Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Perfect Pizza Dough

Homemade pizza dough

         I have tried many times to perfect the art of making pizza dough. I want that perfect dough with the right amount of crunch on the outside as well as the soft airy inside. The kind you find in New York or the place where pizza was born, Naples. I have tried many combinations of mixtures from using flour, water, oil, even adding sugar. After many attempts, many test runs on friends and family, I think I have finally found the perfect results. It is so simple that I cannot believe it took so long. The recipe bellow is enough to make three decent size mediums to large pizzas. It isn't difficult to adjust the recipe to make only two or just a single pie once you understand the correct feel and texture you are looking for when making this. I will explain more as I go through the steps of making this great Pizza Dough.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch Instant yeast
  • ** 1/2 cup Bread starter, (or less it's an experiment)
  • Extra flour for counter surface

** I have a bread starter that I made over a year ago and have been storing in my fridge, feeding and using it all the time now. Whenever I want to use it, I remove it from the fridge let it come to room temperature over night, and add in equal amounts of flour and water, typically a cup of each. All a starter is is live yeast that you have grown and made yourself.
     First in a mixing bowl combine 2 cups of the flour, (I use King Arthur Bread), the water, starter, pinch of instant yeast, and pinch of salt. Mix for a couple minutes. It will resemble pancake batter. Don't worry; this is how it should be. Cover and let it sit for about 30 minutes. When you uncover it it will still look like pancake batter but has risen slightly. Next mix in the last 1/2 cup of flour. As soon as you do this it will form a ball around the mixing spoon. Lay out on a floured surface. Now you will knead it briefly adding some of the flour from the counter as you go. Pizza dough should feel very moist, spongy, and slightly sticky. Form into a large loaf with floured hands. Cut into 3 equal parts and form into small balls. When you cut into the dough you will see how it is still wet and sticky inside. I then place in sealed individual lightly oiled plastic containers placed in fridge for at least 24 hours. When you want to finally make the pizza remove them from the container and spread them out on a floured surface. They will be very elastic and it will not take much to spread them out onto the surface. You can even carefully toss them if you want that "pizza tossing" feel. Be careful though, they are very fragile and elastic. If they rip or tear, just form them back into a ball. If you had the right amount of flour and liquid they shouldn't tear at all. But sometimes they do. The dough is very easy to work with. Now add you own toppings and Viola! Next post will go into some recipes of different types and how to cook them.  Enjoy your experimenting with the dough and have fun.

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