Saturday, August 11, 2012

Over-the-top pizza dough

Photograph: Tara Donne
For my birthday this year, I gave myself a subscription to Bon Appetit magazine (and it didn't hurt that they offered an amazing subscription rate of less than $1.00 per issue!!).

I will have to admit that I always assumed Bon Appetit was filled with gourmet artsy-fartsy foods (and you will find a few of those within its pages) but I have found that this magazine is primarily devoted to fresh ingredients skillfully prepared and assembled to create memorable foods from around the world.


The March 2012 issue of Bon Appetit featured a sneak-peak at Jim Lahey's new book "My Pizza--The Easy No-knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home." This isn't a recipe to opt for when you want dinner within an hour--but plan ahead (a day) and you will be rewarded with the most amazingly crisp, tender, delicious pizza crust.


Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough

Ingredients
  • 7 1/2cups all-purpose flour (1000 grams) plus more for shaping dough
  • 4 tsps. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

Preparation
  • Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 3 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature (about 72°) in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room).
  • Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 6 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions.
  • Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in plastic wrap and chill. Unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap, for 2–3 hours before shaping.

To Make the Pizzas
  • During the last hour of dough's resting, prepare oven: If using a pizza stone, arrange a rack in upper third of oven and place stone on rack; preheat oven to its hottest setting, 500°–550°, for 1 hour. If using a baking sheet, arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to its hottest setting, 500°–550°. (You do not need to preheat the baking sheet.)
  • Working with 1 dough ball at a time, dust dough generously with flour and place on a floured work surface. Gently shape dough into a 10"–12" disk.


If Using Pizza Stone
  • When ready to bake, increase oven heat to broil. Sprinkle a pizza peel or rimless (or inverted rimmed) baking sheet lightly with flour. Place dough disk on prepared peel and top with desired toppings.
  • Using small, quick back-and-forth movements, slide pizza from peel onto hot pizza stone. Broil pizza, rotating halfway, until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, 5–7 minutes.
  • Using peel, transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat, allowing pizza stone to reheat under broiler for 5 minutes between pizzas.


If Using a Baking Sheet
  • Arrange dough disk on baking sheet; top with desired toppings. Bake pizza until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat with remaining pizzas.

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