In a typical week, no meal excites me more than pizza night.
This is also the only meal that my 4-year-old insists on helping me with; he loves stretching out the dough and watching his pizza cook in the oven.
I also told him early on that a good chef is always tasting the food; he’s equated this with grabbing a few shreds of cheese off of each pizza before it goes into the oven to make sure it, “tastes right.”
Our go-to is fairly simple, but tastes so good every time.
We form the dough and throw it into a 550°F/290°C oven for a few minutes to set the dough (skip this if you don’t like the end product a bit crispy).
As a side note, I started out putting corn meal on the pizza peel to keep the dough from sticking when transferring to the oven. As my long-time replacement to this process, I can’t say enough good things about parchment paper. It makes the transfers so easy, it keeps the pizza stone clean, and surprisingly, it doesn’t engulf in flames at 550°F/290°C for 10-20min.
Once a bit bubbly, we take the dough out and cover with a few spoons of homemade sauce and a bag of organic shredded mozzarella from Trader’s Joes.
Then it goes back in the oven for 10-15min until it looks like the picture above.
Once out of the oven and before slicing, drip a nice olive oil over the top, grate some Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and sprinkle some oregano – then slice & serve.
I always like to make enough so that there are leftovers; there’s something so good about cold, next-day pizza.
Let’s talk about flour. My favorite flour to use for pizza dough right now, and in general, is Cento Anna Napoletana Tipo “00” Extra Fine Flour. I order a 5kg bag from Amazon every 4-5 months or so and that works out to about 2 pizzas a week.
Any flour that you have will work, but there is a bit of nuance between the flour/water ratio depending on the brand, type, etc. If you’re unsure, always start with a bit less flour and add more in until the dough is of a consistency that you like.
- 14oz cold water
- 1 teaspoon of instant yeast
- 1/4 cup olive oil (+ a bit more)
- 600g of flour (+/-)
- 12.5g of sea salt
- In a stand mixer (or equivalent), pour in 14oz of cold water and sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of yeast over it (try to avoid clumping)
- Mix at the lowest speed for a few seconds to dissolve the yeast a bit.
- Pour in 1/4 C of olive oil and mix at a low speed for a little bit more.
- Weigh out 600g of flour and mix in 12.5g of salt
- Again at a low speed, pour the flour/salt mixture into the mixer and keep it going until the dough is mixed. It’s important not to mix for too long, but in general, keep an eye on the sides to see how things are being incorporated.
- Now comes the part that requires some practice; the dough should be sticky, but not so sticky that it’s impossible to remove from the bowl. I end up adding a bit more flour until the dough gets to the point where I can manage it with my hands without having to pull large clumps off of my fingers.
- With the dough ball, I like to put a splash of olive oil into a bowl and then set on top of a scale and zero it out.
- Roll the dough in the olive oil until there’s a thin layer across the entire ball.
- Weigh the dough out and divide by 4 to get your per-pizza weight.
- Now break off and weigh the dough until you have 4 dough balls of equal weight.
- I usually wrap 2 dough balls a bit heavily and throw them immediately in the freezer.
- If you’re making pizzas within the next 4-6hrs, wrap the other 2 and leave them on the counter; otherwise put them in the fridge for a pizza night some time this week.
- Before making the pizzas, take the dough out of the fridge 4-6hrs before you plan on cooking.