I have long been a fan of Jim Lahey's "no-knead" bread (and of Chau's "Lazy Man's Bread"). So I was very excited to learn that Lahey would be bringing out a pizza book based on his no-knead method. "My Pizza" finally arrived at our local library so I checked it out and made some pizzas according to his recipe and method. The recipe is pretty similar to many others on pizzamaking.com 70% hydration using .5% yeast and 3% salt. He recommends either AP flour or bread flour, stating that there's not much difference between the two (heresy!). You mix the ingredients and leave it on the counter for 18 hours or until the dough is more than doubled. Then you form your dough balls and make your pizzas.
Lahey's recommended method for baking the pizzas involves placing a rack with pizza stone about 4 inches from the electric heating element in the oven (8 inches if your broiler is gas), then heating the oven on bake at 500 or 550 for at least half an hour, then when you are ready to bake the pizzas, preheat the stone on broil for 10 minutes. Then you bake your pizza on the superheated stone using the broiler to cook the pizza quickly. I know this method has been recommended by members of this forum but I've never tried it before. I have to say that although it didn't work perfectly, my pizzas came out really well and I enjoyed the texture and flavor. My oven usually takes about 6-8 minutes to bake a pizza; using Lahey's method they took about 2 minutes. That's a big difference. As you can see, the tops got really charred, probably too charred, but I do like a bit of char on the top, so with some adjustments I think it will work fine. The crumb was very moist and tender, which I attribute at least partly to the shorter bake time. The only problem with this method is that my smoke alarm went off every time I removed a pizza from the oven. I think the residual flour on the stone was getting burned by the broiler, resulting in enough smoke to trip the smoke alarm.
Overall I think Lahey's book, recipe and methods are very good, and I will plan on using this method in the future. I think I will move the rack down a bit so the pizzas bake just a bit slower without some much charring on top. I've attached some photos for everyone to see how the pizzas looked. One is plain tomato sauce with mozzarella and white cheddar, the other is Brussels sprouts tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and Korean hot pepper Mmmm good.