Sunday, November 29, 2009

World’s Greatest Pizza!

I’ve been making home made pizzas for quite a while. They never turned out all that well. I purchased a pizza stone last year and things improved slightly, but still I wasn’t satisfied with the texture or appeal of the finished product. Then I read a pizza dough recipe that blew me away. Not because its ingredients were a revelation in any way, but the way the dough was stretched after rising made all the difference.

Pizza Dough
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tsp dry yeast (separated)
1 tsp unrefined sugar (optional)
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 cup hot water (yes, HOT)

I start by taking a cup of tap water (as hot as I can get it) in a measuring cup, mixing in the tsp of sugar and then adding 2 tsp of yeast. This gets stirred around and sits until it foams up nice and high.
While that’s happening I mix the flours, salt, and 1 tsp dry yeast in a bowl (or food processor). To this I add the water/yeast mixture and blend. It produces a fairly wet dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes (or let your food processor do the kneading). Add flour as needed to keep from sticking.

Oil a large bowl. Throw in the dough and roll it around to get it covered in oil as well. Let stand in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour). You also can use the dough immediately if you’ve let the water/sugar/yeast develop a lot.

I throw my risen dough onto a WELL-floured pizza paddle. I’ve put my pizza stone in a 500°F oven and will transfer the pizza onto the stone. If you don’t have a stone, get your oven up to 500°F if you can, and just dump your dough onto your well-floured pizza pan.

Okay, here’s the miracle of pizza dough!
Do NOT use a rolling pin or any type of “pressing” motion on your beautiful dough. Since there is now a ton of flour under your dough (I add a little cornmeal as well), put your fingers underneath the dough and start stretching it out. There will be enough flour under your dough so that it won’t stick to your fingers. The dough may be a little thicker than you’re used to, but it will have a lightness and stretchiness you can not achieve using a rolling pin or pressing motion. In other words, we’re not touching the top of the pizza dough with our hands while stretching... EVER! Once stretched out to the size you want, add your sauce and toppings and pop in the oven. I found this dough cooked in 10-12 minutes. The dough bubbles up and gets lots of character and ridges and is the best I’ve EVER had. Enjoy.

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