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Pizza Dough


First Posted: 03/20/2012 2:55 pm Updated: 08/31/2012 10:48 am

Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough
Squire Fox
Provided by:
total prep
While I'm not picky about the flour--either bread flour or all-purpose is fine--what does concern me is how the dough is handled. Treat it gently so the dough holds its character, its texture. When you get around to shaping the disk for a pie, go easy as you stretch it to allow it to retain a bit of bumpiness (I think of it as blistering), so not all of the gas is smashed out of the fermented dough. I prefer to hold off on shaping the ball until just before topping it. If it going to sit for while--more than a couple of minutes--cover it with a damp kitchen towel to prevent it form drying out.

I offer you two approaches for shaping (see below). The simpler one, executed completely on the work surface, is slower than the second, where you list the disk in the air and stretch it by rotating it on your knuckles. Lifting it into the air to shape it is more fun, too.

Recipe courtesy of My Pizza by Jim Lahey & Rick Flaste, 2012. Published by Clarkson Potter Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc

Ingredients

  • 500 grams (17 1/2 ounces or about 3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
  • 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 16 grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
  • 350 grams (1 1/2 cups) water

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon or your hands, mix thoroughly.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature (about 72º F) for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled. It will take longer in a chilly room and less time in a very warm one.
  • Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shape them: For each portion start with the right side of the dough and pull it toward the center; then do the same with the left, the top then the bottom. (The order doesn’t actually matter; what you want is four folds.) Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. Mold the dough into a neat circular mound. The mounds should not be sticky; if they are, dust with more flour
  • If you don’t intend to use the dough right away, wrap the balls individually in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter, covered in a damp cloth, for 2 to 3 hours before needed.
  • Note: Don’t freeze the dough, but you can store it in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic, for up to three days. In effect, when you’re set to use it, you have your own ready-made dough.

  • Shaping the Disk (Method 1): Take one ball of the dough and generously flour it, your hands and the work surface. Then press it down and gently stretch it out to 6 to 8 inches. Very carefully continue the process, massaging it into roundish disk of 10 to 12 inches, stroking and shaping with the palms of your hands and with your fingers. Don't handle it more than necessary, though you want some of the gas bubbles to remain in the dough. It should look slightly blistered. Flour the peel and lift the disk onto the center. The dough is now ready to be topped.

  • Shaping the Disk (Method 2): Take one ball of dough and generously flour it, your hands, and the work surface. Then press it down and gently stretch it out to 6 to 8 inches. Supporting the disk with your knuckles toward the outer edge and lifting it above the work surface, keep stretching the dough by rotating it with your knuckles, gently pulling it wider and wider until the disk reaches 10 to 12 inches. Set the disk on a well-floured peel. It is now ready to be topped.

  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: Any of the pizzas in this book can be made with whole wheat dough, although I've found over the years that I personally prefer less whole wheat in the mixture than others might. Too much of it, to my taste, makes the crust gritty.
  • To make whole wheat dough, use two-thirds white flour to one-third whole wheat, and double the yeast used in the standard pizza dough recipe.

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