Making pizza at home is not an easy task.
However, with attention to details, a lot of patience and practice, your hard work will be rewarded in the form of a really good and flavorful crust.
My recipe is the result of years of experimenting with many different ones.
Before getting to the procedure, let's talk about all the elements that influence its outcome.
Too many people put way too much yeast in their pizza dough. Little yeast (no more than 1/4 of a teaspoon for 1 lb of flour) is essential to make the dough rise the right way over a longer period of time. Too much of it causes many negative effects, ranging from difficulty in rolling out the dough to indigestibility and yeasty taste.
There are many kinds of flours available: I recommend using one with a high protein content (11> grams of protein every 100 grams of flour). That will allow a longer rise.
The more water in the dough, the easier it will be to roll out and the crisper it will be on the outside and the chewier on the inside.
Salt inhibits yeast, so it is important to add it after the dough is formed.
The longer the dough will rise, the more digestible and flavorful, as the yeast slowly eats its way through the sugars.
Don't overload your pizza with too many toppings. Use good sauce and mozzarella. Make your tomato sauce by mixing broken down peeled tomatoes, a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and fresh basil or oregano. Cut the mozzarella into 3-inch long strips and place them a colander with a weight on top of it and a bowl below the colander. Let the mozzarella drain in the fridge 1 hour before baking. This will prevent most of the water released by the cheese from ending up in the pizza, making it a soggy mess.
INGREDIENTS (makes 3 pizzas)
Flour: 450 gr (about 1 lb)
Water: 300 ml (about 1.3 cups)
Yeast: 2 gr (about 1/4 of a teaspoon)
Salt: 10 grams (about 2/3 of a tablespoon)
1) In a bowl gently mix half of the flour with 250 ml of water. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, covered. This process is called autolyse.
2) Dissolve the yeast in 50 ml of water, add it to the initial dough, gradually add the remaining flour and mix well.
3) Add salt and knead the dough for about 15 minutes.
4) Place the dough in a sealed container and let it sit for about 6 hours in a draft-free area, to allow it to double up in size. It is best to leave the dough ferment in the fridge for 24 hours.
5) Divide the dough into 3 equal portions, stretch and knead each one of them and mold gently to make 3 balls. Cover them with a damp towel for about 4-6 hours or in sealed containers.
6) Turn the oven on at 550°F with convection function. Place the pizza stone on the middle rack and let the oven warm for at least 30 minutes.
7) Put a small pot of water at the button of the oven. This will create moisture and will prevent the pizza from drying out.
7) Dust a bunch of flour on the counter and some on a spatula, and carefully pick up one of the pizza balls with it. Put a little flour on the work surface. Using your fingertips, start stretching out the dough from the center outward, making sure to leave about 1-inch of the edges alone. Then, pick it up and carefully stretch it either using your fists or or by flipping the dough between both hands, always paying attention to the edges. Finish stretching it on the work surface with both hands (watch the video below).
8) Lay the dough on a pizza peel or on 2 pieces of lightly floured cardboard, as shown on the video below. Add toppings and bake it for about 6 to 8 minutes. When the edges of the crust become golden brown, your pizza is ready.
10) This is a trick of mine that helps immensely: instantly cover your pizza with a pot or a pan for about 5 minutes. This will allow the crust to soften, obtaining a fully-cooked pizza with an amazing texture, instead of an hard brick.
TYPES OF PIZZA
The possibilities are endless... but always use good ingredients.To make a Margherita pizza, pour 2 tablespoons of red sauce on the dough, spread it from the center outward, leaving almost 2 inches on the edges without. Then, add some basil leaves, the slices of mozzarella and the rest of the ingredients. Don't put too much sauce or mozzarella, or your pizza will turn into a soggy mess. To make a pizza without red sauce, pour a little oil on the dough and gently distribute throughout. Then add the grated cheese of your choosing, slices of mozzarella and the rest of the ingredients.