What Is Poolish Pizza Dough And How To Make It?

by | Jan 4, 2023

If you’ve been making pizza dough at home, you’re definitely familiar with terms like dough starter, indirect dough, preferment, biga, and poolish.

If you use a pre-ferment like poolish when making pizza dough, you won’t even need yeast. Only a sprinkling of yeast is needed to get the fermentation process going.

Pre-ferments for dough, like those used to make sourdough and other fermented bread, are fairly well-known.

However, did you know that pre-ferments are also commonly used to make the best pizza?

Poolish-based pizzas are easier to make and have a better texture and chew than other methods.

If you want to try something new for pizza crust, give poolish pizza dough a shot. It has the potential to become your go-to pizza dough recipe.

Poolish pizza being cut

What is Poolish?

To improve the flavor and extensibility of the crust, a pre-ferment called poolish is mixed into the final dough.

You can make your own poolish with only flour, water, and a little yeast.

Then, you allow it to ferment for 24 hours so that gluten and flavor can form.

Unlike traditional Italian pizza, Neapolitan pizza rarely features the French baking ingredient. However, unlike poolish, the traditional Italian starter biga is more time-consuming to make and use.

The most important step is fermenting your poolish so the gluten can develop. Long, slow fermentation improves the flavor of your dough by infusing it with more complex aromas.

Since poolish is made separately from the main dough, adding it gives the yeast more time to generate flavor.

Prolonged fermentation allows yeast to consume more flour abrasions, enhancing flavor. This makes the dough more digestible.

Long fermentation helps wheat gluten develop. When you knead the dough, you force-hydrate the gluten, creating a stronger structure.

When the gluten network grows spontaneously through hydration, the structure changes.

For this reason, prolonged, progressive soaking makes the poolish more elastic, which results in stretchier dough.

This will also result in a crust that is higher and lighter than usual since the dough will expand more when water evaporates during baking.


Biga vs. Poolish

A preferment is a portion of the dough that is made ahead of time and then added to the finished product for added flavor and functionality.

When added to the dough, a preferment reduces the amount of time needed for mixing and promotes rapid fermentation.

There are two types of ferments: those made with commercial yeast and those made with levain, which is a mixture of wild yeast and bacteria.

When it comes to making bread or dough, sourdough starting, biga starter, and poolish starter are fantastic options. They contribute gluten to the dough as well as organic acids.

Any type of preferment can enhance flavors and promote the development of gluten structure for enhanced rising and oven spring.

Between the three, there are a few variances. The Poolish is always 100% water.

While the Biga’s water content may range from 50% to 100%, depending on the flavor or use.

You may sometimes add salt to biga, but never to poolish.

Knowing when to include preferment into the dough is essential.

There is a great deal of moisture, allowing the dough to expand, and the amount of yeast and water in the three preferments determines how mature they are.

Eggs and baking equipment


Making the perfect pizza requires the right ingredients and when making your best pizza from scratch, of course, you need to have the right ingredients to make the recipe.

You’ll be needing:

  • 5 grams of fresh yeast
  • 300 ml of lukewarm water
  • 300 grams of all-purpose flour
  • Teaspoon of honey

Keep in mind that you can either use instant yeast, dry yeast, or active dry yeast, to make a poolish pizza dough. Although, the measurements for the ingredients you will be needing may differ.


Instructions on How to Make Poolish Pizza Dough

Before getting started with all the pizza preparations, making the poolish dough is the first step.

Step 1: Mix the yeast in a large mixing bowl, add 300 ml of warm water and a teaspoon of honey, stir to combine, and then pour the mixture into a bowl with 300 g of flour.

Step 2: Stir the mixture well, cover it with plastic wrap, and let the mixture sit at room temperature or just simply place it on your countertop overnight.

As you can see, creating a poolish is as simple as mixing flour and water.

While you are sleeping, the yeast will work its magic, and when you wake up the next morning, your sponge will be ready to use.

If it has doubled in size and has a highly bubbly top, you may be sure that everything went according to plan.

Now, let’s move on to making the poolish pizza dough. You will be needing:

  • Your poolish dough
  • 800 grams of bread flour
  • 300 ml water
  • 20 grams of table salt

Step 1: Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and pour your poolish dough, mixing it with some salt.

