There are moments in the kitchen when you just have to yell "YES!" and do the Kevin McCallister fist pump. This recipe brought one of those moments. I have always been intrigued by the idea of making my own pizza dough at home. I am super-picky about my pizza. Well, I'm super-picky in general but for pizza I prefer a thinner, crispy crust over a thick, doughy version that you will find in most of the pizza parlors in our town. I believe (and correct me if I'm wrong) it would be called Neapolitan style: thinner, crispy, slightly charred crust, light on the toppings and sauce. Of course, for a real Neapolitan pizza you would need a wood burning oven, which I do not currently own (bucket list) so I have to make do with a pizza stone.
Anywho... I stumbled on this recipe over at I Am A Food Blog and was intrigued because not only did it promise the Neapolitan style pizza I so craved but the dough requires no kneading. No kneading?! If you have ever struggled with a wad of springy dough, trying desperately to stretch it out to a decent sized pizza-pie only to have it mock you again and again by bouncing back into a small wad of dough, you can understand my excitement.
So I figured, "What the heck, I'll give it a shot." I started Monday night by prepping the dough, let it sit overnight, came home from work on Tuesday and...
...Oh...Em...Gee!!! What an easy recipe and it delivered on it's promises! I'll give you a little photo tour of the process: (I'm still working from my Iphone so sorry about the sketchy pics)
You have to start this dough the day before but don't let that intimidate you! The finished dough will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days so you could mix up the dough on Sunday night and have til Thursday to use it. And making the dough is super simple. Just combine the flour, salt and scant bit of yeast in a bowl then gradually stir in the water until you have a sticky mix. Cover it up and set it aside for at least 18 hours. That's right, do nothing to your mixture, just set it in a warmish spot and go about your life. The next day, after 18 hours, it will have expanded and bubbled and will look like the above photo.
The next step is to plop your dough out onto a cutting board, counter or baking sheet covered with flour and for good measure, sprinkle a little flour over your dough so it doesn't stick to your hands. Then simply use your hands to smoosh (it's a technical kitchen term, probably French) the dough out into a rectangular shape. Don't worry about dimensions, just get it spread out in an even layer. Then cut the dough into 4 equal portions, which will make (4) 10 inch pies OR cut it into (6) personal sized portions, which is what I did.
Next, take a portion and fold each corner up into the middle then put it seam sides down and using your hands gently shape it into a little ball. Don't get hung up on that last step, its not complicated. Just fold up the ends, pinch it off and turn it over so the top is a smooth dome as shown above. Dust all your little buns with flour and set them aside on your floured board (or pan or counter). Let them sit there, undisturbed for 1 hour. After 1 hour of naptime, they are ready to go!
I didn't get a picture of it, but take your rested dough ball and using your fingers once again smoosh the dough out into a pizza shape roughly 10" in diameter, dusting with flour as needed to avoid sticking. If you opted to make the 6 inch personal size, smoosh the dough out to approximately 6 or 7 inches in diameter.
Put your toppings on (please remember less is more), and cook in the hottest oven you have. Most kitchen ovens go up to 500-550F. I will give you links at the end that describe in full how to cook the pizzas, depending on whether or not you use a pizza stone. It will work just as well in a regular old baking sheet so don't stress out if you don't have a stone.
I set out a "toppings" bar since we each had our own personal sized pizza: red sauce, onions, jalapeno, tomato, olives, salami, etc. Can I make a suggestion? Follow my lead and do goat cheese, prosciutto, salami and a drizzle of Lucero olive oil. You will thank me later.
Or you could follow my niece's lead and put a little bit of everything...twice! It was the ultimate combo.
This was my pizza, on one side is the goat cheese combo and on the other side is all veggie. Making one side vegetarian made me feel a lot less guilty about the salami even though I inhaled the whole pizza. Girl math.
This was my brother's pizza, all sliced and ready to go.
There were 6 happy tummies that night, let me tell you. Right after we got everything cleaned up my brother said, "We should make some more dough tonight!" I don't know if I'm ready to eat pizza every day but I am definitely looking forward to trying this recipe out again real soon.
So that's my pizza story, now let me give you some details and the links to the recipe.
The original recipe comes from the March issue of Bon Appetit and you can get it here. The original recipe makes (6) 10 inch pizzas. This link describes the difference between cooking with a stone and a baking sheet. I wish I had read this first because technically I did it wrong. But it still tasted delicious.
Pick which ever size batch you want and let me know how you like it! Send me pics!