Straight Dough

Mary Ann Esposito


This dough is called straight dough because is doesn't use a sponge and because it is uncomplicated to put together, requiring just four ingredients: water, yeast, unbleached flour and salt. The ingredients may be combined by hand, or in a heavy-duty mixer.


1 package active dry yeast (0.25 ounces)
1 3/4 cups warm (110°to 115°F) filtered or bottled noncarbonated water
1 tablespoon Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
4 to 4 1/2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons fine sea salt


To Make the dough using the fontana method, in a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in ½ cup of the water, stirring to mix well. Let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes, or until tiny clusters of chalky-looking bubbles appear on the surface. Stir the remaining 1 ¼ cups water and the olive oil into the proofed yeast.

Mound the flour on a work surface and make a hole in the center of the flour (this is the fontana). Sprinkle the salt over the flour. Carefully pour the yeast mixture into the hole. Using your fingers, begin bringing the flour from the inside wall of the fontana into the liquid, working in a clockwise movement as you incorporate the flour. Be careful not to break through the wall; if any liquid does leak out, catch it with some of the flour, a shaggy, lumpy mass will form; add just enough flour to make a dough that holds together. Push the excess flour to the side with a bench knife.

Now you are ready to knead the dough: Knead until you have a soft ball of dough that is slightly tacky but not sticking to your hands, about 5 minutes. Lightly spray a large bowl with oil spray, put the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.

To make the dough by hand in a bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl and proof as directed above, then add the remaining 1 ¼ cups water and the olive oil. Begin adding the flour to the yeast mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing it in well with your hands. Add the salt with the third cup flour. Add just enough flour so that the dough comes together in a shaggy mass. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and follow the directions above for kneading and rising.

To make the dough in an electric mixer, pour the amount of warm water indicated in the recipe for dissolving the yeast into the bowl of the mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Attach the dough hook or batter paddle to the mixer and on low speed, mix the yeast into the water. Let the yeast proof as directed above, then add the remaining water into the bowl and stir on low speed to blend the yeast and water.

Add the flour 1 cup at a time, stirring on low speed to blend the ingredients. Add the salt with the third addition of flour. Turn the speed to medium-high and add just enough additional flour to create a dough that moves away from the sides of the bowl and clings to the dough hook or batter paddle. Stop the machine and feel the dough. It should be soft, but not sticky or gummy.

If it is too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the right consistency is obtained. If the dough is dry and crumbly, add a little water, about a teaspoon at a time, until the dough becomes soft and smooth. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and follow the directions above for kneading and rising.

When the dough has risen and is almost doubled in size, it is ready to be used in this month's recipes.

item recipe is featured in Episode 0 of Season 0.

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  1. Diane Vestin's avatar

    Diane Vestin

    | Permalink
    I've been going crazy looking for MaryAnn's recipe for the fast rising pizza dough. You know. The one that uses the yeast that you don't have to let rise. Could you steer me towards it? I'd really appreciate it. Just send the recipe to the e-mail above. Thanks!

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