jim-laheys-pizza-bianca Recipes

jim lahey’s pizza bianca

Much to most New Yorkers’ aggravation, television screens were added the backseat of most taxicabs last year, effectively poisoning the one place left in the city not already inundated with a constant media blitz. Whenever I get in one, and yes, the television is always on, I immediately hit mute, but then find that I’m watching the images broadcast on the back of the front seat and not this gorgeous city whizzing by and then usually force myself to turn it off completely and restore my view to the window, frustrated that the choice has to be so complicated. I don’t like them one bit.

n'th picture of pizza dough

But. There was this one time, I think I was zipping out to a friend’s this past winter and I still remember exactly what street the cab was on–Houston–when I had to drop everything and turn the volume up because what I saw before me was too awesome to resist: Jim Lahey making Pizza Bianca for a Time Out New York segment. And hoo boy, did I ever fall hard for it.

rolling out dough

A little background: Jim Lahey’s name may be familiar because he’s the guy who teamed up with Mark Bittman of the New York Times in November 2005 to show him the No Knead Bread-Making Technique Heard Around the Internet. In New York, he’s famous for his work at Sullivan Street Bakery and in my tiny corner of this city, he’s famous for teasing us for months about opening a pizza place so close to our apartment, I feel certain he’ll be cooking me dinner several nights a week, which is still plywooded despite a promised mid-December opening date not that I’m counting the days, minutes, seconds or anything.

lots of olive oil

Back to that day in the cab, the video–followed by another of Patsy Grimaldi, making the pizza that made both his first and last name famous–it was hard for me not to press my nose against the screen and I spent the next two months hoping against hope that I would find myself in a cab playing this video again. When this finally happened–an otherwise horrible morning when I was running so late for work, I had no other choice but to throw money at the problem–I was consumed with such joy, it was hard not to jump up and down in the backseat. The funniest part was that it was only then that I realized how remarkably simple it was, but it didn’t stop me from trying to hunt down a recipe as soon as I got home, which brought me to Martha Stewart’s site, and yes, I am totally jealous that he has made that pizza for her and not for the girl who has been trying to sneak peeks at his next effort through plyboard cracks for one-hundred-and-eighty days.

jim lahey's pizza bianca

Nevertheless, after gasping breathlessly over this schacciata, as they say it in Italy, for several paragraphs you may be confused as to the fact that it’s just pizza dough with olive oil and rosemary but there is no “just” about it. Finished with a little sea salt, I’m in love with the complexity behind its simplicity. We slice it into odd shapes and eat it with a big mixed greens salad, proscuitto, cheese and toasted marcona almonds on nights when we want a low-fuss dinner. One time–shh, don’t tell anyone–I made it with a pizza dough from a local place when it was too late after the gym to make our own and it was nearly as awesome. I’ve decided I’d rather bring this out, even with a pre-made pizza dough, than any baguette or bread next time we have people over. It doesn’t hurt that it makes the apartment smell like heaven.

jim lahey's pizza bianca

Thank you: So much for all of the suggestions for Prague and Vienna, as well as those of you who volunteered your WordPress services. We’ll be in touch!

One year ago: Tequila Lime Chicken

Jim Lahey’s Pizza Bianca
Sullivan Street Bakery via a TONY taxicab video via MarthaStewart.com but not really, because it turned out that recipe was all wrong. This is correct.

Makes two long pizzas

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary

1. Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer, and slowly add 1 cup cold water. Mix on low speed until ingredients begin to combine, increase speed to medium-high, and continue to mix for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth, elastic, and cleanly pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.

2. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and allow to rest for 2 to 4 hours until it has doubled in size. Split the dough into halves, and form each into a log. Place each log on a generously floured surface, and allow it to rest until the formed dough doubles in size again, at least 1 hour.

3. Put dough on a lightly floured baker’s peel. Dimple dough by pressing it down with your fingertips. Work the dough outward toward the edges of the peel until you reach your desired size and thickness, about 1/4 inch. [Or in our case, realize that I forgot to do this, and instead rolled it out!] Drizzle with remaining olive oil, rosemary and sprinkle with remaining salt.

