Pizza (Pulp Fiction + Jim Lahey)

I’ve never seen Pulp Fiction. It got so much hype that I quickly lost interest. It’s a problem I have. I avoided seeing it until it seemed too late to see it and by then it had become sort of a badge of honor. People are horrified: You’ve never seen Pulp Fiction? Yeah, so what?

It was kind of like that with Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread. Everyone was going crazy for that recipe and I waited just a little too long to try it and then decided it was stupid. Until last month when I got a beautiful new Le Creuset dutch oven as a housewarming gift and for some reason decided to break down and make the bread. Turns out I’m the stupid one.

I am now a Jim Lahey missionary spreading the gospel of no-knead bread far and wide. I make that bread on an almost weekly basis. I now own Lahey’s My Bread and while the breads are deservedly the stars of the show I was curious about his pizza recipes. I was happy to discover that they are as easy as the bread and quite delicious. In a couple of hours you can make this amazingly crisp and flavorful pie which holds up to whatever toppings you choose to use. This weekend we had our friends Tony and Mikaela over for lunch and served an onion version of the pizza with a green salad. Everyone seemed to agree that it was very good pizza.

An added bonus is that this recipe makes enough for two pizzas. You can throw the other piece of dough in the fridge or freezer and have a quick weeknight dinner. We ate ours the next day topped with some tomatoes and fresh basil. This is probably the 4th or 5th time I have made this pizza in the month or two since I bought the book. It is incredibly easy and so very tasty.

So, don’t be stupid. Make this now.

If you don’t need two pizzas you can put the other half of dough in a lightly oiled freezer bag and keep it in the fridge for a day or in the freezer for a month or so. Defrost frozen dough in refrigerator overnight and then let the refrigerated dough come to room temperature before stretching and baking. If you have a scale, now is the time to use it. Baking is so much better by weight. Trust me. Recipe makes two pizzas, each serves 4.

Pizza Dough (adapted from Jim Lahey)

  • 500 grams bread flour (3 3/4 cups)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast (10 grams)
  • 3/4 teaspoons table salt (5 grams)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar, plus a pinch (about 3 grams)
  • 1 1/3 – 1 1/2 cups room temperature water
  • extra-virgin olive oil for pans

In a medium bowl, stir together the bread flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until blended, at least 30 seconds. The dough should be able to contain all of the flour, if it seems dry or if there is excess flour at the bottom of the bowl, add water a tablespoon at a time.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the dough has doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Oil two 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheets. (I used about 2 tablespoons of oil per sheet) Use a bowl scraper or a rubber spatula to scrape half of the dough onto one of the well oiled pans in one piece. Gently pull and stretch the dough across the surface of the pan, using your hands to press it evenly out to the edges. If the dough sticks to your fingers you can lightly oil your hands. Pinch any holes together. Repeat with the second piece using the other pan. Top with:

Pizza Cipolla

  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 500° F.

Use a mandoline, or very sharp knife, to cut the onions into thin slices (1/8-inch thick). You want about 6 cups of sliced onions. In a medium bowl, toss together the onions, cream, salt and thyme.

Spread the onion mixture over the dough going all of the way to the edges. There should be more onions around the edges of the dough since they tend to cook faster.

Bake for 25-35 minutes until the topping is turning golden brown and crust is slightly charred. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Pizza Pomodoro

  • 14 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3/4 cup reserved juice of canned tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 6-8 large leaves of fresh basil, chopped

Preheat the oven to 500° F.

Use a blender or food processor to pulse together the tomatoes, juice, olive oil and salt until they are chunky. The mixture will be quite liquidy.

Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the dough, going all the way to the edges. You want the sauce thickest along the edges which will cool fastest. Sprinkle with a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges are slightly charred. Sprinkle with basil and serve hot or at room temperature.

50 comments to “Pizza (Pulp Fiction + Jim Lahey)”

  1. Ahhh…my mom just bought this book and I’ve been coveting it! And this made me laugh because I’ve always been the same about Indiana Jones movies…yep, never seen them. Hah, sue me :)

    Great post. Looking forward to trying it out.

  2. I thought it was mark bittman who went on NPR and bragged about how great his no knead breads are…I guess I am wrong!

  3. 1 1/3 – 1 1/2 WHAT?? of room temperature water?

  4. hi tim!
    happy new year. i’m so excited I’m going to make this pizza tomorrow!!!
    question: I love your images, and I’m getting set to start a food blog of my own! WHat kind of camera do you use? Do you have any food photog tips?
    Come visit us again soon in nyc! Ben Jones and I love your blog!!


