Pizza Trio With Jim Lahey’s No Knead Dough

The first time I made pizza using Jim Lahey’s dough recipe the universe seemed to expand and contract, before exploding entirely on my taste buds. This is literally the best pizza dough I have ever made. I had pretty much given up on making pizza at home. I’ve hated every store-bought dough I’d tried. I’ve hated every other recipe I’d tried at home. Nothing ever came out right. Nothing ever tasted good. So when I stumbled across this recipe a while back I was skeptical—of the recipe as much as my own abilities when it comes to baking…well….anything.

I looked at pictures of other people’s incredible looking pizzas made with his dough. That’s what drew my attention. The perfectly golden, bubbly dough and crust. It looked better than most restaurants I’d eaten at—excluding Italy of course. I was intrigued to say the least. The ingredients seemed simple enough. I just happened to have yeast in the cupboard. So I thought I’d give homemade pizza one last shot. But then I read the recipe in detail and realized you need to let this dough rise for 18 hours. I saw that, I laughed, and went out and bought Thai food for dinner that night. I wanted pizza in the foreseeable future, not in the morning for breakfast. But a few weeks later the craving came again and I decided I’d give it a shot.

Ndjua Pizza

The “no knead” definitely appealed to me. Minimal work is good! I mixed the ingredients, covered the dough, and went to bed. Fast-forward 18 hours. It had been a particularly cold night and the dough didn’t rise well. It didn’t look like the description said it should. Me being me, I didn’t know what to do. Let it sit longer? Start over? Cry? Ultimately I just said #$%! it and started making pizzas. And you know what? It was fine. Better than fine actually. It was…perfect.

I’ll never forget my first bite. Simon had already started eating, stopped, and looked at me in silence.

“What? Is it ok? It’s terrible isn’t it? I knew it! Is it bad? It’s bad!”

“I want you to try it before I say anything,” was his only reply.

So I did, and all my fears subsided. WTF? I made this? This was good! This was great! Our eyes met across the table, bright and glazed over with the satisfaction that is born of consuming perfection. I never looked back. I mean I ate the crust and everything—and I’m notorious for tossing away pizza crust. Just ain’t my thing. But this crust?!! I could eat it plain.

I don’t even remember what toppings were on that first pizza. I just remember the thrill of FINALLY making an incredible pizza at home. The best part is I can’t seem to screw it up! No matter what I do, no matter how strange the dough looks initially, when all is said and done, it bakes beautifully and tastes like heaven. It’s a mystery to me, but I’m not asking any questions.

Ndjua Pizza-6

For toppings, I can never just tick to one genre. I recently won a contest on Instagram and was selected at random to receive some incredible goodies form ‘Nduja Artisans. Thanks to my friend Temp6868, for making this possible. One of the products I received was the “’Nduja—spicy spreadable Calabrian salami. I’d never had it before and became an instant fanatic. I’d describe it as a Italian corizo—spicy, flavorful, with a real umami taste. I could no-joke just eat it on toast. So I decided to make a ‘Nudja pizza with a bit purple kale, a raw San Marzano tomato sauce, and mozzarella.

Ndjua Pizza-4

My brother came over with some fresh shrimp so we also made a shrimp scampi inspired pizza with ricotta, tons of lemon, parsley, and garlic. For our third pizza we decided on oyster mushrooms and paired them with sage and a creamy garlic butter sauce. All in all I don’t know that I could single out a favorite—but the flavor of the “Nduja is like nothing I’ve encountered. The rich spiciness melded with the fresh mozzarella, mild San Marzano tomatoes, and wilted earthy kale was approaching perfection!

Whichever way you go, you wont be sorry! Please go make one of these. You won’t regret it. Take pictures. Send me some.