4. Place a baking stone, sometimes known as a pizza stone, in the oven. Set oven to broil, about 520 degrees. Slide pizza onto baking stone with the baker’s peel. Bake until the bubbles range from golden to deep brown in color, 10 to 12 minutes. [Great trick if you don’t have a peel: Use the back of a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.]

Update: I’ve added so many clarifications in the comments, I want to point you to them from here, such as why you don’t have to have a pizza stone, why a KitchenAid is not a requirement and why the broil setting, when you’re not broiling. Happy baking!

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94 comments on jim lahey’s pizza bianca

  1. “I’m in love with the complexity behind its simplicity.”
    That comment alone sold me! I’m trying this recipe soon. Sounds like the perfect snack to enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine, and perfect for a late, Saturday afternoon treat on the deck! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Like a big soft cracker, er…guess that would be a softer not a cracker. Looks tasty and is making me hunnnngry.
    TV in cabs?? Interesting I have EXTREMELY limited cab experience.. but tv in a cab sounds funny, is it a dvd playing or is it possible to have like regular tv, flip channels etc on the way to your destination? Could a person be realllllly lazy and pick a restaurant an hour away from home, catch a tv cab and watch Survivor on the way to eat…? Am just curious…..of course I too am totally disgusted by the idea of tv..*sighs dreamily* in a cab…..

  3. Damn. Looks *really* tasty. That’s almost worth leaving those stupid screens on for… But I’ve found you can turn down the brightness on the picture until it goes away. Same thing for the JetBlue TVs.

  4. Ooh! I’ve made that! It’s delish!

    But looking at those pictures when there are four hours of Passover left is torture! :( Wish I had time to make it tonight.

    P.S. I loooove your blog.

  5. Sarah

    I started this dough this morning for a snack for this evening, and so far it seems very wet. I’ve made the No Knead bread many times, and have never been concerned about how wet the dough was, but this time it’s troubling me. My fingers are crossed that it works out. I’ll keep you posted.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  6. Jen

    We’re attempting this dough right now, too, and like Sarah before us, it’s also really wet. So the husband is adding more flour, a tablespoon at a time. But so far, the measurements seem off … maybe?

    Will keep you posted as to how more much flour it takes!

  7. Jen

    OK, ended up needing one full cup more flour to get it to the right smooth consistency before letting it rest. Wonder if the water measurement is off by about a cup?

  8. liz

    Thank you for this! We make a point to head to Sullivan St. for this pizza every time we’re in NY (even if it’s completely out of our way, freezing cold, and otherwise completely insane). Oh, and I’ve been dying for any report about his promised pizza place. It’s good to know that it still might exist at some point — hopefully while we’re still in the area?

  9. deb

    Oh no! I’m terribly sorry, people. This is where I realize I forgot to mention that I just used my old, standard pizza dough–with one cup of water to three cups of flour–and not his, which appears to have an excess of 3/4 cup of water, tsk-tsk. I will update the recipe now. Big apologies to those of you who had trouble!

  10. Seriously? T.V. screens in cabs? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should…

    The foods here look so yummy! One day, when I get my cooking juice back, I’ll be making meals from here :D


  11. merideth

    looks so good!

    what i LOVE for a pizza peel replacement? parchment paper on top of a pizza/cookie sheet. the pizza & parchment paper slide right off the cookie sheet onto the stone and right off the stone when it’s done.

    note: you’ve gotta keep that sheet really close to the rack when you’re sliding the finished pizza off the stone. last time i made pizza, it slipped right off the stone, under the rack and onto the oven burner. oh, how the acrid smoke filled my home.

  12. oooh, THANKS for putting this together. i remember attempting to make the version from the martha mag, it failed miserably and I basically gave up on pizza bianca. i will definitely give this one a try.

  13. So, I’m sitting here having my Smitten Kitchen fix. The kids are on their last day of school holidays and first day of gastro-illness recovery and one of them clocks the pizza pic.

    ‘Can you make that?’ comes the call.

    So what’s in the mixer as I type.

    Pizza dough.

    Sounds like a great way to end holidays and start a new term to me…

  14. Those TV’s are very annoying, I immediately hit mute as well. I do like to see the weather forecast on it though but the repetitive news is frustrating and annoying.

