"When the Moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie...that's amore"
Who doesn't know that famous line by Mr. Dean Martin?
Well, after putting baking, pizzas and breads on my private backburner for quite awhile I thought it's time for a NY-style inspired thin crust pizza. In other words...the good stuff.
In one of my pizza entries, I mentioned a poolish, how to make it, its characteristics and the effects it has on a finished dough. For this pizza we won't be using anything but a straight-up dough formula, meaning no poolish, no preferments, nada. However, this dough will receive a 24hr cold-rise, which means we will let it ferment/rise for 24 hours in the fridge.
In my last pizza post I also talked about what is needed to make a successful pizza - one that rivals the Pros - at home so I won't repeat myself here in order to not bore you out of your skull. But just like in the other pizza post, I'll be using metric measurements and Baker's percent to ensure accuracy. Volume measurements differ too much if you want to make the same dough again with the same success.
So without much further ado, let's get to it.
The flour plays the most important part for this type of pizza, so a good quality, strong bread flour such as the King Arthur Bread Flour, available at Safeway, is essential to the outcome. We will also be using Active Dry Yeast (ADY) instead of Instant Dry Yeast because it delivers a bit better oven spring and provides a nice rise. On to the recipe or dough formula...
This formula will make one dough ball at 460 grams (16oz rounded down) or one 16" size pizza. If your stone can't hold a 16" pie, just make the biggest size your stone is capable of accommodating. But you might end up with a puffier rim, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but also not very authentic in regards to NY-style pizza.
What you'll need:
Bread Flour (King Arthur Blue Label)
Red Star yeast (much better than Fleischman but Fleischer's will work just fine)
and a great pizza stone.
Either way, here are the numbers...
Flour (100%): 270.59 g | 9.54 oz | 0.6 lbs
Water (64%): 173.18 g | 6.11 oz | 0.38 lbs
ADY (0.2%): 0.54 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.14 tsp | 0.05 tbsp
Salt (1.8%): 4.87 g | 0.17 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.87 tsp | 0.29 tbsp
Oil (2%): 5.41 g | 0.19 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.2 tsp | 0.4 tbsp
Sugar (2%): 5.41 g | 0.19 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.36 tsp | 0.45 tbsp
Total (170%): 460 g | 16.23 oz | 1.01 lbs |
This might look a little confusing at first but all the numbers are there, as well as the Baker's percentages, so that you can scale the dough formula easily up or down if you would like to make more than one pizza, let's say for a pizza party with friends. Here's a very helpful tool to do just that...and for even more accurate measuring, calculating and ease of use, try this nifty calculator.
Measure out the ingredients as accurately as possible with preferably a digital scale. Now, I understand that the yeast amount might be hard to measure without having a very sensitive scale so just go by the TSP measurement. But the rest of the numbers shouldn't pose a problem.
To hydrate the ADY we'll need a water temperature of 90°F to 105°F. Any warmer than that and you will kill the yeast, so be careful. Okay, now get your stand mixer out and pour the entire amount of yeast into the bowl. Then add about 1/2 tsp of sugar to the yeast. Measure out about 30 grams (3 oz) of water and if it doesn't have the right temperature just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds until it's warm, but always paying attention to the temperature.
Add the water to the bowl, whisk everything together and let sit for about 10 minutes. A layer of bubbly foam will appear on the surface. That's when the yeast is ready to boogie with the rest of the ingredients. Now add the rest of the water, preferably at the same temperature as the one the yeast got to swim in, add the oil, the flour and always at the end...add the salt. You do not want to have direct contact between the salt and yeast. It'll kill those little critters.
Once that's done, turn the mixer on at Speed 1 and combine everything until no raw, dry flour is visible. Take the hook off and cover the bowl with plastic foil and let rest 20 minutes. This will give the flour ample time to absorb most of the moisture. After that, turn the mixer on to Speed 2 and let it do its thing for about 6-8 minutes. Be careful not to over-knead or the crust will be extremely chewy and dense. Not good.
When done, pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball.
You see the cottage-cheese like texture in the left pic? That's an under-knead pizza dough. It's good, not bad, for our application here. Now, cover the ball up with plastic wrap once more and let it rest another 20-30 minutes and you should have something that looks like this:
The difference it very obvious. Place it in a lightly oiled bowl, covered it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 24 hours.
After that, take it out, bring it up to room temperature, covered by a damp towel. Pre-heat your oven to 550°F for about an hour with the stone on the lowest rack. Once the dough ball has come to room temperature, start shaping it into a thin-crust pie. If you have never done it before, here are some good videos and the how-to:
It'll get you started. But whatever you do, never roll pizza dough out. It'll destroy the gluten structure and you'll end up with a tough, chewy and sub-par pie.
Make sure your pizza peel is well -floured. By that I mean a slight dusting. You can use just simple flour, cornmeal, semolina...or my favorite;... A semolina/cornmeal blend.
Okay, so once you have stretched it out, place it onto the peel, top it with sauce,...a good sauce, mind you, good whole milk, low-moisture mozzarella and any topping you like. But, go easy on the toppings...sometimes less is actually more. Keep that in mind and shoot for a nice balance between sauce & cheese.
And into the oven it goes for about 6-8 minutes, turning the pizza once a 180°. When done, place it on a cooling rack for about 3-4 minutes then transfer it onto a cutting board or a pizza tray and cut it into individual slices.