Single Pizza Dough Ball

Ken Forkish

"The Elements of Pizza"

You can adjust any pizza dough recipe to make just a single dough ball and expect good results: just divide the weight of each ingredient by three. The process and timing remain the same. Ken Forkish uses this recipe for single dough ball in his carbonara pizza.


  • 116 grams water
  • 5 grams fine sea salt
  • 0.1 grams instant dried yeast    
  • 166 grams white flour, preferably 00    


Measure and Combine the Ingredients
Using your digital scale, measure 116 grams of 90° to 95°F water into a container. For a recipe this small, a large bowl will be fine—you don’t need to pull out the dough tub. Measure 5 grams of fine sea salt, add it to the water, and stir until it’s dissolved. Measure 0.1 gram ( 1⁄10 of 1⁄4 teaspoon) of instant dried yeast. Add the yeast to the water and stir or swish it around until dissolved. This takes a couple of minutes. Continuous stirring is not required. Add 166 grams of flour (preferably 00) to the water-salt-yeast mixture.

Mix the Dough
Mix by hand, first by stirring your hand around inside the dough tub to integrate the flour, water, salt, and yeast into a single mass of dough. Then use the pincer method to cut the dough in sections with your hand, alternating with folding the dough to develop it back into a unified mass. Continue for just 30 seconds to 1 minute. The target dough temperature at the end of the mix is 80°F; use your probe thermometer to check it.

Knead and First Rise
Let the dough rest for 20 minutes, then knead it on a work surface with a moderate dusting of flour for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. The skin of the dough should be very smooth. Place the dough ball seam side down in a lightly oiled container. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or plastic wrap. Hold the dough for 2 hours at room temperature (I’m assuming 70° to 75°F) for the first rise.

Shape the dough into a medium-tight round, working gently and being careful not to tear the dough.

Second Fermentation
Place the dough ball on lightly floured plate, flour the top, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 6 hours for the second fermentation. Alternatively, you can rest the dough ball for 4 hours at room temperature, and then refrigerate to hold for up to the next evening.

Make Pizza
Make pizza anytime in the 4 hours following the second stage of fermentation. If you refrigerated the dough ball, let it come to room temperature for an hour while you preheat the oven and prepare your toppings.

Reprinted with permission from The Elements of Pizza by Ken Forkish, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


1 dough ball