    Is this really a pizza without anything but a sprinkle of rosemary and olive oil? It seems like a modern art food project and a tease more than anything. Although I’m sure it’s absolutely delicious and would make a wonderful bread starter in a fancy restaurant.

    The Peanut Butter Boy

  15. shinie

    I just discovered the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” at the library. It is an ENTIRE book full of no knead bread. And you can keep the dough in the fridge for a couple of weeks. It’s great! Now that I know about no knead bread, I’m hearing about it every where. I wish I would have known about it years ago.

  16. once agin
    it’s on my list

    i had a metal pizza peel and it was not so good – big heavy and expensice.
    i just bought a wooden one last week. i think i need to break it in asap…

    beautiful pics on this post… love them.

  17. This looks fabulous and I have been on the hunt for a dough recipe with this exact crust consistently for a white pizza I’m serving at a party. Definitely will put this on the menu!

  18. chanel

    Would something go terribly wrong if I didn’t use a baking stone–that is, what can I do if I don’t have one?

    Also, I didn’t see your Prague question until now, and one of the best meals I’ve ever had was at Kampa Park (http://www.kampagroup.com/en/beta_menu.php?rid=4). I still crave their pepper crusted steak! Everything was just as amazing as it sounds on the menu.

  19. I have no idea who eithe rof the chefs you mentioned are as I am a UK blogger – although it could just be me……I would have been tempted to put something else on top but I like the fact that you managed to restrain yourself. Well done! Your dough looks very good actually, so I’ll give the recipe a go. Mine usually comes out a bit too ‘doughy’.

  20. Steph

    Can I ask why you think his original recipe is wrong?

    I have a similar recipe for Pizza Bianca that I LOVE that calls for 1 2/3 cup water, and close to the same amounts as the rest of your ingredients and the idea is that the dough is very wet and gooey. Even more so than no knead bread.

    When you are mixing it should pull away from the sides of the bowl after 7 minutes or so, but will fall back into a blob when the mixer is off. The risen dough will be mushy and bubbly and you don’t roll it out, rather spread it out on a baking sheet covered with oil, or parchment if using a stone. (if it pulls back at first, let it rest a few minutes) and don’t try to cover the whole sheet.

    Not that yours doesn’t look great, (in fact I was craving my recipe yesterday and now must make it today thanks to your pics!) but I would encourage others to try the original recipe and accept the wetness, the measurements he uses are correct.

  21. Astrid


    I was wondering where the baking stone goes for this recipe. Most of the time the recommendation is for the stone to be near the bottom. Since this recipe calls for broiling, should the stone be moved near the top of the oven?


  22. deb

    The reason is that (I mentioned this in an earlier comment) I have two pizza dough recipes I use all of the time, and they use a proportion of one cup of liquid to three cups of flour, not one and three-quarter cups to three cups of flour, so I am not surprised that earlier commenters found it way too wet. This is not something baked in a loaf pan–it needs to be able to maintain its shape.

  23. A

    WOW. That looks so good. But what if I don’t have a pizza stone? I know one day we want to get all the pizza making accessories, but that day has not yet come. Any suggestions?

  24. Ann

    Great pictures – the rosemary is particularly enticing, this looks warm and inviting. I don’t have a pizza stone, so I’m wondering if I could make it without one. I could live on the edge an try it, I suppose. :)

  25. deb

    Pizza stone questions: In general, you want the pizza stone as close to the heat source as possible–generally low in the oven–but no biggie if you don’t. It will still heat, you’ll still get great pizza. My (second) stone broke a while back so I’ve been using a baking sheet and it works just fine. A pizza stone, pizza peel, etc. are not requirements to make pizza, just nice extras if you wish to invest.

  26. Long, long ago I read about laying unglazed quarry tile in your oven to sub as a pizza stone. It’s cheap (our purchase of six pieces didn’t even require two full dollars to buy) and endlessly varied in the shapes you can place- four tiles to make a square, six to make it rectangular. The tiles store in our oven drawer when not is use, and actually are fine for leaving in the oven regularly as they distribute heat well- good for when you oven is 14 years old and tends to be less efficient than say, oh a Wolf of Aga.

