May 24, 2011

Pizza Crust Mastery

While we've been enjoying first-class pizza at my house for a while now (thanks Mom for all the pizza tips), I finally found my perfect pizza crust. I've tried a handful of pizza crust recipes over the last year. All have tasted great, but this pizza crust recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day has simply wowed me. This is my favorite crust ever! As I was eating this pizza I couldn't stop complimenting myself.

Here are some step-by-step photos documenting the process:

the dough after mixing (no kneading required)

the dough after rising a few hours

pizza with toppings ready to go in the oven

after baking

the perfect crust has dark brown spots

an awesome air bubble, caused by letting the dough sit in the fridge for a few hours


This pizza topping combo is another from Dewey's pizza. This is my second favorite combo, after the Edgar Allen Poe.

Socrates' Revenge Pizza Topping
inspired by Dewey's Pizza

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 handfuls spinach
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup sliced green olives
1 Tbsp. thinly chopped red onions
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup diced tomato
1 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley

Put spinach in a bowl and cover with water. Boil in the microwave for 3 minutes. Drain water, rinse with cold water. Drain the cold water and squeeze the spinach to remove as much water as possible. Cut the spinach into slices.

Brush crust with olive oil and spread minced garlic evenly over crust. Add mozzarella cheese, spinach, black olives, green olives, and red onions. Sprinkle feta cheese on top. Bake pizza and remove from oven. Add tomatoes and parsley.

Olive Oil Pizza Dough
adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day(makes about 4 pizzas)

2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix the water, yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil in a 5-quart, lidded container or bowl.

Mix in the flour, without kneading, using a wooden spoon. Mix just until all ingredients are incorporated, no more.

Cover, not airtight, and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours, until the dough rises and then flattens on top.

Store covered in the fridge for a few hours before using or freezing. Dough can be stored in the fridge for 12 days. For longer storage, divide the dough into one pound chunks (about grapefruit size) and put in a quart-size ziploc bag and freeze.

To make the pizza: On the day you are going to make pizza, take the dough out of the fridge. Dust the surface of the dough with some flour and pull off a one pound chunk (using a serrated knife or kitchen shears), about the size of a grapefruit. Put the rest of the dough back in the fridge to be used another day.

Heat oven to 500 and put a pizza stone in the oven on the bottom-most rack. Heat the stone for at least 20 minutes.

Roll out the pizza crust till thin (adding flour as needed for sticky dough) on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with corn meal (or flour) and then transfer crust and paper to a flat, portable surface, like a cutting board or upside-down cookie sheet. Add all toppings to the crust. Carefully slide the pizza (paper and all) from the flat surface to the baking stone in the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crust and cheese are golden brown. Keep on eye on it - it will bake much faster than you think. Remove the pizza and parchment paper from the stone to a cutting board or plate. Slice and eat as soon as possible!

To use dough from the freezer: The night before or the morning of, put the crust in the fridge to thaw. Right before making the pizza, let the dough sit out for a half hour or longer to make sure it's not too cold.


Danielle said...

We always use the deweys crust recipe, but we will have to try this!

Denae said...

I think mom likes this recipe too.