Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No-Knead Pizza Dough

If you had asked me 24 hours ago if it was worth waiting 18 hours for pizza dough to rise I probably would have told you no, and I would have been horribly wrong.   This pizza dough recipe developed by Jim Lahey, owner of New York's Sullivan Street Bakery, and published in Bon Appetit magazine, has everything you want out of a traditional pizza dough and all you have to do is wait....

Many homemade pizza dough recipes end up being to "biscuity", often failing to achieve the right texture or consistency.   However, if you are willing to do some planning and some waiting, you can make perfect crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, bubbly, delicious pizza dough.   This dough has great elasticity for making thin crust pizzas if that's your game.   The long hours of fermentation give it a yummy yeasty taste.   Resist the urge to overwork the dough in this no-knead recipe!

Ingredients:  (makes six 10"-12" pizzas.  I halfed this recipe)
  • 7.5 cups all-purpose flour (1000 grams) plus more for shaping
  • 4 tsp fine sea salt (or kosher)
  • 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 3 cups water
  • Whisk together the flour, salt and yeast in a medium bowl.  While stirring, slowly add 3 cups of water.  Stir together until well mixed.   Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together into a ball.  Dough will be sticky. 
  • Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature (72F) in a draft free area until dough has doubled in size and is covered with tiny bubbles.  This will take approximately 18 hours (less time in warmer rooms, more time in cooler rooms). 
  • Once risen, transfer the dough to a well floured surface and divide into six portions.   Form each portion into a ball by gathering the edges into the center to create a fold, turn seam side down and mold into a ball. Dust dough with flour and set aside. 
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen cloth and allow to rest for 1 hour.   (Alternatively, you could wrap the dough in plastic wrap and save in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Let the dough rest at room temperature for 2-3 hours after taking out of the fridge.)
Making the Pizzas
  • While the dough is resting pre-heat your oven to the highest setting (500-550 degrees on most ovens).  This is also a good time to prep your toppings. 
  • Proceed with well floured hands  With your hands spaced a few inches apart, begin stretching the dough starting at the edges, while moving in a circle.  Resist the urge to flatten the dough (retain as many bubbles as you can).  Continue rotating and stretching until the dough is about 8" across. 
  • Pick up the flattened disc and transfer it to your knuckles (get in your pizza making stance).  Slowly rotate the dough while gently stretching the edges, letting gravity do the work until the dough is 10"-12" inches across. 
  • Flop the dough down onto a floured surface and pull the edges outward.  The dough is elastic and will want to shrink back up.  Don't worry about getting in a perfect circle, it's overrated.  I made mine intentionally oblong so they would fit on my baking sheet. 
  • IF USING A BAKING SHEET:  Arrange the dough on your baking sheet and put the desired toppings on. Bake until the bottom of the crust is crisp and top is blistered, about 10-12 minutes on the middle rack. 
  • IF USING A PIZZA STONE: When ready to bake turn the oven to broil.  Sprinkle your pizza peel or rimless baking sheet with flour.  Prepare pizza on the peel, and with small, quick back and forth movements, slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone.  Broil, rotating halfway until bottom is crisp and top is blistered, about 5-7 minutes.  

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