    SO…..that looks fab, the pizza, I mean. And given that my rosemary plant is luscious on my windowsill, it would be a perfect option at any time. Grazie!

  27. Sarah

    We added more flour to the wet dough, and everything seemed to work out just fine. The pizza was delicious, but I think I will be trying it again with the correct recipe! Thanks again for this recipe.

  28. deb

    A KitchenAid isn’t a requirement to make dough, it just does a bit of the work for you. You can mix bread and pizza dough by hand, with a wooden spoon in a bowl. Once it forms a mound, you should knead it for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface, until you have a smooth and elastic dough.

  29. lacey

    okay, I’m confused. the instructions say to set the oven on broil, which would mean the heat source would be at the top of the oven, no? but deb, you say to put the stone as close to the heat source as possible and specify the bottom of the oven – so should we be using the bake setting here? I typically bake for pizza – the broil would be new for me. which is best?

  30. amy

    posts like this one just make me happy. perfect. simple. one of my favorite foods in the whole world and possibly what i miss the most about my Italian upbringing!

  31. deb

    The suggestion to use the broil setting is not about using the broiler, but about getting your oven as hot as possible. Traditional pizza ovens can top 900 degrees; most our home oven barely go above 500. The broil setting will get your oven as hot as it can get.

  32. Nan

    My grandpa used to make something similar to this – he finished his pizza with salt from the Great Salt Lake – it’s been years since I’ve had this – now my mouth is watering. Thanks for the recipe – as always, it looks as good as I’m sure it tastes!

  33. shinie

    I’ll second the idea of unglazed tiles in place of a pizza stone. I have unglazed terra cota tiles that I picked up at the hardware store. Just make sure you measure your oven so that they will fit properly. I use four and I think they were $.70 each.

  34. JR

    Is there possibly any issue with lead in the unglazed terra cotta tiles? I would be wary of that until checking. Certainly one could use parchment as someone else suggested. Ovens probably vary, but if I put my GE on broil, the heat source comes only from the top. So, I’ll put the stone in the oven cold, then preheat to 500 degrees, and see how it goes. It looks tasty, easy, and if you have some dough in the fridge waiting for something, this would be EXTRA easy. I also like to use my bread maker for just the dough setting, and when it’s done plunk it in the fridge for some grand idea over the next 3-4 days.

  35. i love homemade pizza! now that the weather is getting nice i like to cook it on the grill outside for a good crust. But i never make my own dough….maybe i can find some courage to make my own, i’m sure it would taste better….homemade things always do.

  36. Yum! This looks amazing. I have yet to succeed with homemade pizza dough, but I really must persevere because I’m slowly fading without east coast pizza…

  37. This was so good. I used the broil setting and it only took 6 minutes. I was kind of confused with the instructions saying broil because my oven goes to 550 but it turned out just fine. I should have read the comments. Thanks for clearing that up.

  38. Kristin

    Oh this stuff is so good…I can’t wait to try making it myself. There’s a great little sandwich shop in Rome that uses this as their bread, so I highly recommend that you try using it to make a nice prosciutto and gorgonzola sandwich!

  39. SherryDee

    I made the dough this afternoon, it was perfect by the way, and I made the pizza tonight. Way too warm today to turn the oven up to 500 degrees so I put the pizza stone on the gas grill outside. It came off the grill looking just like the photo. I microplaned a bit of Reggiano on top at the end. Yum. This recipe is a keeper. So easy. I have big plans for this dough – topped with fresh figs (due in our CA markets in June) and thinly sliced prosciutto and maybe some gorgonzola dolce. And later this summer, homegrown tomato and basil bruschetta . Thanks for sharing!

  40. I’m italian and I really love “schiacciata” called also “schiacciatina” (little and thin schiacciata); personally I use only 1 tablespoon af extra virgin olive oil.
    I prefer to add some more extra virgin olive oil when the schiacciata is cooked to preserve the taste of the oil and it’s much more healthy to add oil when you have finished to cook (the heat changes the composition of the oil and it becomes bad for the health).
    Last point: I discovered a spray for oil, now I can’t live without it! I can spray just the right quantity on my plate. Thanks for sharing this recipe

  41. Emily

    I’m confused — I’ve had (and LOOOOVE) Sullivan Street’s pizza bianca, but in my memory it really wasn’t cracker like at all –it had a crust to it, but there was real softness there. The pizza bianca in your post looks very crisp?

