Here is a my new favorite pizza dough recipe. I will share with you because I love you. I will also share this: It’s not really what you put into the dough. It’s the aging of it.
Yes, when you make your pizza dough, if you put it in a large enough plastic bag, or a well covered bowl, and let it sit in the fridge for a day or two or three, the dough ages and develops wonderful flavors. The gluten develops. It just does all kinds of amazing things while it looks like it is just sitting there. So if at all possible, make it ahead of time.
Since it will be sitting, aging and all, you need very little yeast. The yeast, in dough, wakes up, eats, gives off gasses (like we all do), multiplies and spreads throughout the dough, making little yeast families. If you put in a large amount of yeast it may run out of its food supply, which is the natural sugars in the flour released by the enzymes. Then the yeast will die off, leaving an off flavor, but more importantly, not allowing the crust to grow in the oven.
So, make the dough, wrap it well, and let age a few days in the fridge.
When you are ready to make pizza, take the dough out a couple of hours ahead of time to come to room temperature. On warm days this will be faster of course.
While it is warming, get your toppings ready. Preheat the oven to 450-500 degrees. The hotter the better for crust development. Use a pizza stone if you have one. You need something in the oven to preheat to set the pizza on. It needs that blast of heat, since it is not like regular bread, left to rise before baking.
Shape the dough and put on a parchment. Put your toppings on and slide onto a pizza peel. Then when the oven is hot, the toppings are on, Venus is aligned with Mars, open the oven, squinch your face at the blast of heat coming at you and shove the pizza in there, onto the stone, with the peel. (or the back of a cookie sheet would work too).
Oh, one more thing. I had someone twist the edges of the pizza into a lovely crusty shape. You can do this, you can put olive oil and garlic salt on the dough or just the edge crust before baking. You can add Parmesan to the crust before baking. Have some fun with it. I sometimes put Italian seasoning right into the dough, or sprinkle some on it before the other toppings, unless I am using pizza sauce that has enough seasoning already. But you can never have too much garlic, can you?
See the caramelized onions, pears and Gorgonzola pizza recipe.
See the shrimp scampi recipe too.
See the Barbeque pizza.
- Yield: 2 12
Here is a wonderful basic pizza dough. I picked up some semolina flour at an italian deli/market. If you can’t find any, and it is a specialty flour, you can just use all bread flour.
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar optional
- 1/2 teaspoon yeast dry active or fast acting
- 1 1/3 cups cold water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Whisk the flours together. Or pulse in a food processor. Add the yeast, salt and if using, the sugar. Pulse (or whisk) again.
- With the machine running, or with a wooden spoon by hand, add the cold water until it becomes a rough ball of dough. You do not want a sticky dough, but tacky. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour. If it looks too dry, add a little more water.
- Now, on a floured counter, knead just a few times to smooth out the dough. It will be springy, but you do not need to knead it much. The gluten strands will align while it is in cold storage.
- Now either put in an oiled bowl and cover will with plastic (I usually would cover it with plastic wrap and lay a plate over it) or put in a large loaf type bag, that you would drizzle some olive oil in, and twist tie.
- Put it into the fridge for anywhere from 12 hours to 3 days. I take out the dough a couple of hours ahead of baking time to come to room temperature.
- When ready, cut the dough in half and shape into a round ball. It is now ready to shape into the pizza shape of your choice, top and bake. I recommend topping the dough while on a parchment to make it easier to slide onto a pizza peel. Its hard to move once its got toppings. Remember, a high heat is best for pizza. 450 or 500 degrees is best. Use a baking stone if you have one. Keep an eye for browning. It won’t take much more than 8-10 minutes.