Everyone loves pizza. I don't care who you are or where you are from you love pizza. Red sauce, white sauce, veggie or meat lover, pizza is in your top five. There is just nothing to hate about pizza. It is like the noble sandwich, they live by the same motto, take bread and fill or in pizzas case top with whatever your hungry heart fancies. That freedom to say make a peanut butter and mayo sandwich, I know someone who loves these things Blech!,or say a caviar and lobster pizza, is what makes Pizza a top five on every ones list.
What also helps make pizza the ambassador of tastyflavorville is its ease and convenience. It is easier to order a pizza to be delivered than just about anything else. Whats funny is with just a marginal amount of effort and a few key ingredients anyone can make a killer pizza pie. To help all those pizza lovers out there I have what I think is one of the best pizza dough recipes I have used to date.
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
4 cups unbleached "OO" flour, (regular all purpose flour can be used but the "OO", which can be found at specialty Italian shops like Mazzaros, or even ordered of the Internet, makes all the difference in the world. So it is worth the special trip.)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus some for bowl.
Sprinkle yeast over water, let stand until yeast is creamy, about 5 to 10 minutes, if it doesn't get creamy you need to try a different batch your yeast ain't yeasting.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt and form a well in the center. Add yeast mixture and oil;stir until dough just comes together. Take your big sticky ball of dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead vigorously for 10 minutes. Make sure you are warmed up because kneading vigorously for ten minutes is a nice little work out, but you can do it. Not done yet either, cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes, then yes knead for another 10 minutes. Your really looking to have a nice smooth surface on the dough when your done. Lightly oil a large bowl, Form dough into ball, turn into bowl and lightly coat with the oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Punch down dough with your fist, then fold sides over on another, turn dough, tightly cover bowl with plastic and let sit for at least 4 hours up to 24. It will be worth the wait friends trust me.
Quarter your large dough ball and shape pieces into balls and place on a lightly floured work surface, leaving some room in between each ball. Loosely cover with damp dishtowel(not terry cloth) and let rise at room temperature until doubled.
While your dough is resting and rising you should be heating your to 500 to 550 degrees. Your oven needs to be as hot as it can possibly be, you can also use your grill if you can accurately gage the temperature.
Once your oven is hot, and you have selected your favorite toppings on a lightly floured work surface, press 1 dough ball with your fingers to begin to shape into a round. Use your fist and hands to gently stretch dough to a 10-inch round. you can use a rolling pin to help roll out your dough. For me a circle is nice but not super important. If you don't have a pizza stone don't fret you can use a baking sheet, just make sure you use a little yellow cornmeal and sprinkle olive oil on the sheet before baking. Once your pizza hits the oven it should only take about seven minutes or until your pizza is golden brown and bubbly and melty and delicious looking.
Now go into the kitchen and create, have fun, a fill your mouth with a tasty treat you made with your own hands, I promise it will taste better. If you have a different recipe you like better please share.