First off, I feel I am in no way qualified or experienced enough to be giving people advice and recipes about anything with yeast involved. I consider myself a beginner dough maker at best. That being said, however, I made this dough over and over and over until I achieved what I want in a pizza. We ate a LOT of pizza last year.
Strike that old intro, I am now qualified. After an additional year and half of pizza eating, I know what I like and what I don’t. I still prefer bread flour over “00” and all purpose flour. “00” pizza dough is excellent if you have it though. Most of this info remains the same, just a few tweaks.
A couple of caveats:
- This makes a denser, chewy, thin crust. Of course you can roll it thicker if you want, but I roll it about a 1/4″ – 1/2 ” thick maximum. Be prepared for the crust to double when in the oven.
- Keep in mind that if you roll it that thin, you can’t load it with toppings like an american style pizza. A good pizza doesn’t have more than three or 4 toppings anyway. I will share my must-haves further down.
- I am lazy so I use my Kitchen Aid mixer and dough hook to make my dough. Kneading dough is good exercise though so roll up your sleeves!
- I use bread flour for this recipe. I love the denser chewiness it gives.
- This dough ferments for 3 days. This is important. You can do it longer if you want, but 3 days seems to get all the flavour and texture I want and do everything I need to prepare for a pizza night, ie: pick up what toppings I need from various stores around the city because you know you just can’t throw anything you want on this. If you going to do it from scratch, don’t cheap out on your ingredients! More on that later. After I started letting it ferment for 3 days, I went back and made it in the morning and let it rise all day then made the pizza that evening. There was no comparison to the 3 day dough. It just doesn’t have the time to develop it’s flavour. It also is way easier to digest and doesn’t give you that heavy bread-y feeling.
- This recipe makes a big batch, 6 dough balls. It freezes excellent. After you have divided your dough into six portions, fold the balls into itself repeatedly from the top to he bottom, like you’re trying to turn it inside out. If you’re using soon, let rise covered another hour or wrap tightly with plastic and freeze. Frozen dough I take out in the morning, leave wrapped up until thawed and then leave it on the counter loosely covered until room temp. Here is a bad video of the forming the dough balls:
ME FORMING DOUGH
And so, into the mixer:
2 1/4 cups cool water (temp doesn’t matter too much)
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar (or honey if you prefer)
Up to 6-7 cups of flour, depends on many factors, you don’t want it sticky, but it should be cohesive ball
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp dried oregano *Optional
1 tbsp olive oil
- Add the water, sugar and yeast to the mix and stir just to let the yeast and sugar dissolve
- Now add straight in 2 cups of flour and mix until well incorporated. I let this sit in the bowl for about 10-15 minutes. I don’t know why. I feel the flour is being absorbed into the water fully, but I also made that up. It seems right.
- Now add your oil, salt and oregano if you want.
- With mixer on medium low start adding flour abut 1/2 cup at a time. Let really incorporate before adding more. Try to get all the 6 cups in but if you can’t don’t worry and if you need more add it a 1/4 at a time and knead until incorporated. You don’t want it to be sticky or have ragged doughy edges, nice and smooth and elastic. It might take some practice and humidity, etc changes how much flour you need. If you’re doing this hand be prepared for 15 minutes of kneading.
- Place in a large oiled bowl and rub some olive on the dough too. Cover with a plastic wrap and be prepared for the dough to more than double in size. Place in
a dark cool place. PUT IN FRIDGE!
- Punch down dough when it doubles, I do it twice a day.
- Day 3: Punch down dough. Divide dough into 6 balls. Form dough in to circles by folding the dough under itself. On a on floured surface with a
rolling pin NO! Don’t use a rolling pin! Push the dough out into a circle and stretch out until it’s your desired thickness. If it snaps back, let dough rest for 5 minutes and continue to stretch out.
- Transfer to a square of parchment paper with a sprinkle of cornmeal on it. Dress pizza.
- Now here’s where things get different for everyone and I’m afraid to say you may have to do some experiments to get your desired results. The best method is to bake on a pizza stone that has been heating in your oven for at least a half hour on the highest setting your oven will go. Slide the parchment right on to the stone if you don’t have a pizza peal you will have to be a little creative on how you’re going to pick it up. You can slide the parchment out after it cooks the bottom. If you don’t have a stone, you should buy one. Haha. Really, you should. You’re going to have to experiment with pans you have, thats all I can say.
- If you become an insane pizza obsessed person like me, invest in a pizza oven of some sort to really get the best results. We got a Pizza Que and totally love it.
*IMPORTANT: Keep your sauce simple, the most important thing is to use good tomatoes like San Marzano’s. I puree a can of tomatoes, put in a fine strainer for a few minutes to drain an extra liquid and add some salt. You need nothing else.
**MORE IMPORTANT: Use good cheese and don’t over cheese. I buy a big bag at the Wholesale Club. It’s a blend of Mozzarella and Monterey Jack, so it’s gooey and oily enough but not greasy and it has flavour because of the Monterey Jack. It’s about
$25 $35 (inflation I guess) but keep it the freezer and make many, many batches of pizza with it.
Toppings and Flavour (Pizza we make every time)
Hands down the absolute best pizza, the one that always gets eaten first, the one that blows people minds and the absolute must is, of course, The Margherita. Only three ingredients sent down from heaven; fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and tomato sauce. Best buy is get the fresh mozzarella (not the hard block called Mozzarella but isn’t) at Costco, it’s the cheapest for you dollar and has the best flavour. Sauce the pizza, tear up basil and tear up chunks of mozzarella, drizzle with olive oil. You’re welcome.
Spinach & Feta Take the time to roast some garlic, you wont regret it (instructions below). Rub some oil and the roasted garlic on the pizza, sauce, add a sprinkle of cheese (Jason calls it “base cheese” and insists it makes stuff stick better and diligently makes me add it here). Add a good mound of fresh spinach, sprinkle with some greek seasoning, add feta and then your shredded cheese. You don’t need lots, a couple handfuls.
Caramelized Onion and Sausage.
Search the blog to learn to caramelize onions. Buy good sausage.
I love Ham & Pineapple. This awesome if you use the rosemary ham from Costco and when you sauce the pizza add about 2 tbsp of bbq sauce to the tomato sauce. SOOOO good.
We always also have some kind of really good Salami and Mushroom. No other toppings needed, add the mushrooms before the salami.
Place a whole head of garlic on a double layer of tinfoil, drizzle with some oil and wrap loosely but sealed. Place in a 400 degree oven until garlic is brown and the cloves are soft when you poke them. Let cool the slice off the top of the garlic head and squeeze all that golden sweet garlicky-ness right of the head.