15 February 2010

Make "Real" Pizza at Home, Part One

Make "Real" Pizza at Home, Part One / www.delightfulrepast.com

It was about this time last year when I got on my pizza kick. Before then I was making pizza once, maybe twice, a year. But for some reason I became obsessed with perfecting my dough and sauce. My little yellow kitchen became a laboratory, the countertops and refrigerator lined with bowls of dough in various stages of fermentation. I’m never happier than when I’m developing new recipes, and my husband was never happier than when I was developing my ultimate pizza recipe. He could have gone on for many months having pizza four times a week. I, on the other hand, was thrilled to be able to move on to my next obsession.

The dough recipe, pretty much the same one I’ve been making for decades, doesn’t sound like anything special—no “secret” ingredient. But it makes just the right amount of dough to make two pizzas of the perfect size and thickness to serve 4 or 5 people. And the three days in the refrigerator gives the rather wet dough the perfect texture as well as the most wonderful flavor. If there is a “secret” to it, I suppose it’s in the baking. I’ve tried all kinds of pizza pans, with decent results. But I was determined to find the ultimate pan or baking stone or whatever.

Not a huge fan of unwieldy pizza stones, I racked my brain till I came up with the perfect solution—cast iron. Searching for a 13- to 14-inch round cast iron griddle, I found that Lodge actually makes exactly what I had in mind and calls it the Lodge Pro Logic Pizza Pan. Unfortunately, the recipes included with the pan did not make the best use of the pan. They called for using it as, well, just a pan. What I had in mind, on the other hand, was to use it as a pizza stone! Believe me, if you want to make “real” pizza at home without any other special equipment, you need to get this pan!

So go ahead and stir up the dough, and I’ll be back within three days (the dough is made three days ahead) with the rest of the story.

Make "Real" Pizza at Home, Part Two
Make "Real" Pizza at Home, Part Three

Pizza Dough

(Makes two 18-ounce crusts for two 13-inch pizzas)

4 packed cups (20 ounces/567 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon (12.5 grams) sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons (9 grams) salt
1 teaspoon (0.125 ounces/3.5 grams) instant yeast
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups (14 fluid ounces/414 ml) water, room temperature

1 In large bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and instant yeast. With dough whisk or wooden spoon, stir in the oil and water until thoroughly combined. Stir for a minute. Stir in remaining flour a half cup at a time. The finished dough will be elastic and sticky.

2 Oil two 1.5-quart lidded bowls and their lids; set aside. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Cut the dough into 2 equal (18-ounce) pieces. Sprinkle flour over the dough. With floured hands, gently round each piece into a ball.

3 Dip each dough ball into one of the oiled bowls, rolling the dough in the oil, and then put the lid on. Rest the dough in the refrigerator for three days.


Swathi said...

Homemade pizza dough is always best, thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Swathi, thank you for commenting on this very first post, posted 6 1/2 years ago. It was a long time before anyone besides my husband even knew I had a blog, so I didn't even have a comment from a friend or relative! :D I think it is the only post that never got a single comment, and that is why I added it to the link party!