  5. A fantastic site truly-why didn i find this earlier?

  6. Am jus drooling taking a walk all over ur site-i feel like i missed so mucvery muc but yeah we can catch up…im into cookies now and need all the good crunchy cookies i can get-i love a not very thin crunchy crisp type of cookie.
    Your chocolate caramel tart is awesome…..U are so so gooddddddddddddd

  7. you havent seen pulp fiction!!!!!!!!!!! hahahaha

  8. Well the pizzas look great. But you never told us, after this revelation, will you give Pulp Fiction a chance? :)

  9. In Europe the no-knead method was long popular before Lahey. Why is everybody crediting him as the god of bread-making? Research.

  10. It’s wonderful pizza.

    Now in china. more and more housewives make pizza at home, Pizza Hut also is becoming a kind of popular fast food as KFC or McDonald’s.

    PS: I also am writing a blog about food, Compare with yours, I know the people from different country enjoy different food. It’s fun.

  11. Jenny, Mark Bittman went on NPR and bragged about how great Jim Lahey’s bread was.
    And I am sure people didn’t knead their bread before Lahey, but he sure made it famous.
    I still haven’t seen Pulp Fiction! So what?!

  12. A few funny things about this post: 1. I too have been stupid about not making Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread, and have been intending to make it for ages. 2. I have recently been craving pizza. So…………guess I know what’s on the upcoming menu! Thanks for the the post–this all looks perfect. I’m excited to try it. I like the sounds of the Pizza Cipolla.

  13. That onion pie looks so so amazing. I need to make it.

    Honestly, I fell asleep during Pulp Fiction a few years ago and never managed to re-watch it.

  14. I have just the same story about no-knead bread! I got a Le Creuset for Christmas, and I’ve been making loaves weekly since. Will duly take your advice re: pizza. Thanks!

  15. I agree on both counts. LOVE the book and use it weekly. Pulp Fiction? I don’t get it.

  16. Tim, I recently bought this book, too. I LOVE the bread, but have tried making the pizza twice with lackluster results. Each time I have not measured by weight…maybe that’s the problem? I have a real difficult time forming the dough into something resembling a pizza. It doesn’t seem pliable. Any thoughts or tricks? Thanks. I enjoy your blog.

  17. Hi Jenny! My guess is that you need to add more water. The recipe calls for 1 1/3 cups of water which has never been enough for me (and I measure by weight). I end up adding at least an extra 1/4 cup of water every time. He says the dough will be stiffer than the no-knead bread dough (which is very wet) but it still needs to be moist. Does that make any sense with your experiences? I haven’t had any trouble forming the dough, it is soft and pliable after rising… Let me know if you try again!

  18. ha ha! I haven’t made the bread either! well, it’s because I have no oven, but will soon. love that very first photo, killer.

  19. AHHH! I miss that onion pizza. It was AMAZING! I am STILL thinking about it. AND about your lovely hospitality. Oh, and can I have your light fixture?

  20. We love this book!!! We have not tried the pizza dough YET but your photos have inspired me. Love your blog!

  21. I just got his book! Will be using it soon. ‘Pulp Fiction’? The title says it all !

  22. someone once commented on one of your posts, calling this blog pristine. and that’s exactly the word i was looking for to describe your writing. i enjoy it very much and totally understand the part with keeping away from stuff with too much hype [ok i read harry potter and enjoyed it too]. oh, and it’s ok, i haven’t seen the matrix [!!]

    try adding to the cipolla a generous amount of roasted peppers. makes the pizza a little more of a time-taking-production [you have to roast them yourself and peel off the skin] but it’s so, so worth it. promise.

  23. Thanks, Shira… for the kind words and the good tip!

  24. Thanks, Tim! I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ll give it another go this weekend and report back.

  25. how timely this is as i was wondering what to do about dinner tonight – my husband will be thrilled as he considers pizza a food group all on its own! love the site and always look forward to seeing what’s cooking up in Chicago-land – thanks Tim!

  26. The thing is to sort through for yourself what is media hype and what is hype that comes from word of mouth about something actually worth looking into. If you become too jaded by media manipulation, you just miss out on the good stuff. But it can be tricky, that’s for sure. As long as you’re not buying the action figures : ) you should be ok, haha…

    Haven’t tried this bread due to the gluten issue, but if I ate bread, I’d probably make this weekly too – looks great.

  27. PS: I saw Pulp Fiction, and it was entertaining all right, but once was enough. My life is not yet so stress free that I need to pay to watch other people stressing out!

  28. The pizzas are beautiful. Now I am craving onions! I had a bread disaster this weekend and was also quite skeptical about no knead bread. I will most definitely need to give it a try. P.S. I feel the same way you feel about “pulp fiction” about Napoleon Dynamic. To much hype, heard too many people quote the “funny” parts. I simply just missed the boat on that one. ; )

  29. the flavors are simple and gorgeous!

  30. Tim, I’m confused. Kneading bread is fun. Why would anybody not want to do it? The world is getting so fast and easy these days. I think we all need to slow down. With bread kneading. And a movie. Like Avatar, which is Pulp Fiction of my generation.