Ndjua Pizza-3

Pizza Trio With Jim Lahey's No-Knead Dough
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  1. Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough
  2. This is a half recipe that I can make four to six, 8-10 inch pizzas with.
  3. 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  4. 2 tsp. salt
  5. ¼ tsp. active dry yeast
  6. For the ’Nduja Pizza
  7. Makes 1 pizza. No cooking needs to be done for this pizza. Simply assemble toppings on prepared dough and bake for 5-7 minutes until crust is golden and bubbly.
  8. ¼ cup crushed San Marzano tomatoes seasoned with salt and pepper
  9. 3-4 chunks, torn fresh Mozzarella, not that shredded crap
  10. ½ cup ‘Nduja
  11. 1 stalk purple kale, stem removed, torn into pieces
  12. For the Shrimp Pizza
  13. Makes 1 pizza
  14. 1/3 1b. shrimp
  15. Salt and pepper
  16. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  17. 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  18. Juice from ½ lemon
  19. 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley plus more for serving
  20. 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  21. ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  22. 5 Tbsp. ricotta
  23. For the Mushroom Pizza
  24. Makes 1 pizza
  25. 1 cup sliced oyster mushrooms
  26. 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  27. 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  28. 5 garlic cloves, minced
  29. 7-10 sage leaves, whole or chopped
  30. Salt and pepper
  31. 3-4 chunks, torn fresh Mozzarella, not that shredded crap
  32. Chili oil for serving
  1. Make the Pizza Dough
  2. In a large bowl mix flour, salt, and yeast.
  3. Slowly add in 1 ½ cups water and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate.
  4. Transfer to a large clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about 18 hours, until it doubles in size. I just do this the night before.
  5. Place dough on a floured cutting board or work surface.
  6. Divide dough into…well as many portions as you’d like. I usually do six even portions that make 8-10 inch pizzas.
  7. One at a time, shape into a smooth ball.
  8. Let the dough sit, covered, on the floured surface for one hour before making pizzas.
  9. Dough can be made 3 days ahead and refrigerated; just be sure to remove and let rest for 2-3 hours before shaping into pizza.
  10. Make the Shrimp Pizza
  11. In a medium pan heat olive oil over medium heat.
  12. Add in garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to burn!
  13. Add in shrimp, salt and pepper, lemon, parsley, and cook for another 1-2 minutes. You want the shrimp to be half-cooked and to look a pinkish gray.
  14. Turn off the heat; add in pepper flakes and shallots.
  15. Be sure to set shrimp aside in a small bowl until ready to make the pizza so the shrimp doesn't keep cooking. It will finish in the oven.
  16. Arrange shrimp on prepared pizza dough, place dollops of ricotta on top and bake for 5-7 minutes until crust is golden and bubbly.
  17. Top with more fresh parsley and pepper flakes for serving.
  18. Make the Mushroom Pizza
  19. In a small saucepan combine butter, garlic, and sage. Sauté over medium heat until garlic is light golden but not brown.
  20. Add in cream and season with salt and pepper.
  21. Pour sauce on prepared pizza dough. Top with mozzarella and mushrooms. Bake for 5-7 minutes until crust is golden and bubbly.
  22. Make the Pizzas
  23. Place pizza stone in oven and preheat to the highest setting. Mine goes to 550°F.
  24. Let the stone preheat in the oven for an hour before making pizzas.
  25. Have your toppings, sauce, and cheese(s) ready.
  26. Remove pizza stone from oven. Now most people will be appalled that I do this, I’m sure a lot of heat is lost but my pizzas are still wonderful. But I lack the skills to deftly slide the pizza off a peel or the back of a baking sheet onto the stone. So if you can do that, you’re cool.
  27. Place shaped pizza dough on stone and carefully (and quickly) put sauce toppings and cheese in the order of your choosing.
  28. Brush crusts with a little olive oil.
  29. Place stone back in oven for 5-7 minutes until crust is golden and cheese is melted.
  30. Use a spatula to transfer pizza to a plate or cutting board.
  31. Eat the pizza.
  32. Repeat the process until you cant eat anymore!
Adapted from Jim Lahey
Adapted from Jim Lahey
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1 Comment

  1. […] I never mess it up and end up with perfect crust every time. You can find my version of the recipe here! If using this recipe please note that you will need to make it ahead—at least the night […]

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