Sunday, January 19, 2014

Perfect Pizza

Recently the hus and I have taken it upon ourselves to start making pizza. Not just any pizza, either. It's amazing. I'm going to give credit where it's due- I saw the dough recipe on America's Test Kitchen, and they nailed it. Fair warning: this is a make ahead recipe (the dough has to chill out overnight), but it is more than worth the wait.

To make this awesome pizza at home you will need:

a food processor (mine is a 7 cup, but I'd recommend a slightly larger food processor as mine is barely big enough)
food scale (flour is measured in oz, not cups)

16.5 oz bread flour (the flour makes all the difference, sometimes I mix a little bit of whole wheat flour in--about 2-3 ounces. Just make sure your total weight of flour is 16.5 oz)
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/3 cup ice cold water, that's right, ice cold

1 Tablespoon oil (canola is what I use)
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Toppings: I use 6-8oz mozzerella cheese per pizza, tomato sauce of your choosing, and any meats or veggies your heart desires!

Start by putting the flour, yeast and sugar into the bowl of your food processor. Put on he lid and while the processor is running, slowly add in the water through the hole in the top until it is all incorporated. Let the dough mix about 30-60 seconds after all the water has been added then turn off the food processor and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

After those ten minutes, add in the tablespoon of oil and the salt, mix the dough an additional 30 seconds in the processor, then turn out onto a greased (not floured) surface and knead by hand another minute or so. Form a nice ball and place it into a greased bowl. Refrigerate overnight. The dough will slowly rise in the refrigerator and you get a very smooth dough for forming--and a nice chewy New York style crust!

Take the dough out of the refrigerator an hour before you start assembling the pizzas so it can warm up a bit. I generally clean off the counter and separate the dough into two equal balls before I let it warm up ( this can speed up the process a little and I want my pizza ASAP!).

Lucky me, has a husband that worked in pizza places while he was in high school so he is pretty good at tossing our pizzas by hand. If you don't have this talent, you can also just press out the dough with your hands on a lightly floured surface, leave a little extra around the edges for that yummy chewy crust handle we all love :) Our pizzas generally come out about 18-20" in diameter, if you like a little thicker crust you could make a slightly smaller pizza.

Move an oven rack to the top of your oven (about 6 inches from the top) and preheat to 425 degrees. In a perfect world you would have a pizza peel and a pizza stone and be able to cook your pizza directly on the stone. We've done it on a pizza pan, as shown above. It comes out pretty darn delicious either way. Being close to the top of the oven forces the heat that hits the top of the oven (heat rises) to reflect back down onto your pizza. It only takes about 12 minutes for your pizza to fully cook! Make sure not to load it down with too many toppings, the dough is really spectacular and yummy!

Wait about 5 minutes after removing from the oven, slice up and enjoy! We make this almost every week now, with new toppings every time :)

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