Step 2: Pour the mixture onto a work area once the majority of the flour has been combined, then knead it until you have a cohesive dough. You may use a stand mixer for this, too.

Step 3: When the dough is done, return it to the bowl, wrap it in plastic wrap, and set it aside to rest for 3 to 24 hours.

As a side note worth taking, you’ll know your dough has the appropriate consistency when it feels elastic but not sticky

If you think it’s too sticky, you may need to add a little flour to get the appropriate consistency.

Neapolitan Pizza with Poolish

Poolish (or any other type of starter) pizza requires an additional step in the dough-making process.

The starter is made first, then allowed to ferment, before being combined with the other ingredients to produce the main dough.

Due to this additional procedure, it will take an additional 2–24 hours to prepare.

Less than five minutes will be required to mix the poolish; the rest is simply waiting. Poolish pizza requires careful planning.

Pizza Napoletana, often known as Neapolitan pizza, is an Italian pizza with origins in Naples.

This delicious pizza is made with simple and fresh ingredients, including ordinary dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil.

However, if you follow a good recipe for poolish pizza dough, you can make authentic Neapolitan-style pizza at home.

Prep Time: 48 hours

Cooking Time: 90 minutes

Total Time: 2 days, 1 hour & 30 minutes

making poolish pizza dough


To make this recipe, you will be needing:

  • 1000g pizza flour
  • 600ml water
  • 25g fine sea salt
  • 1g instant dry yeast
  • Neapolitan pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese


Use sturdy flour that can withstand prolonged fermentation while preparing poolish pizza that will rise and ferment for more than 24 hours. The amount of gluten in the wheat is also crucial.

The method for producing poolish pizza dough is the same; you may scroll up to look at the reference for a second in-depth read.

And before starting with anything else, make sure to use your kitchen scale to double-check the weight of your ingredients before making the recipe.

Step 1: Allow bulk fermentation to continue for at least another two hours after kneading your poolish dough, which you will use to make your pizza dough.

A side note to take, at around 95° F, yeast feeds and creates carbon dioxide most quickly, proofing the dough quickly.

After combining the dough, many bakers choose to place it in the refrigerator to slow down fermentation.

So, you can place the pizza dough inside your refrigerator for a cold ferment, but you need an air-tight container for the dough as it can get dry easily and will get drier once you work with it.

Step 2: Remove the rising container from the dough and divide it into equal parts, making 6 dough balls as Neapolitan pizzas are made from individual dough balls.

Step 3: Then, place the dough balls in an airtight container or a rising box and let them rise for a further eight hours.

Step 4: Create a small mound of flour in your work area to start.

Then, using a dough scraper, remove one pizza dough ball from the rising box and set it in the flour. Make sure the work surface is not sticky.

Shake off any extra flour, then transfer the dough ball to a spotless workspace. To begin, flatten the pizza’s center to create an even foundation.

However, leave a rim that is about 1/2 inch thick uncut (1cm). In the oven, this will expand and get that lovely, crispy, and soft edge.

Step 5: Next, sprinkle mozzarella cheese and marinara pizza sauce over the pizza. However, it would be preferable if you added your favorite toppings.

Step 6: Pizza oven heating should be done first. It should take no more than 30 minutes to reach a temperature on the floor of around 800°F (430°C).

Step 7: Slide the pizza into the oven after it has reached the temperature for cooking. After around 90 seconds, the pizza should be finished.

Take it out of the oven when the timer goes off and savor your hot, fresh Neapolitan pizza.

man spreading flour over pizza dough

Final Thoughts

Pizza Dough with Poolish is a simple approach to increase texture, extensibility, and structure in addition to producing a much richer taste profile.

This pre-ferment, which resembles a sponge, is a terrific technique to cut the yeast in half and improve the food’s digestibility.

Using poolish in your Neapolitan pizza dough will primarily enhance the taste and consistency of the crust.

Using poolish is a simple technique to quickly produce a dough that has the texture and flavor of a lengthy, slowly fermented dough.

In general, a poolish is faster and simpler to prepare and can be (best) used to make thin-crust pizzas as well as bread with a crispy or chewy crust.

You’ll love it even more than conventional pizza dough, and we guarantee that every beginner can make one!

Written By SEODave777

David Nilsson is the founder of The SEO Back Office and former SEO agency Converted Click. Passionate about people, search engines, faith, technology and boxing.

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