Friday, February 5, 2010

Thin and Crispy Pizza Dough

Thin and Crispy Pizza Dough
makes 6 or 2 12-inch pies
This thin and crispy pizza crust makes an ideal base for both traditional (we found that pizzas in Italy have this type of base) and non-traditional pizzas but is especially suited for non-traditional varieties.  Remember this is baking not cooking and where in cooking is an art, recipes are guidelines and you can deviate for personal preferences, baking is a science and the recipe and procedures are a formula . . . deviation will drastically change the outcome.
1 cup lukewarm water (110°F to 115°F)
1 envelope active dry yeast, divided
1 cup all purpose flour, divided

Dough for 6 12-inch pies:
1 1/2 cups lukewarm (110°F to 115°F) water
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 envelope active dry yeast
6 cups (or more) all purpose flour

Dough for 2 12-inch pies:
½ cup lukewarm (110°F to 115°F) water
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 envelope active dry yeast
2 cups (or more) all purpose flour

to prepare the “sponge”:
1.  Place 1 cup lukewarm water in large bowl of heavy-duty mixer. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon yeast (reserve remaining yeast for dough) and 1/4 teaspoon flour over water. Let stand until yeast dissolves and mixture looks spongy, about 4 minutes.
2.  Add remaining flour and whisk until smooth; scrape down sides of bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow this “sponge” to rest, at room temperature in draft-free area, overnight (at least 12 hours).
to prepare the dough:
1.  Add the lukewarm water, salt, yeast to the matured sponge in the bowl.  To this add 2 or 6 cups flour (1 cup at a time) beating with dough hook to blend after each addition. Continue to beat until dough is smooth and comes cleanly away from sides of bowl, and is only slightly sticky to touch, scraping down bowl occasionally; about 5 minutes. If dough is very sticky, beat in more flour (¼ cup at a time).
2.  Transfer the dough onto lightly floured surface and knead into smooth ball; about 5 minutes do not skimp on this step as it develops the elasticity of the dough.
3.  Lightly coat the inside of a large bowl with extra-virgin olive oil. Add dough ball and turn to coat it with oil (be sure to coat the ball or it will stick to the plastic wrap as it grows). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to further develop for up to 6 hours, “punching” dough down when it doubles (after about 3 hours of rising).
4.  About 1 ½ hours before baking, dust 2 baking sheets with flour. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead gently; shape into 12-inch log. Cut into 2 or 6 equal pieces. Knead each piece into smooth ball. Arrange balls of dough on each sheet. Cover loosely with clean, damp (not wet) kitchen towels and let rise until almost doubled, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
5.  Proceed to form the pizzas.

Next Week's Post:  Caponata alla Siciliana

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