Scouting: Pizza Night & Amazing Pizza Dough Recipe

February 25, 2013

This weekend we went to Minneapolis to celebrate Febgiving (the celebration of Thanksgiving in February, natch). We ate like royalty all weekend between Friday night pizza with Kate (amazing photographer and food blogger) and her husband Kyle and the feast itself on Saturday afternoon (photos of last year’s event here).   Friday night the wine was flowing and the pizzas were amazing:

1. San marzano, fresh mozzarella, sautéed mushroom and truffle oil
2.Cambazola, prosciutto and pear
3. Roasted butternut squash, asparagus, goat cheese and garlic oil

Kate and Kyle have a pizza night every Friday night so they make a sourdough pizza dough from scratch every week, using a recipe from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5 Minutes a Day. (Wordy, but, delicious recipe after the jump!)

Mixing and Storing the Dough 1. Warm the water slightly: It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature, about 100 ° F. Using warm water will allow the dough to rise to the right point for storage in about 2 hours. 2. Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5-quart bowl or, preferably, in a lidded (not airtight) plastic food container or food-grade bucket (see here). Don’t worry about getting them to dissolve completely. 3.Then mix in the flour— kneading is unnecessary: Add all of the flour and mix with a wooden spoon, Danish dough whisk, 14-cup food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). You might need to use wet hands toget the last bit of flour to incorporate if you’re not using a machine. Don’t knead; it isn’t necessary. You’re finished when everything is uniformly moistened, without dry patches. This step is done in a matter of minutes, and yields dough that is loose enough to conform to the shape of its container. 4. Allow to rise: Cover with a non-airtight lid lid (see Equipment). Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until it begins to flatten on the top, approximately 2 hours, depending on the room’s temperature and the initial water temperature. Do not punch down the dough! With our method, you’re trying to retain as much gas in the dough as possible, and punching it down knocks out gas and will make your pizzas and flatbreads dense.  5. After rising, refrigerate and use over the next 14 days; the dough will develop sourdough characteristics over that time. Fully refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and is easier to work with than dough at room temperature. So, the first time you try our method, it’s best to refrigerate the dough overnight (or at least 3 hours) before use. Once it’s refrigerated, the dough will collapse, and it will never rise again in the bucket— that’s normal for our dough.
On Pizza Day 6. Prepare and measure toppings in advance: This will help you top the pizza quickly so you can get it into the oven before it sticks to the pizza peel. 7. Thirty minutes before you’re ready to bake, preheat a baking stone at your oven’s highest temperature, placed in the bottom third of the oven (consider a longer preheat if you’re finding the crust results are too soft;). 8. Shape a ball in 20 to 30 seconds. First, prepare a pizza peel with flour, cornmeal, or parchment paper to prevent your pizza from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven. Sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut off a 1/ 2-pound (orange-size) piece of dough, using a serrated knife or kitchen shears. Hold the piece of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the dough a quarter-turn as you go to form a ball. Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it’s not intended to be incorporated into the dough. The bottom of the ball may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out and adhere when you roll it into a pizza or flatbread. The entire process should take no longer than 20 to 30 seconds. 9. Roll out and stretch the pizza crust: Flatten the dough with your hands and a rolling pin on a work surface or directly onto the pizza peel (or shape the disk by hand, see here) to produce a 1/ 8-inch-thick round, dusting with flour to keep the dough from adhering to your work surface. A little sticking to the surface can be helpful in overcoming the dough’s resistance to stretch. Use a dough scraper to unstick the dough as needed, and transfer it to the prepared pizza peel if you haven’t already stretched the dough directly on one. (See Tips and Techniques, if you’d rather bake on a sheet pan). When you’re finished, the dough round will be about 12 inches across, and should have enough flour under it to move easily when you shake the peel. As you add toppings, continue to test for sticking by gently shaking the peel. The pizza should move freely. If it doesn’t, use the dough scraper and some flour to free it.
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Shelley March 1, 2013 at 7:31 pm

These look so delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe. If you’re ever in the San Diego, CA area, there’s a great restaurant called Pizza Nova. :)

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