, so I couldn’t measure the exact amount, but I would say I used less than 1 gram of yeast in this recipe.
Using 1 kg of flour, you can use around 1-2 grams of instant yeast for the poolish. You can use slightly more as well, but I think just using a few pinches of yeast is great.
I used about 3-4 pinches of yeast for 400 grams of total pizza flour to make this dough, out of which I used 120 grams of flour to make the poolish mixture.
How long does it take to ferment Poolish?
Fermenting Poolish is extremely easy, but this is the part where I messed up previously. I left my poolish out to ferment at room temperature, and that made my poolish turn sour.
I think if you leave it at room temperature, your poolish would be ready very quickly, but I do not know the exact time at which that would happen, so I recommend doing this in the fridge.
I leave the poolish in the fridge for 18-24 hours. You won’t see a lot of bubbles on top after this time, but just know that the poolish is ready.
Once you get the poolish out of the refrigerator, leave it for 10-20 minutes to get to room temperature and get other ingredients ready, like flour, water, and salt.
Once you make the final dough, you would ferment it again for 16-24 hours in the refrigerator. Then you take it out and bring it to room temperature and make pizza dough balls.
You can then keep the dough in the fridge and make it within a day or two. You can also freeze the dough balls to make pizza balls.
But once you make the pizza dough balls, you can immediately make pizzas. So, you have to ferment the poolish preferment for 16-24 hours, which excludes the bulk fermentation of the dough.
Poolish Pizza Dough Recipe
This is a more detailed version of the Poolish pizza dough recipe compared to the recipe card, so if you want more in-depth step-by-step instructions, read this, or else you can go directly to the recipe card.
400 grams of 00 Flour
3 pinches of yeast
1/2 tbsp of honey
268 ml of water(67 percent of hydration)
2 grams of salt
Step 1- Take 120 grams of flour, 120 ml of water, yeast, and honey and mix them in a bowl. Mix them with a spoon, cover them and keep the bowl in the fridge for 16-24 hours undisturbed. This is your Poolish mixture.
Step 2- Now take out the Poolish mixture and let it sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Take the leftover flour, which is 280 grams in another bowl and mix salt in it.
Step 3- Add the rest of 148 ml of water in the poolish mixture and mix it well to get a nice watery mixture, now add the rest of the dough and salt mix you made in step two and mix the dough till you get a homogenous ball.
Step 4- Knead the dough on a flat surface until it gets smooth and soft. Use olive oil in order to knead the dough; not only does it help prevent the dough from not sticking to your hands, but it also gives the pizza crust a nice light brown color when it gets incorporated into the dough.
Step 5- Once you make a smooth pizza dough ball, coat the bowl’s surface with some olive oil and put this dough ball in it. Let it rest in the refrigerator overnight or from 16-24 hours.
Step 6- Now take the dough out on your countertop cut it with a dough scraper, and make pizza balls by just wrapping it into a bowl. Do not punch the pizza dough or apply a lot of pressure while making the dough balls.
Step 7- Stretch out the dough ball and layer some pizza sauce and cheese on it and make a nice margherita pie, just like I did. It was so soft, the inside and crunchy on the outside. Try this recipe and let me know how you like it in the comments below!
Poolish Pizza Dough Recipe
- 400 grams 00 Flour
- 0.8 grams Instant Active Yeast
- 268 ml Room Temperature Water
- 1/2 tbsp Honey
- 6 ml Olive Oil
- Take 30 percent from the total flour to make the Poolish preferment. So, here I take 120 grams of flour and add 120 ml water, yeast and honey to the bowl and mix it well.
- Cover it up and keep it in the refrigerator for 16-24 hours. You may not see any bubbles on the surface on the dough but that is okay.
- Now take the Poolish preferment out of the fridge, let it cool for 10-20 minutes. Take the rest of the water which is 148 ml and add it to this Poolish Mixture and stir.
- Now In another bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add this flour and salt mixture to the poolish and knead the dough till you get a homogenous ball.
- Knead the dough on a flat surface till you get a smooth dough. You can now place the dough in the refrigerator for another 16-24 hours for bulk fermentation.
- Now, take out the dough and make dough balls. Once you have the dough balls ready, stretch it out and start making pizzas.
- Layer the stretched pizza dough with pizza sauce and cheese and cook it in an Oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 15 minutes. If you have a pizza oven then it is even better as it can cook the pizza in just 6-7 minutes.