|Photo: Alexandra Grablewski, Getty Images|
For years I've made a good Chicago style pizza, but now I'm obsessed with trying to make a thinner crusted, brick oven, Italian style pizza. Lacking a brick oven, I can only try to come close. What I can do is get the ingredients right:
Here is an authentic pizza dough recipe for one 10 inch pie. For a family of 4, simply double the ingredients (and after it rises, split the dough in half) to bake two 10 inch pies. Yeap, half a pie each sounds about right to me.
Pizza Dough for one 10 inch pie
4 ounces lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (plus extra oil to brush on the baking dish)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus extra flour for kneading the dough) Note: I use all-purpose flour, but professionals use bread flour. It's higher in protein. I don't stock it, so don't use it. All-purpose is just what the name says it is, "all-purpose."
3/4 teaspoon salt
1) Combine the warm water, yeast and olive oil in a bowl. With a fork or the handle of a wooden spoon, add and incorporate the flour and salt until a ball forms. (If the dough seems dry, sprinkle a few extra drops of warm water on it. If the ball forms easily, don't do anything.)
2) I only work the dough until the flour is incorporated. (I don't touch it with my hands yet.)
3) Cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap and sit it inside your cold oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The pilot light will keep it warm for rising.
4) After it has doubled in bulk, dump the blob of dough onto a floured surface and knead until it is elastic and no longer sticky. Sprinkle with flour as you fold it over and knead. (You can knead the dough inside the bowl if it's big enough, then have less to clean up.) Now is the time to divide the dough in half if you doubled the recipe and are making two pies.
5) Flatten, pull and toss the dough with your fingers and knuckles like a true Italian pizza maker. Feel free to shape your pizza round, or rectangle.
|Photo: The New York Times|
Add a thin layer of tomato sauce, and your favorite toppings, such as onions, garlic, mushrooms, banana peppers, Jalapeño peppers, ham, pepperoni, sausage, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Also feel free to spice to taste with oregano, dried basil, red pepper flakes, or dried garlic.
Commercial pizza ovens get much hotter then a home oven. Whenever I attempt to duplicate the heat of a pizza parlor oven, the result is dry pizza, so I no longer try. For that reason I don't turn my oven all the way up. Instead, I bake my pizza at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until the dough is done. Delish!
Extra tips: Whole wheat flour works with this recipe also. (Yes, I went through that phase!) However, now I mostly use all-purpose flour to make pizza (as well as, buttermilk biscuits). In moderation, it won't kill us. For my pizza dough, I like to toss in 1/4 cup ground flax seeds; a large egg; 1 tablespoon of dried powder milk; then reduce the water (only pouring in 2-3 ounces). Adds protein and fiber to the pizza dough. Buon appetito!
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