Yay! My good friend Rossana was my inspiration as she’s been whipping up wicked pizza for years, but I finally found a recipe that is not only impossible to wreck, but it’s very straight-forward. Jim Lahey of No-Knead Bread fame, came up with this reliable little number, but I found it in ‘Dinner: A Love Story’, by Jenny Rosenstrach. I use a simple sauce of sauteed fresh garlic, salt and passata, and so far our favorite pizza is ham, pineapple and bacon (well, probably anything with bacon), but oh! the possibilities! And also, just for my convenience, I’m including below the official recipe for Korey Peter’s pizza dough for the G3 Ferrari – a well loved counter-top pizza oven. Korey spent a lot of time perfecting the dough recipe – this is Brock’s domain in our house – and now that we’ve practically worn out the Ferrari (and yes, it’s red!) we’ve discovered that a pizza stone on a the barbeque at 700 degrees (you’re reading correctly, which is why it’s Brock’s domain), works just as well, if not better.
3 3/4 c. flour (you can substitute whole wheat for half if you wish)
2 1/2 t. active dry yeast
3/4 t. EACH salt AND sugar
1 1/3 c. warm water
olive oil as needed
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar, and lightly oil a second medium bowl. Add the water to the flour mixture and mix using a wooden spoon – and then your hands if necessary – until it’s well blended, at least 30 seconds. The dough will be stiff, and only slightly tacky, not wet and sticky. I scraped the dough out with the wooden spoon and shaped it into a rough ball, and then transferred it to the greased bowl, and covered it with plastic wrap. I have a proofing setting on my oven so the bowl went in the oven, though a spot at room temperature is supposed to work. Allow the dough to rise until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.
Divide the dough into 2, even-sized balls – each ball is good for an 11 x 17 baking sheet of pizza. At this point, you can flatten and grease each ball and drop it into a freezer bag for later use, just make sure that you take it out of the freezer 2-3 hours before you need it. I use non-stick baking sheets and found that very lightly oiling only the middle of the sheet works best. Drop the dough disk onto the pan and be patient as you use your fingers to work it over the whole area of the baking sheet – this will take some time, but it’s worth it for the thin, crispy crust. Add you sauce and toppings (but not yet the cheese!) and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes. When the crust is nicely browned and you can tap the edges (maybe even use a silicone flipper to gently lift it up and check for doneness and non-stickiness on the bottom), then you can add your cheese and bake for another few minutes, just until the cheese is melted. Perfect pizza!
Neapolitan Pizza Dough (for a really thin crust cooked in a really hot oven)
Dough Ingredients – 7 crusts is the max for a regular Kitchen Aid mixer
3 Crusts 4 Crusts 5 Crusts 6 Crusts 7 Crusts 330 g bread flour, 192g water, 3/5 t. instant yeast, 6/5 t. salt 440 g bread flour, 256g water, 4/5 t. instant yeast, 8/5 t. salt 550 g bread flour, 320g water, 1 t. instant yeast, 2 t. salt 660 g bread flour, 384g water, 6/5 t. instant yeast, 7/5 t. salt 770 g bread flour, 448g water, 7/5 t. instant yeast, 9/5 t. salt
Put flour and salt in your Kitchen Aid bowl, and add yeast to very warm water (but not so warm that you can’t keep your finger in it). Let it sit for a few minutes. Add the water and yeast mixture to the flour and salt and mix in the Kitchen Aid using the paddle attachment on low until the dough forms a ball and does not stick to the paddle (the dough should be slightly sticky to the touch).
Install the dough hook and knead on the lowest speed for 20 minutes (30 minutes by hand). To test if enough kneading has been done, take a small piece of dough and work it into a pizza crust shape – if you can create a thin translucent membrane with it, without tearing, it has been kneaded enough. If not, keep working! If the dough is ready, fold the ball in on itself so that a very smooth and tight skin/membrane forms on the outside of the ball, then push the ball around on the table keeping your fingers straight, this will help contain the gasses that the yeast produces and will also make it more workable later on.
Put the dough into a stainless steel or glass bowl that is about 4-times bigger than the dough ball. Add a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and roll the ball around in the bowl to coat it completely (make sure you don’t overdo it with the oil though). Set the oven to proofing mode and put the dough in to rise for 1 – 1.5 hours (alternatively put a large pan of boiling hot water in the oven with the bread). The dough should grow to about 2 x the size. If using the proofing mode, it is best to place a bowl of water in the oven to ensure that the dough surface does not dry out during this first rising.
Divide into desired number of pizza crusts (roughly 170 – 175 g each) and reshape each piece of dough into a ball again by folding it on itself and rolling it around on the counter like you did in the previous step. Oil liberally with olive oil (to prevent drying) and place each ball on a oiled cookie sheet. Cover fairly tightly with saran wrap and place in the fridge to rise 24 hours. Dough can also be placed in the fridge (in a lightly sprayed plastic bag) for up to 5-days, or frozen – this is best done individually.
Flatten the dough ball into a disc on a lightly floured surface. Pinch about 1 inch into the edge of the disc and rotate to form a bit of a lip around the edge. Pass the dough back and forth holding the edge of the disc and rotate slightly with each pass to stretch. Stretch while the dough is on the flat surface and rotate with each stretch to ensure a round crust. If the dough shrinks as you stretch it (elastic) then simply wait 5 minutes or so and re-stretch to make a thinner disc. Alternatively use a rolling pin to get a very uniform thickness crust
At this point if you bake the crust immediately it will create a slightly crispier crust but if you let it rise for 30 minutes or so before dressing it, it will be slightly thicker and slightly chewier. Super long explanation, I know, but if you have a bad crust, you really do have a bad pizza.