  31. I was a late-comer to the no-knead bread phenomenon, too. It wasn’t because I had any opinions about it one way or another. It was because I somehow missed the “buzz” entirely when it first began. Doh! This, despite the fact that I scan the NYT daily, and read the NYT food section weekly. Once I tried Lahey’s recipe, however, I was an immediate convert.

    Haven’t tried the pizza yet, but based on that first photo, will have to do so… soon. Your (always gorgeous) photos remind me of the pizzas in Italy, many of which don’t have any cheese at all, but are so crisp and fresh, you don’t even miss it.

  32. The Waspy Redhead says:

    January 20th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I will definitely be giving this recipe a shot! I encourage you to give Pulp Fiction a shot too :) it’s Bern out for like 15 years right? So the hype will have died down.

  33. YAY! i’ve finally found someone else who hasn’t seen pulp fiction besides me!!

  34. Oh my lord that onion pizza looks heavenly! I’m going to try that one asap. Beautiful photos :)

  35. What I love best about your pizza is the free-form shape. So rustic — it makes me hungry just looking at it.

    I’ve been avoiding the no-knead bread trend myself… but just this past weekend I started having second thoughts. And yeah, it’s probably going to happen. Just not sure when…

  36. I have seen Pulp Fiction but I haven’t made The Bread. I have no good reason, just being stupid like you say. I’m going to buy that damn book and start.

  37. This looks wonderful! Can’t wait to try it.

  38. First of all I am addicted to your mac and cheese recipe. Made it again yesterday! Serving it tonight with duck-sinful! Second-I made your pizza dough yesterday and it was the BEST pizza ever!!!!
    I love love love it!!! Thank YOU!

  39. We made this last night and I couldn’t stop eating it. I also can’t believe how easy it was to make! mmmmmm. Count us in as converts.

  40. Okay, Tim, I gave this recipe another try. I used a scale this time and added more water per your suggestion. The dough looked much much better. It doubled in size and was definitely more pliable. I think I may have been guilty of adding too much water, as it was a little too sticky making it difficult to handle. Had a smidge of trouble with it sticking to my pan…..But all in all the flavor was good and it truly is a cinch to make. Thanks, again for your help! And for your great blog.

  41. it’s happening with me and Julie&Julia… my friends all have seen the movie and keep telling me ‘it’s you!!!, I kept thinking that the movie is your face’ but I am scared to see it. Do I really want to discover how my friends see me? I’m sure I am loosing a great movie though…
    Maria – Portugal

  42. Love for adding grams. You have made international readers’ lives so much easier!

  43. I too have had to use about a 1/4 cup water extra each time I have made the pizza dough. I tried it once simply following Lahey’s directions with additional water, and there was un-incorporated flour after the first rise. Easy enough save with a little more water and proofing time. I also find with my electric oven that his temps. are generally 25 degrees to high as well.
    If the dough is really fighting you when trying to stretch it out in the pan, let it rise for another 15-30 minutes.
    While there have been other no-knead books in America before, what makes Lahey’s method truly innovative is the use of a closed cooking vessel to recreate the conditions of a professional oven. The steam produced in a Le Creuset or cast iron pot gives it that satisfying crust.

  44. Tim, I have used this recipe 4-5 times now, and am coming back to it again today. I wanted to thank you for posting such great recipes all the time, and with such a great spirit. You are interesting, thoughtful, and successful in the kitchen, and your blog is one of my favorites! This weekend I made the apple cider cream pie you recently posted, and like everything else I’ve made from your blog, it was a huge success!! xx

  45. Emily! Thanks so much for that nice message. It really means a lot to me. I almost made this pizza again on Sunday, but ran out of time. It is one of my favorites. And I will be making that apple cider cream pie on thanksgiving. Can’t wait.

  46. Thank you for this recipe. I have made it at least four times in the last month, and everybody who tries it raves and wants the recipe. I found your blog about 2 months ago, and every recipe I’ve tried has been great. I appreciate the aesthetics of your blog as much as the recipes! Keep up the good work…

  47. Oh, and I think you should see Pulp Fiction. It is truly great.

  48. Just made this dough…..ahhhhh-maze-ing (can’t wait to make it again and try out other recipes from you)! Love your blog, just pinned the heck outta it on Pinterest (myAntNee). Keep up the great work and happy eating!

  49. sarainamerica says:

    August 31st, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    I made this last night from your site and LOVED it, but do you really mean for this to bake 30-35 minutes? Wouldn’t that really burn/crisp such a thin crust pizza at 500 degrees? I did mine for about 10 minutes and the bottom was nicely browned. Please let me know if I’m missing something?

  50. Hi Sara- Yep, I baked for about just shy of 30 minutes, as Lahey’s recipe recommends. It gives it some char on top and the crust is crisp, though not burnt. Maybe your oven runs hot?

What do you think?