Jack is Cooking Pizza II

Well Hello Internet!

Pizza is something i happen to make quite frequently, although every time i make it i play around with the dough recipe, constantly searching for the best combination of ingredients and methods.  Last night i finally cracked it.  I made the best damn pizza crust i have ever made, and from here on out i do believe that this is the way i will make my crusts.  After all what is a pizza without a good crust, as you can really put anything you want on it.

This post will focus on the crust mainly, and i will leave it up to you as to what you put on it!  We all have our own tastes, and my personal taste as i mentioned in the previous post is my slight dislike of tomato sauce.  NOT that i won’t eat it! i’ll eat anything.  However given the choice, i’ll just choose something else.  Like fresh tomatoes – in a non sauce state of being.

The trick i found with this crust was to use much less yeast, and a lot more time.  So make this the day before you want to eat your pizza.  the first step is pretty easy, I just through it all together right before I went to bed.  It only took about 5 minutes.  leaving the dough to rise overnight, gives the yeast extra time to ferment, and fill the dough with air.  it leaves you with a deliciously crusty, chewy, light, and bubbly pizza crust, that is soft, yet not overly bread-y.

One note i would have to say, while it is not absolutely necessary i HIGHLY recommend picking up a pizza stone for your oven.  I got one at the Kitchen Supply on bowery for $10.  It make all the difference.

Here is what you will need to make the best crust ever:
Ingredients:
2 cups flour + more for dusting
1 cup (or less) water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
1.  in a bowl, mix together the flour the salt and the yeast.  Slowly add the water until it comes together in a ball.  don’t let the dough get too wet, but if it does, just add a bit more flour.  you want to be able to pick it up as one ball of dough, without it sticking to your hands, yet without the ball falling a part.  it is a fine balance.
2.  set this ball of dough in a clean bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  let no air inside!  you want a tight seal.  Place the bowl on top of your fridge, or in another area where it is about 75° and not drafty at all.  Let it sit here for at least 18 hours.
3.  when you return, the small ball of dough should have expanded immensely!  mine was more than double the size.  it was also all bubbly on top, and smelled absolutely delicious.   The yeast had done its job well.
4.  turn the dough out onto a floured board or counter, and shape it back into a ball.   That’s about it!  no kneading is required for this dough.   After you have made a perfect looking ball, dust some flour on top and place a damp towel over it for one hour.  During this hour you can preheat your oven (with a pizza stone preferably) to 500° F  or as hot as it will go.
5.  Prepare your toppings.  you can put anything you want on a pizza.  remember if you are going to use fresh greens, or fresh basil, they will not survive the oven temperatures, so put them on after you cook it. anything else is fine.  
For this particular pizza i used:
Caramelized onions,
fresh ham
fresh garlic
cherry tomatoes
goat cheese
and arugula
6.  After the oven is preheated, and the dough has rested for an hour, it’s time to assemble the pizza.  i use a pizza peel since i have a pizza stone, so i find it best to arrange the pizza right on this to make the transfer to the oven easier.  First sprinkle some corn meal on it, this will allow the pizza to slide off nicely.  
Stretch the dough out until it is pizza sized. – You can get it pretty thin, as it will balloon in the oven. 
If you can do the fancy stuff they do in the pizzerias, this dough will work extremely well for that!  At this point with the toppings you are on your own!  arrange them however you want.  
Finally, however, brush the crust all the way around with some nice olive oil.  This will make it really nice and golden on the edges.  
7.  Bake it in the oven, for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned, even getting pretty dark in some spots, as all good pizza will tend to do!  Remove from the oven and put on your final fresh toppings!!
mmm mmmm delicious!

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