The Best Pizza Dough

If I could be any ‘Friends’ character I usually try to kid myself that I would be Rachel or Joey (all that food? Come on!), but let’s be honest here I’m definitely too dorky for that, I’d definitely be more of a Ross. Plus dinosaurs are pretty cool yeah.  Well they are, ‘Land Before Time’ definitely proved that.

And you know all those divorces I’ve had.

Just thinking about Friends make me so excited for the end of this year when me and my boyfriend will be jetting off to America and spending Christmas in New York!! If you guys have any must see places in America they would be so taken on board and photographed! (We are mostly heading west coast then east coast)

Anyway this was during one of my Joey moments, I went and made some good pizza dough! Like real good, like super thin and crunchy. Deeeelicious!

But honestly I searched high and wide for this and I have had numerous pizza dough fails, so check out 101 cookbooks and see the crazy stuff that happens there! Also I only made half the amount and it worked just as well.

Coming up soon is a New York/UK style birthday cheesecake.

Altered slightly from 101 cookbooks, they took the recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart (Ten Speed Press)

472 grams of unbleached high-gluten, bread, or all-purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
60 ml of olive oil
414 ml of water, ice-cold
Semolina flour OR cornmeal for dusting

1. Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer).With a large metal spoon, stir in the oil and the cold water until the flour is all absorbed (or mix on low-speed with the paddle attachment), If you are mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the metal spoon into cold water and use it, much like a dough hook, to work the dough vigorously into a smooth mass while rotating the bowl in a circular motion with the other hand. Reverse the circular motion a few times to develop the gluten further. Do this for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed. If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn’t come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register about 10 degrees c.

2. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with baking parchment and misting the parchment with spray oil (or lightly oil the parchment). Using a metal dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you are comfortable shaping large pizzas), You can dip the scraper into the water between cuts to keep the dough from sticking to it, Sprinkle flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, dip your hands into the flour again. Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pan, Mist the dough generously with spray oil and slip the pan into a food-grade plastic bag.

3. Put the pan into the refrigerator overnight to rest the dough, or keep for up to 3 days. (Note: If you want to save some of the dough for future baking, you can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag. Dip each dough ball into a bowl that has a few tablespoons of oil in it, rolling the dough in the oil, and then put each ball into a separate bag. You can place the bags into the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the refrigerator the day before you plan to make pizza.)

4. On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before making the pizza. Before letting the dough rest at room temperature for 2 hours, dust the counter with flour, and then mist the counter with spray oil. Place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag. Now let rest for 2 hours.

5. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone either on the floor of the oven (for gas ovens), or on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to about 270 degrees. If you do not have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but do not preheat the pan.

6. Generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal. Make the pizzas one at a time. Dip your hands, including the backs of your hands and knuckles, in flour and lift the piece of dough by getting under it with a pastry scraper. Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion on your hands, carefully giving it a little stretch with each bounce. If it begins to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue shaping it. Stretch out the dough to form a circle‘-ish’, I hung the pizza from my hands and let gravity stretch it.

7. When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction (about 9 to 12 inches in diameter for a 6-ounce piece of dough), lay it on the peel or pan, making sure there is enough semolina flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide. Turn the oven down to about 230 degrees c.

Lightly top it with sauce and then with your other toppings, remembering that the best pizzas are topped with a less-is-more philosophy. The American “kitchen sink” approach is counterproductive, as it makes the crust more difficult to bake.

8. Slide the topped pizza onto the stone (or bake directly on the sheet pan) and close the door. Wait 2 minutes, then take a peek. If it needs to be rotated 180 degrees for even baking, do so. The pizza should take about 5 to 8 minutes to bake. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone to a lower self before the next round. if the bottom crisps before the cheese melts, then you will need to raise the stone for later bakes.

9. Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Wait 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving, to allow the cheese to set slightly.

Makes six 6-ounce pizza crusts.

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2 thoughts on “The Best Pizza Dough

  1. Pingback: Land Before Time Piece

  2. Pingback: The Past |

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