I hope this question is not too vague but let me try anyway. I followed a NK recipe for a pizza with the following baker's percentages

100% flour with 13% protein and W300/320 according to the manufacturer's website

75% water

0.2% dry yeast

2% salt

then some SF folds, 1hr at room temp, then 18h fridge and the last 4.5h again at room temp. The volume did increase compared to the day before, not too much but enough to make me decide to go forth and not tossing everything.

When I tried to stretch it on a surface dusted with semolina flour (see below), the structure seemed quite loose and, although I could move it from the working surface to the baking dish, I obtained some thin spots and a "mattress" effect in other points.

If this were a kneaded dough, one could say that the lack of structure is due to lack of mechanical work, but what can be said in the NK case?

Perhaps this flour couldn't make the whole water in a NK recipe, although I find online stories of people who make 80% hydration with it with no problem.

During the mixing, I noticed was that the first 80% of the water could be mixed all right and when I finally added the remaining, the dough started to become suspiciously wet. But also I thought: it's a NK, it is supposed to be wet, right?

Moreover I wonder about the stretching technique itself. Many "roman style pan pizza" are about 80% hydration and are stretched out on a board dusted with semolina flour, then flipped to lose the excess flour and then moved to the sheet. It is exactly during this flip that I noticed how loose my dough was. This technique is used for kneaded doughs, though.

In other NK recipe I execute, the dough is stretched directly on the baking sheet greased with oil. On one hand, in this way I have no clue how loose my gluten structure is, on the other, I don't make a mess and I can obtain a uniformly stretched pizza/focaccia. Comparing these techniques, does it make sense to say that the former is more indicated for kneaded doughs and the latter for NK?


To create gluten from glutenins and gliadins mechanical work is required. So if you want to stick with the NK approach, switching to an even stronger type of flour (Manitoba) or special purpose flour (e.g. Mulino Caputo Nuvola Super) might be your only option. But even then chances are high that the results will not be as good as they could be.

  • Thanks, I do know the Caputo products and the Nuvola is less strong than W300/320. Plus, and this is my personal opinion, I think it's like the Pizzeria (W260/280) and you're paying the marketing work – David P Jun 27 '20 at 21:11
  • Well, from looking at the specs they seem to be too different 0 W 320-340 vs. 00 W 260-270 to me to be just a marketing trick. But even if they were completely identical and considering modern milling as a highly industrialized process, I wouldn`t expect two brands (or even batches) with same parameters to be identical as there are still too much other factors involved like nature or taste. However, please keep this thread updated on your progress. – J. Mueller Jun 29 '20 at 8:53
  • I mean that caputo nuvola is similar to pizzeria which and both are less strong than w300. So switching to one or them is not going stronger type but probably going special purpose. The original w300 I used was caputo cuoco. – David P Jun 29 '20 at 9:19

The no-knead doughs that I've worked with simply are loose by design. The high-hydration means that it's just not going to behave like other yeast breads.

Some recipes, like from the book 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day' call for adding flour on top of the dough after it's risen, so that you can actually work it. You then need to work it some to build up a sufficiently strong skin so that it will rise rather than simply spread.

If I'm using it for a pizza crust, I treat it more like a foccaccia in shaping, rather than stretching it like a pizza:

  • add flour to the container on top of the dough
  • extract the appropriate amount of dough (tucking in any stray bits so it's vaguely round)
  • dip it back into the flour so there aren't any sticky edges,
  • gently lay the dough onto a work surface (or straight into the pan for skillet pizza)
  • use spread out finger tips to gently push the dough to the width and thickness that you want.

If try stretching it too quickly, and it thins (or develop holes) in some places, put your fingers on either side of thinned area, and pinch them together to try to fix the area.

I wouldn't try spinning it, and would avoid pulling the dough to get it really thing unless you had already spread it out most of the way, making sure the thickness is consistent.

You also can't hold the dough for very long after it's been shaped. If you do, the flour will absorb the moisture from the dough, and the whole things becomes a sticky mess ... this makes moving it to the oven a real mess. I would suggest working on top of a sheet of parchment (a pizza screen might work) if you're going to need to transfer it to a pizza stone or similar, but working on a greased sheet pan as your recipe calls for should be fine.

I would not try flipping the dough, or lifting it up, as it simply stretches too easily. Using refrigerator temperature dough makes it a little more forgiving, but I will still avoid doing anything more than spreading it while on a surface, rather than working in the air like traditional pizza dough.

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