Perfecting Making Pizza at Home

I’ve been screwing around at home for years trying to make a great pizza crust, and I’m finally satisfied with mine.  My method produces a great thin crust, crispy at the edges, and chewier as one progresses inland towards the center of the pie.

The recipe isn’t that different from any variation you will find online.  But I think I have perfected a “technique” that makes it turn out just right (for my tastes).

Ingredients:

3 1/2 C Italian “OO” superfine flour (tho you can use most  any flour, I get best results from this).  “Zero Zero” flour is available at many groceries, and online.

1 C and (and a little more as needed) water warm to the touch.

2 T EVOO

2 T sugar

2 t yeast (the best you can find)

1 T salt

Combine dry ingredients in your KitchenAid mixer, except yeast and 1 T sugar.

Put the 1 T sugar and yeast into the warm water until it bubbles, I usually let it go 10 minutes.

With the mixer on slow, start adding the water until it combines with the dry ingredients.  You may need to use slightly more water, until the dough becomes a smooth ball; you can occasionally stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

When the dough is thoroughly blended, I turn the mixer on, just below a medium speed, and leave it go by itself for 8 minutes.  The dough at this point will be slightly elastic, but not sticky at all.

Remove the dough ball for just a sec, and put a few more drops of EVOO (or any OO) into the pan, replace the dough ball, and swirl it around the pan for a second to oil the surface of the dough ball.

Cover the top of the bowl with tight Saran, and place a plate over the Saran. Place the bowl in an unheated oven for 90 minutes.

At this point, the dough should have easily doubled in size, remove it from the bowl, divide in half, and put each dough ball in a slightly oiled seal-able Tupperware like container.   You may freeze one dough ball for late if you like (when you want to use it, let thaw overnight in refrigerator).

Otherwise, put the dough balls in the refrigerator for a minimum of  one day, but it can be longer, I’ve made them on Tuesday for consumption on the weekend.

Remove the dough ball from the refrigerator, remove the top from the Tupperware, and let the dough rest on the counter for at least an hour.

Flour a surface to roll or spread the dough out on.  I use a combination of more flour with a little white cornmeal mixed in.  You could also add garlic powder and/or herbs if you like.

The dough will be easily workable, and you can shape it by hand, pressing with the palms of your hand, and pushing towards the edge, or use a rolling pin.  I use what my mother used to call a “Swedish Rolling Pin“, which has dimples in it.    She and my father used this rolling pin to make hardtack at home.  (Today you could get away with calling hardtack “flatbread.”)

When your crust is the size you desire (mine are usually somewhat oval, perhaps 9X13 inches),  fold the crust in half twice, for ease of handling, drop it on a sheet of parchment paper, and proceed to top it as you like it.

Preheat the oven to 500, or 550, if yours goes that high.  Place the pie on the middle shelf on the parchment ONLY, and bake for five minutes.  At this point, slide the parchment out from under the pie.  In another 5-7 minutes, your pie will be perfect.  Be sure to keep an eye on the pie while baking, tho, oven temps vary greatly.   My oven has hot spots, so I have to spin the pie during baking, hopefully your oven is better!

In 30 years of trying, this produces the best pizza crust I have ever made at home.  Many visitors, and especially Mrs. Burgerdogboy, who doesn’t care for pizza that much, say it is their absolute favorite, and we make it, in some variation, every time we have company.

If you want a nice appetizer, skip the red sauce and usual toppings in favor only of brushing the crust with olive oil, garlic, herbs, and sea salt.   Cut the cooked crust into squares or rectangles to use as a flatbread for dips.