The Senior Editor
A few at VT are trained chefs, top of that heap are Chester and Duff. The idea for this is not to create the best but rather the best made at home that is hard to screw up.
What will come out of this will be ‘very nice’….
Key issues here are flour type…use of sugar…and olive oil….plus of course procedures…
Thus…this will produce a standard takeout pizza better than you are getting and far better than you probably make at home.
Everything is about dough. This pizza dough also makes a pretty good french bread but with 8 days of usable/no mold time…unlike the crap sold in france.
Flour: King Arthur Bread Flour (Walmart) This is really good stuff. Go out and buy a bag, under 5 bucks.
We start with a 1 1/2 cups of pretty warm water in a good sized bowl…i use stainless steel
Add a tablespoon of dry yeast (or a cake of yeast) and some sugar…teaspoon…maybe more. It just doesn’t matter. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Set up work surface. I use a dough knife and a pyrex/glass rolling board and a marble rolling pin. Use what you have.
Now add flour to the mix…two cups and stir
Then add 3 tablespoons/heaping of sugar (wtf?) If you tried the Alibi Bar pizza on Rochester MI (superb) they double the sugar.
Then two tablespoons of olive oil…any quality
Rubber spatula remove sloppy dough to work surface.
there is a technique here…using a dough knife…or a putty knife…clean…same thing…start lifting the dough as you sprinkle with flour. As you add flour, you lift the dough, turn it, push it down. Make sure you flour your hands as well. (you will have washed them 4 times by now)
Dough is ready to knead when you have enough flour in it that it is no longer tacky/sticky
Based on the oil…and other things…this could be more than a cup….
Dough should be kneaded well….lots of muscle…turning, stretching….8 minutes? Yeah, why not.
Set oven for proof or turn on over to 280…run for 5 minutes then turn it off. Same thing.
Dough goes back in bowl and into the proofing oven. It probably won’t need to be covered or oiled.
In a few minutes…20…it will rise to the top of the bowl…or higher. Take it out, push it back down, lift and turn it with the rubber spatula.
Let it rise again…still in the proofing oven….then repeat the ‘push down’ and then…yes…do the whole thing again.
3 times gives you the crust you want…
You can then refrigerate the dough for 4 hours…which will make it work more easily without ‘snapping back’ or go for it now.
Unless you are a really good pizza tosser…….
The size piece you need will be just under the size of a softball.
Choose a pan….black if possible…do your best….round if you can. Plain aluminum cookie sheets are crap for pizza.
I would roll out your pizza…fairly thin…on your work surface…using flour to keep it from sticking. Do your best…if this fails…go to “push and stretch”….
I use corn meal under the dough and recommend the same….hand full spread on the pan and lay the rolled crust over it.
Use fingertips to ‘dipple’ the dough….and make sure you have some crust rolled up at the sides…
For sauce…this time use a canned quality pizza sauce….go for something creative later.
Spread carefully….not too much….maybe 3 tablespoons…
For cheese…this time use the best pizza block you can….meaning bagged pizza cheese….
No complex toppings for your first pizza of this type. Two cups of cheese…
Consider using oregano…sparingly…
Fine sliced sweet onion…sparingly…
Tiny drizzle of olive oil….optional.
I use my Breville Air Fryer/Toaster Oven…at highest temp. Get an oven really hot…on convection…and aim for a middle shelf when you reach obscene temperature…500 degrees or more…
Pop it in…and don’t be surprised if it is done in less than 10 minutes…
If you screw up underside crust…then try to fry the pizza on a large frying pan or similar…tons of heat…olive oil smoking….do part at a time if needed…watch carefully for burning….
you can reheat like this…which can also mean doing 30 seconds of “cheese side down”…
but chances are this won’t be needed if you rolled the crust thin enough.
This leaves you enough dough for 2 more pizza’s…dough which can be wrapped in plastic and kept in the refrigerator or frozen or….made into french bread.
When baking french bread…tins of water need to be placed in the oven to make steam…which makes the crust.