Club Perfect Ambassador and Master Pizza Chef Theo Kalogeracos started off as a baker, moving into pizzamaking when the bakery trade hit changing times. So it’s no surprise that for Theo, the pizza base and the dough it’s made from is a key element in building the pizza.
In fact according to Theo, the pizza dough and the cheese are the two most important ingredients in any pizza.
“If you don’t have those right, the rest doesn’t matter,” he points out.
“If they’re right, they’ll go unnoticed. But if the base is sloppy and it droops down, the ingredients will slide off. Just like if there’s pools of oil dripping out of the cheese, your customers will notice.”
Theo spent nine months developing the ideal pizza base using his baker’s skill and knowledge before opening his first Little Caesars Pizzeria. Yet he describes the eventual recipe as “ridiculously simple”:
1kg strong baker’s flour
20g dried yeast
10g salt
10g sugar
600ml cold water
“The most important thing is to add the cold water while mixing,” Theo points out.
“If you’re mixing dough and getting big air bubbles in the middle, it’s because there’s too much hot water — you’re creating friction while you’re mixing. So use cold water and a good strong baker’s flour and you can’t go wrong. Some people put oil in or this or that, but the more you complicate the recipe the worse it can get. It’s got to be simple or it just doesn’t work.”
Once you’ve made your pizza dough, you need to form into dough balls, either by hand or using a dough divider. This piece of equipment is ideal for a high volume operation as it can produce several dough balls at a time. If your dough divider uses a hopper, that will push the dough out through a tube, then into a rounding spiral.
Alternatively you can use a dough divider which uses vibration to separate the dough and push into round holes in equally sized portions — the result, nicely rounded dough balls. Remember the size and thickness of your pizza base is dependent upon the weight of the dough ball, so it’s important that you have the right amount of dough per base size and that your dough balls are of uniform size and shape.
Once your dough balls have been produced, they should be lightly coated with olive oil before proofing. This ensures the balls don’t dry out or stick together.
The dough balls will then need to be placed in either dough boxes or, for those running a small-scale operation, dough pans may suffice. The metallic sides of the dough pans help the dough to cool. Most pizza businesses, however, will be using plastic dough boxes, which should be cross-stacked on top of each other for up to 90 minutes before leaving overnight. This assists in air circulation to cool the dough, but if you leave them ‘open’ for too long you run the risk of your dough drying out. So after 90 minutes, stack the dough boxes inside each other, allowing the dough to proof overnight.
Theo Kalogeracos
Theo Kalogeracos
pizza dough base
pizza dough base