Chez Panisse Pizza
Russell called this ‘Pizza from Heaven.’

Make a sponge by mixing together
0.25 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp. active dry yeast
0.25 cup rye flour

Let it rise 20 to 30 minutes, then add
0.5 cup lukewarm water
1 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. olive oil
0.5 tsp salt
1.75 cups unbleached all-purpose flour


Mix the dough with a wooden spoon, then knead on a floured board. It will be soft and a little sticky. Use quick light motions with your hands so the dough won’t stick. Add more flour to the board as you knead, but no more than is absolutely necessary. A soft moist dough makes a light and very crispy crust. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes to develop strength and elasticity in the dough. Pur it in a bowl rubbed with olive oil, and oil the surface of the dough to prevent a crust from forming. Cover the bowl with a towel and put it in a warm place, approximately 90F to 110F. An oven heated just by its pilot light is a good spot. Let the dough rise to double its size, for about 2 hours, then punch it down. Let it rise about 40 minutes more, then shape and bake it. This recipe makes one 12-14 inch pizza, or several small ones.

Preheat the oven to 450 or 500 degrees with a baking stone or unglazed ceramic tiles in the oven. Use the back of a baking sheet to put the pizza into the oven.

Flatten the dough on a heavily floured board. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to roughly 12 to 14 inches in diameter. The dough should be 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a paddleor baking sheet, also heavily floured. Have your toppings ready, at room temperature, and work quickly putting thenm on the pizza. After a minute or so it will begin to stick, and will be impossible to slide off the paddle. Give the paddle a few shakes back and forth to make sure the dough is loose. Slide the pizza from the paddle onto the hot stone with an abrupt jerking mostion of your wrist. This takes a certain knack but comes easily after a few tries. The pizza will be browned and cooked in 12 to 14 mninutes.

From Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza, & Calzone, 1984.