The Good Pie's Pizza Dough
Creating a great pizza at home is all about technique. Let Ted Wilson, who trained under pizza god Jim Lahey, take you through it.
500 grams unbleached all-purpose flour (100%)
15 grams salt (773%)
¼ tsp. instant yeast (highly active or rapid-rise) (3.1%)
385 grams tepid tap water ((.177%)
• In a medium-large bowl, combine the flour, salt and instant yeast.
• Add the water and mix with a large spoon until all of the flour is hydrated and there is a lumpy mess resting in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
• Remove the plastic wrap. Using wet hands, fold the dough on top of itself 3 or 4 times. The dough will now be developing some strength. Cover with plastic wrap again and let rest in a warm place (70 to 75 degrees) for another 30 minutes.
• Remove the plastic wrap. Using wet hands, fold the dough on top of itself 3 or 4 times. The mess in the bowl should now resemble fully kneaded dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place (70 to 75 degrees) for 90 minutes.
• Remove the plastic wrap and dump the dough onto a very lightly floured surface. Divide into three 300-gram pieces of dough.
• To form each piece of dough into a ball, create surface tension by holding the dough in your hands and pulling the heels of your palms across the dough and away from one another while pushing the sides and backs of the dough up and into itself. This will create a taught, smooth surface while forming the piece of dough into a ball-like shape. Repeat with the other 2 pieces of dough until you have formed 3 balls.
• Place the dough balls, seam-side down, into 3 lightly oiled bowls nearly twice the size of the balls of dough. Lightly oil the tops of the dough with vegetable oil and cover with plastic wrap. For the best flavor, allowAllow the dough to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
• For the best flavor, pPlace the dough in the refrigerator for at least 18 hours and up to 72 hours. When ready to use, allow for at least 1 hour to bring the dough to room temperature. (If you plan to use the dough on the day that it is mixed, allow for at least 2 hours of proofing in the bowls before use.)
• When ready to bake, place a pizza stone on a rack that is in the second position from the top. Preheat the oven to 550 degrees (or whatever is the highest temperature for your oven) for 30 to 45 minutes before assembling the pizza.
• Meanwhile, prepare all of your desired toppings and have them ready for use.
• Just before you begin to shape the dough and add the toppings, turn the broiler function onto high.
• To shape the dough: Lightly flour the work surface. Then take 1 ball of dough and cover the surface of the dough with just enough flour that it doesn’t stick to your hands or the work surface. Using the pads of your fingertips, push down on the center of the dough, pushing until you feel the work surface under your fingertips but not to the point that you break through the dough. Continue flattening and stretching the dough by pushing from the center of the dough moving outward until you get to within 1 inch of the edge of the circle that is beginning to take shape. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat the process. Continue, always keeping the outer inch of the shell untouched, until you have formed a round pizza shell. (While you are stretching and forming the shell, periodically place your hand under the dough to make sure that it is not sticking to the work surface. If the dough is sticking, toss a little flour under the dough onto the work surface. While the dough is resting on your fingers, gently guiding the dough outward from its underside will help to stretch it further.)
• Working as quickly as possible, place the toppings on the pizza, then use a pizza peel to slide it onto the hot pizza stone. Turn the oven back to the bake function at 550 degrees (or whatever is the highest temperature for your oven).
• After 2 to 3 minutes, turn the oven back to the broiler function on high. The pizza should be finished – the crust risen and crispy looking – after about 3 more minutes*.
• Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
• Repeat the shaping, assembly and cooking for the remaining 2 pieces of dough.
* There are a number of ways to bake pizza dough, and the best way to decide which method to use is to consider the desired consistency of the crust and toppings. The beauty and curse of a pizza lies in the fact that all of the ingredients (sauce, cheese, dough, toppings, etc.) are all ingredients are cooked together yet while each requires different cooking times to achieve desired doneness. Depending on your ingredients, you may find it necessary to build the pizza as it bakes.