Johannes' blog

Pizza Guide (Ooni Koda 12)

What makes a great pizza by Neapolitan standards involves an airy crust that is crunchy and thin in the middle. This requires dough with a strong gluten structure to: (a) capture a lot of air, and (b) remain thin yet robust.

The recipe is straightforward (for 8 balls each 250g at 7hrs cold temp fermentation, use PizzApp for alternative configurations): 1.2kg of flour (ideally type 00), 60% water (720ml), 10g yeast, 10g honey (as a substitute for sugar), 25g salt, and 20ml olive oil (added at the end). The finer the flour, such as pizza 00, the more the dough rises, achieving a nice airy crust.

Kneading the dough using a kitchen processor involves three steps: First, briefly mix water, yeast, and honey. Second, add flour and salt, mixing until it forms a lump. Third, gradually add olive oil. You should see the dough become less firm and start to knead properly rather than just pushing the lump around. Knead for 3 minutes, watching that the dough doesn't get too warm (yeast dies at temperatures above ~40°C). Take out the dough at the end and form a smooth ball to let it rest. The dough should have a creamy consistency, not sticky. Apply some light olive oil on top of the dough and make sure it rests with an airtight seal to prevent the dough from drying out. A plastic spatula can significantly aid in handling the dough, as plastic is less sticky and allows for easier maneuvering.

Fermentation involves building the gluten network and adding air to the dough, initiated by yeast. The rate of fermentation depends on the amount of salt, the amount of yeast, and the type of yeast. Bulk fermentation lets the dough rest as a whole, which is more effective for building a strong gluten structure than portioning the dough. Cold fermentation in the fridge, lasting at least 12 hours but up to several days, adds more flavor than fermentation at room temperature. Ideally, prepare the dough in the evening, portion it around lunch the next day, and use it by the evening. My standard procedure involves making the dough recipe as described above (with yeast and sugar amounts tuned for fermentation at cold temp):

  1. 9am: Mix the dough (7 hours bulk fermentation in the fridge).
  2. 4pm: Portion the dough into 250g balls (rest for another 3 hours at room temp).
  3. 7pm: Serve pizza.

For the Ooni Koda 12 oven, preheat it for at least 30 minutes to reach the necessary temperature for the stone. After launching the pizza, reduce the flame to the lowest level to prevent the toppings from burning before the dough cooks thoroughly. Initially, expose the first side to cook for about 50 seconds, then turn, with subsequent sides usually taking about 30-40 seconds. After removing the pizza, increase the flame to regain the heat lost during cooking before launching the next pizza.

Launching the pizza is easier when the dough doesn't stick to the peel. Factors affecting stickiness include the peel type, topping amount, dough moistness, and time the dough rests on the peel after opening. Metal peels tend to be stickier than wooden ones, and those with holes are less sticky than solid metal sheets. A heavy topping load or moist dough can make launching difficult. Use flour to reduce stickiness, but minimize its use to prevent burning the pizza bottom. Wooden peels for launching reduce the amount of flour needed to reduce stickiness.