  42. deb

    That would be because I didn’t follow the directions the time I photographed it and rolled the dough out, and kind of didn’t realize this until I posted this entry! It is indeed a bit thicker, a more dimply.

  43. I have never tried pizza bianca, Deb, but you had me at “olive oil” and “sea salt”. Sometimes I pour really good extra virgin olive oil (the one I added basil leaves to a while ago is our favorite) onto a plate, sprinkle it with sea salt and then Joao (the hubby) and I watch movies just dipping crusty, just-out-of-the-oven bread on it. :)

  44. Deb,

    I gasped when I saw this post! When we were kids and would go to Italy to visit our grandparents, they’d take us to the beach and afternoon snack every day were slabs (and I mean SLABS) of pizza bianca kissed with sea salt and rosemary.

    Just gorgeous!

  45. wendyr

    Oh god, those tv things. They had them in some cabs in London. Used to annoy me to no end. I am able to ignore televisions quite easily, but the husband finds it impossible – he forgot to tell a cabbie once when he was approaching our flat because he was busy watching, and out of embarrassment, had the cabbie drop him off about 10 minutes away rather than just telling him his mistake (I wasn’t with him!).

    Anyway, on to cooking – this recipe was heaven-sent! The husband demanded a pizza, and I was curious to try a new recipe. Open your page and BAM! there it was. I used this as my base (topped it with other stuff), and the crust was fantastic. I was a bit doubtful as it didn’t seem to rise like my normal base, but the end result was incredible. YUM!

  46. I tried this today even though I am living in Holland with different flour, no Kitchenaide, and a tiny oven with no pizza stone. I kneaded it by hand, let it rest 2 hours, and it was PERFECT. I topped one pizza with slices of sauteed globe garlic and brushed that one with the oil I sauteed the garlic in. Some rosemary and sea salt made it perfect. The other I prepared just as you did– they were both fantastic. I 1/2’d the recipe, by the way, and got two smallish pizzas. Does anyone know how this method would fare with traditional pizza toppings? Would you use a cooler oven to allow the cheese time to melt? I LOVE the dough recipe and wouldn’t want to lose the texture.

  47. I can’t wait to try this recipe. It sounds delicious.
    (But I LOVELOVE those TVs they’ve added to the cabs – they certainly beat listening to the cabbie chit-chatting constantly on his cell phone. And I love that I can pay by credit card now, too!)

  48. Paula

    Ooooh, yum. Do you know how many grams of flour that is? -I have a baking scale habit, mostly because our (Australian) cups are different to yours.
    Also, Heston Blumenthal has a great tv ep on making pizza which might be useful. He uses the underside of a heavy cast iron pan to bake pizza on. He heats the pan on the stovetop for a good 10 minutes, and then bakes the dough directly on it- the underside, under a pre-heated grill, just like your/Jim’s instruction.

  49. Ron

    Ok… this got me hooked on your blog. I’m now a loyal reader. Thanks for your passion for food and your comfortable writing style. This looks wonderful and I can’t wait to try it.

  50. Did a search for “pizza bianca” and of course, this was one of the top returns. Silly me–I should have just gone to your site to begin with. :-)

    Making this tonight!

  51. Daniel

    I plan to do this tomorrow, but about the comments concearning the extra water on the original recipe, i think it’s supposed to be like that, very wet, and you should do something like this:

  52. bojenkins

    i made this recipe but 1 cup of water gave me extremely dry dough that wouldn’t come together. perhaps i didn’t mix (by hand) long enough but it didn’t seem like it would ever congeal into one mass– just lots of small separate pieces. i added nearly 2/3c more water and had a pretty wet dough that was very sticky. i figured i’d test it out. i used 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast to replace the instant. i let it rest for the recommended times. i pressed it out with my fingers to 1/4″.

    when baked the texture was nothing- absolutely nothing– like sullivan streets bianca– it looked quite similar to the photos above. more flat, thick, doughy rather then light, fluffy, airy, chewy. taste was similar but texture left me sad :(

    how do we achieve ultimate fluffiness?

