Over the years, with the help of my awesome Aunt Minin (here and here), I have mastered the art of perfect pizza toppings. That perfect combination of ingredients that make a great tasting pizza.
Ham and Pineapple, Capers and Yellow Onion, Mozzarella and Mascarpone, Green Peppers and Pepperoni, Pesto and Ricotta... the list goes on.
Unfortunately, I can't say the same about Pizza Dough. I have yet to find the 'perfect' recipe.
My firsts attempts on making the dough myself were inspired by a friend of mine who introduced me to a brand of prepared dough flour mix. It was good and it worked every time. Then I started making my Aunt's dough recipe, also good, but not restaurant style.
I've always craved the thin, crunchy-in-the-edges and gooey-in-the-middle pizza dough. A few years ago, while visiting my Dad in Naples, Italy, I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in the pizza capital of the world. Mostly, we ate pizza from small and traditional restaurants. I was in heaven!
I've been trying to recreate that dough ever since, without much success. When it comes to toppings, to me, simplicity is best. A few flavorful and high quality ingredients are all I need.
This dough is the best I've tried so far, although I had to change the original recipe a bit. You can use it all the same day, refrigerate it until the next day or simply freeze it for later use.
It rises beautifully, tastes delicious (if you use high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and the golden crust looks perfect. It's also very light and crunchy while remaining a bit gooey in the middle (if you under cook it for 2 or 3 minutes). Give it a try!
*A few notes on the recipe:
-I made the dough entirely by hand because I don't have a stand mixer, but you can use a mixer if you want.
-The dough should be soft, I think that's the secret to lots of air bubbles. It also makes it crunchy on the edges.
-If you want a chewy middle, under cook it for 3 to 5 minutes.
-The toppings I used on this one are: Pesto, Parmesan, Mozzarella, Yellow Onion and Capers.
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(makes one big pizza)
1 cup Warm Water
2 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, plus another 1/2 cup
2 tsp Yeast
1 tbsp Turbinado Sugar (or any granulated sugar)
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (high quality)
1 tsp Salt
In a bowl, mix 1/3 cup of the warm water with the yeast and sugar. Let it stand for 3-5 minutes until the yeast reacts. Add the rest of the warm water. Add the salt and oil, then mix.
Add one cup of the flour, mix well. Then add another cup and continue mixing. Add the remaining half cup. Keep mixing with you hands. If you think the dough is too sticky, keep adding the remaining half cup of flour until you get a better consistency. The dough should be soft, but never sticky. Keep kneading for 5 to 10 minutes by hand, or 5 minutes in a stand mixer.
Let it rise for an hour and a half before using. You can refrigerate it for the next day or even freeze it. When freezing, let it thaw in the fridge for 8 hours before using.
I cooked mine by heating the oven to 550 degrees. Stretch the dough, add the toppings, cook for 13-18 minutes. Always keep an eye on it when cooking at such high temperature.