Tuesday, August 23, 2005

homey pizza

i have to post this most delicious pizza dough that i found from "baking with julia."
it never fails to receive standing ovations from my favorite patrons...i think the thinner you can manage to roll it out on a nice stone peel (pizza pan thingy) --the crustier. i don't have one of those though...i just use 2 metal nonstick pans--one is perforated with holes and it comes out really crunchy, the other one just plain solid comes out softer and thicker.

the method seems involved and arduous but it really isn't. all it takes is timing: start the dough about 4 hours before you plan to serve. this recipe is enough for 2 10-inch pizzas. one kid friendly and one adult.

1 1/2 tsps. active dry yeast, i used Fleischmann
1 & 1/2 cups tepid water (80F--use an instant read thermometer, this is important to have the temp right
2 tbsps. olive oil
2 & 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour, such as King Arthur's

this is the sponge or starter dough.
sprinkle water into the yeast in the bowl of your mixer. stir well until yeast starts to get creamy and let stand 5 minutes.

mix in olive oil and pour in 2 & 1/4 cups flour gradually until dough is blended well--texture will be loose and sticky. let rise in a warm place--85F--until doubled, about 1 & 1/2 hours, covered with a kitchen towel, undisturbed.

punch down dough with a spatula and in the mixer with a dough hook, add 2 cups flour and 3 tsps. salt on low speed. increase speed to medium and beat 4 to 5 minutes until dough is soft and sticks only a bit to your hands as you work it--add up to a 1/4 cup more dough by the spoonful until it is of right consistency.
set on a bowl that has been wiped with olive oil lightly and then turn around and around to coat evenly with the oil. cover with towel again and let rise until double, about an hour and a half more.

divide dough into two, and bake pizza one at a time.

preheat oven to 475F. roll out pizza on a cool surface (such as a marble slab) and roll out thinly to a round that fits the pan. allow the dough to rest every few minutes as you stretch it out.
spread your favorite pasta sauce (we like Classico Roasted Garlic), cover with grated mozzarella, parmesan, or romano, then pepperoni. my kids' all time favorite!

(my adult pizza toppings: thinly sliced fresh tomatoes, torn up anchovies, thinly sliced basil and oregano fresh from the garden, thinly sliced fresh mozzarella ball, thinly sliced red onion slivers and freshly ground black pepper. optional: crushed red pepper flakes. ahh! it was heavenly.)

bake for 13 minutes until edges are slightly puffed and deeply golden....
well worth the extra effort for the freshly baked dough.