  53. Marie

    I know this is an old post, but Jim Lahey’s dough recipe is AMAZING. It is a very wet dough, yes. But perfection. Try it! You don’t need to knead it before it rises.

  54. Tara

    We use this same recipe, with a couple of additions, for sweet/savory hors devores. Just sprinkle washed seedless grapes (using different color grapes ‘n it looks really fancy) and Parmesan cheese on top. It gives it an amazing sweet salty mash-up of flavors.

  55. i just made a batch of his pizza dough today! his no knead bread is my go to, i’ve been making it ever since it appeared in our local paper! susan

  56. Aamna

    I just made this recipe last night and my husband said it was the best pizza he’s ever had! I’m sure that was an exaggeration, but I must admit I loved it! We put olive oil, blue cheese, bosc pear, chopped walnuts and a little sprinkle of mozzarella on top. Mmm!

  57. Jane

    Hi! It looks like a good recipe! It is no fuss and that’s always good when you’re pressed for time. If I may, “SCHIACCIATA” (squash, smash) is the correct spelling. It is found in a small round shape, slightly larger than a cookie. It is called that because it’s simply a hand full of pizza dough pressed down with the palm of the hand and forked to keep the air out. What you have here, you’ve named very well… pizza bianca, which translates to white pizza. (They aren’t the same thing) it’s served in place of bread as a pre-appetizer or alongside salads. I’m an American who’s lived in Italy for 15 years and I always appreciate it when Americans try to get the Italian dishes right. There have been too many transformations and bad imitations of the Italian cuisine, which, I feel, is the best in the world! Thanks!

  58. Kelly

    Made this pizza dough a million times from Jim Lahey’s original cookbook: it’s incredibly easy to throw together and it’s always done it’s thing in two hours plus the 1 hour after making into balls. I’ve formed the crust without letting it go the full one hour too and it still comes out great. Pretty fail-proof … anyways, just a tip for those of you worried about time. Never needed four hours on the first rise. If you live in a really cold place with little indoor heating, turn the oven on and let it rise next to!

  59. HippieMommy

    This looks amazing! I’m seeking a pizza dough recipe that I can make in advance in bulk, freeze, and thaw for a party where guests will make their own pizzas. Do you think this one would work? Or could I possibly ore-bake the crusts and freeze them? Thanks!!

  60. stephanie

    hi deb,

    can you remove the link to jocelyn’s site? it is now just one of those schemes with endless pop-ups that tells you your computer is infected and you must call your provider immediately.

    in other news, i just saw giada de laurentis make this the other day. i don’t really care for her show but it happened to come on while i was doing other stuff in the apartment. her aunt was showing her how to make it and it looked so good! happy to find a recipe for it here.

    1. deb

      stephanie — Whoops! Now done, thanks. I liked this when I first made it, but I realllly fell in love with Pizza Bianca when we went to Rome in 2013. It’s everywhere — it’s the sandwich bread, the focaccia, in bread baskets. I came home wanting to make it a daily part of our lives.

  61. Mary

    Any thoughts on how this dough would hold up to being thrown on a grill? We are looking at temps around 104 here today in CA and I have no desire to turn my oven on. Grilled flatbreads are how I survive the summer :)

  62. Tori Jones

    I’m making this now! I noticed that after pressing out the dough, you say to too with the remaining olive oil. But there was none called for earlier in the recipe. Are you supposed to add some into the mixer with the flour? My dough seemed very firm, so I added a tablespoon of olive oil to it. We’ll see how it works out :)

  63. Tori Jones

    Ok to clarify my comment above. I see that the ingredient list calls for 3 tablespoons of olive oil. None of it is added with the flour, but the directions say to top the dough with the “remaining” olive oil before going ino the oven. Was I supposed t add some oil into the dough while it was mixing?

    1. deb

      Tori — Sorry for the confusion. It’s inconsistent for me to have used a specific measurement (3T) and not told you how to distribute it. Pretty much that’s the total you’ll need to oil the bowl (1T at most), and the tops (1T each) and you can eyeball it. Don’t skimp on the oil on the doughs, though, the Romans do not and that’s what makes it delicious. You do not need oil in the dough.