For those of you that have seen my culinary variety show, The Edible Inevitable Tour, you know that pizza is near and dear to my heart. I would receive a decent amount of inquires after the show asking for my dough recipe.
When I decided to add a pizza demo to the my live stage show, I knew I needed a dough that was easy to mix and could stand up to considerable tossing, twisting, mangling, stretching and baking while producing a great looking and tasting pizza. Building on my original Good Eats Pizza Pizza, which I’ve counted on for years, I think I’ve finally formulated the final pizza dough I will ever need.
Yes, you will need a scale for this and yes, you need to work in grams. Luckily, most digital scales these days have a “tare” function, which means you can zero-out each ingredient before you add the next.
THE FINAL PIZZA
- 690 grams bread flour ((plus 1/2 cup or so for shaping))
- 9 grams active (dry yeast (I use Red Star and no, they don't pay me to say that))
- 15 grams sugar
- 20 grams kosher salt
- 455 grams bottled water
- 15 grams olive oil (plus extra for brushing crust)
- Sauce and pizza toppings as desired
- Stand mixer with dough hook
- Large mixing bowl (optional)
- Plastic wrap
- Wooden pizza peel
- Pizza stone or pan
- Basting brush
- Bench scraper (dough blade or serrated bread knife)
- Pizza cutter
- No-stick spray (or more olive oil)
- Scale the dry ingredients together and place all the dry ingredients in the work bowl of your stand mixer. Scale the liquids into a measuring cup then add to the dry ingredients.
- Install the bowl on the mixer and attach the dough hook and turn the mixer to “stir.”
- Mix until the dough just comes together, forming a ball and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Increase the mixer speed to medium (4 on a Kitchen Aid) and knead for 5 minutes.
- Remove the dough to a lightly floured countertop and smooth into a ball. Spray a mixing bowl (or the mixer’s work bowl) with no-stick spray or rub with the oil. Place dough in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours.
- Remove dough to counter and punch down into a rough rectangle shape then tightly roll into a log 12-15 inches in length. Split the dough into 3 equal parts using the scraper or either a large serrated knife or a dough scraper. Flatten each into a disk, then shape it into a smooth ball by folding the edges of the round in toward the center several times and rolling it between your hands on the counter. You may want to moisten the counter with water to up the surface tension a bit so that the ball tightens up instead of sliding across the counter.
- Cover each ball with a clean tea towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes. (At this point you can also transfer doughs to air-tight plastic containers and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Just make sure you bring them to room temp for half an hour before forming.)
- To bake, heat oven (pizza stone inside on lower rack) to 500 degrees F, or hotter if possible. Give the oven a good half hour to heat up.
- When you’re ready to build the pizzas, sprinkle a couple teaspoons of flour on a peel and place the dough right in the middle. Pound the dough into a disk with your hands, then pick it up and pull it through your fingers to create the outer lip, a critical feature that cannot be created with a rolling pin. (In fact, rolling rather than stretching will just ruin the whole gosh-darned thing.)
- At this point you need to start stretching the dough. The most-efficient way to do this is to spin the dough so that the weight of the outer lip stretches the dough via centrifugal force. You can also stretch the dough on the board by turning and pulling it, and turning and pulling. Shake the peel from time to time to make sure the dough doesn’t stick. Sticking would be bad.
- Brush the lip with oil, then dress the pizza with olive oil and tomato sauce. Even distribution is tricky, so you may want to ladle an ounce or two into the middle and then spread it out with the back of the ladle. Top with fresh herbs (oregano and basil) and a good melting cheese. I usually go with a mixture of mozzarella, Monterery Jack and provolone, but that’s me.
- Slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone. To do this, position the front edge of the peel about 1-inch from the back of the stone. Lift the handle and jiggle gently until the pizza slides forward. As soon as the dough touches the stone, start pulling the peel back toward you while still jiggling. While a couple of inches of dough are on the stone, quickly snap the peel straight back. As long as the dough isn’t stuck on the peel, it will park itself nicely on the stone.
- Keep an eye on the dough for the first 3 to 4 minutes. If any big bubbles start ballooning up, reach in with a paring knife or fork and pop them. Bake for 7 minutes or until the top is bubbly. Then slide the peel under and lift to check the underside, which should be nicely brown.
- Slide the peel under the pizza and remove to the counter or a cutting board. Let it rest for at least 2 minutes before slicing with a chef’s knife or pizza cutter (one of my favorite multitaskers).