Thursday, April 26, 2012

No Knead Pizza Dough

This discovery was so exciting that I couldn’t wait until the end of finals to share it.  What if you were looking for the perfect pizza recipe RIGHT NOW and I hadn’t posted this yet?!  The timing of this post is also ideal because it happens to be Lily's birthday!  And if there is one thing that Lily loves, its pizza.

I’ve been on a search for the enigma that is the crispy pizza crust for quite some time, so I was intrigued when Bon Appétit featured this recipe on the cover of their March issue.  I was planning to wait until this summer to try it (because I will be living at home in Seattle and can take advantage of mom and dad's pizza stone) but then I read a suggestion on Tastespotting to use a cast iron skillet instead!  Worked beautifully- the crust was SO crisp.  Like, more crisp than most restaurants.  And so flavorful-  according to pizza guru Jim Lahey this is the product of letting the dough sit and develop flavor for at least 24 hours.  I kept mine in the fridge for 3 days (which by the way builds a lot of anticipation, so I’m glad it turned out well).  I think I told about half the law school that I was excited to make pizza yesterday.

If you have ever been scared of making bread or using yeast, this is the ideal gateway recipe.  You just mix the dough together and then let it sit for days- no kneading or any other fancy tricks.  I’ve included the exact Bon Appétit recipe below which makes 6 small pizzas but I actually halved it and the dough still turned out perfectly.  I made 4 pizzas- but mine were a bit small.

Here are my tips for pizza perfection:
•    Use this dough recipe!!
•    Either use a pizza stone or another pan (like a cast iron one) that you can preheat
•    Set your oven at its hottest temperature and let it preheat for about an hour
•    If using fresh mozzarella, slice it and then blot it with a paper towel to get out moisture
•    Cook for a very short amount of time: 5-8 minutes tops

Makes 6 10”-12” pizzas
From Bon Appétit and Jim Lahey
Click here to print

7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1000 grams) plus more for shaping dough
4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 3 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature (about 72°) in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room).

Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 6 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions.

Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in plastic wrap and chill. Unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap, for 2–3 hours before shaping.

To Make the Pizzas
During the last hour of dough's resting, prepare oven: If using a pizza stone, arrange a rack in upper third of oven and place stone on rack; preheat oven to its hottest setting, 500°–550°, for 1 hour. If using a baking sheet, arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to its hottest setting, 500°–550°. (You do not need to preheat the baking sheet.)
Working with 1 dough ball at a time, dust dough generously with flour and place on a floured work surface. Gently shape dough into a 10"–12" disk.

If Using Pizza Stone
When ready to bake, increase oven heat to broil. Sprinkle a pizza peel or rimless (or inverted rimmed) baking sheet lightly with flour. Place dough disk on prepared peel and top with desired toppings.
Using small, quick back-and-forth movements, slide pizza from peel onto hot pizza stone. Broil pizza, rotating halfway, until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, 5–7 minutes.
Using peel, transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat, allowing pizza stone to reheat under broiler for 5 minutes between pizzas.

If Using a Baking Sheet
Arrange dough disk on baking sheet; top with desired toppings. Bake pizza until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat with remaining pizzas.

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