I am obsessed with making pizza dough lately…You know, I used to think that pizza was all about the toppings. Now, don’t get me wrong. I take my toppings seriously. I do love a good cheese and pepperoni once in a while, but most of the time, I like a sloppy pizza. I want it almost impossible to eat. But really…the toppings, they’re just secondary. They don’t mean a thing if they’re not on the right foundation. A crust that is thin, but not too thin. A slight crunch on the bottom, but doughy and chewy in the middle. It’s all about the pizza dough.
I’ll tell you, this has been a long trial and error “perfecting pizza dough” quest that I’ve been on. Years, actually. Always hopeful, always thinking “this has got to be the one”… only to be disappointed time and time again.
Well, what I’ve found out over the years, with the advice of a friend at work who taught me that weighing ingredients gives you a much better result than measuring, and the amount of time you let the dough sit, and the temperature of the oven all play into the perfect crust. And the beauty of it? It’s not complicated at all!
This crust is made of simple ingredients, flour, salt, yeast, and water all mixed together in a bowl and left to rise overnight. What I’ve learned is that measuring the flour is inconsistent. There is a difference in the amount of flour measured versus weighing the flour. By using a scale, you will get the same result each time.
Okay, so I get that. I really do. Especially for the professional baker. But does the home baker really need to weigh ingredients? No. I don’t think so. I think of my Grandma Bucolo who used a little coffee cup and a spoon to measure everything. I don’t remember once thinking, “Geez grandma, you’re off your game. You should have weighed your ingredients”. No. When grandma baked, it was delicious. Perfect? Probably not. But it was grandmas home baking, and there was nothing better.
Now, having said that.. for this pizza dough, I weigh my flour. And that’s because I want it to turn out exactly the same every single time I make it. It all goes back to the perfect foundation for the toppings. I want it to be perfect. Every time.
If you let the dough sit for a few hours, it’s going to rise normally, and you really could use it then. But if you let it sit overnight, the yeast ferments releasing a sugary, tangy flavor that makes the wait all worthwhile!
And finally, the heat. A hot oven (between 450 and 500 degrees) will produce a pizza with that crisp on the outside, and that chewy goodness on the inside. A slightly charred crust that gives it a hint of that smoky flavor that comes from a wood fired oven!
As far as the toppings, that’s a personal preference. My cravings change constantly. Sometimes I want sausage and peppers, sometimes I just want cheese, pepperoni, and mushrooms. But most of the time? I want it all. (sans anchovies of course…) Like I said before, I want it sloppy, impossible to eat, with a stack of napkins and a fork and knife if need be. But no matter how you like your pizza, this is the perfect foundation for your toppings!
Life is good. It’s a “Simple ingredients, simple process, crazy delicious crust!” kind of good.
- 500 grams all purpose flour (or 3½ cups)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp yeast
- 1½ cups warm water
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, yeast, and water until it forms a lumpy dough. Move the dough to a floured surface, and knead for about three to five minutes until it forms a smooth ball of dough. Place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let sit overnight.
- This will make 2 pizzas. Roll out and top with your favorite toppings. Bake at 450 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until the pizza is bubbling and golden brown.