Making the Perfect Pizza Dough

Posted

March 30, 2015


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PIZZA, the single most popular Italian dish is a universal fav across all cultures and all ages! It lends itself to endless possibilities according to local ingredients and preferences and can be made either savory or sweet! So let’s explore some popular types of Pizza doughs…

The Classic Italian or the ‘Napolitana’ Style Pizza Dough consists of only 4 basic elements, flour, yeast, water and salt. However, there can also be other types…such as the Neopolitan American Style enriched with some oil and sugar or the Rustic Country Style with some whole wheat flour added to impart a delicious earthy flavor. Another popular type of Pizza dough is the Foccacia Style Sicilian. Even though the ingredients and their measure differ slightly, the style for making pizza dough remains more or less the same, and here I am sharing a few tricks on how to get it right! 🙂

MAKING THE PERFECT PIZZA DOUGH
Step 1: Choose style of pizza dough…Classic Italian, American, Country or Sicilian.

Step 2: Measure out ingredients as per recipe…here I will be using the…
Classic Italian Recipe
5 cups of All-Purpose Flour (about 640 gms)
2 tsp kosher salt /1 1/2 tsp table salt
1 1/4 tsp dry active yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup wam water
(Reduce this amount from the 2 cups mentioned below)
About 2 cups of room temperature water (about 400ml)
Amount of water can vary slightly according to climatic conditions.
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Detailed Method:
Sprinkle yeast in 1/4 cup warm water and mix to combine.
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Transfer the measured flour into a big mixing bowl.
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Add the salt and mix
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Also pour in the yeast solution
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And the measured water all at one go.
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Using a wooden spoon mix to combine till dough starts to becomes homogeneous.
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Now work the dough using your bench scraper/hands for 3-4 minutes.
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At this stage it will still be shaggy,
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and if you take a lump of dough and try to spread it between lightly floured fingers it will break as the gluten strands have still not developed.
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Allow dough to rest for 5-6 minutes…this process is called Autolease and this helps facilitate gluten formation in the dough. Meanwhile get your ingredients together for the toppings…like sauce, veggies, meats, spices, herbs n cheese.
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After 5 minutes, when you try pulling the dough, you will see that long gluten strands have started to develop.
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When you pull it between your fingers, you should be able to stretch the dough without breaking it from the middle.
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Transfer dough to lightly oiled work surface.
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Using your fingers lightly pat down to spread.
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Bring top half of dough to the middle.
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Then fold in the bottom half on top.
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Give a 90 degree turn to the dough and do the same process once again.
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Fold top half to middle
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And then Bottom half on top.
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Now flip dough to smooth side up and cover dough ball. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
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Repeat this process 3 more times, resting the dough in between for 5 minutes each time.
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As you fold the dough again and again it will start to become smooth. This folding process provides great structure to your dough without too much effort put towards kneading!
After folding the dough for the fourth time, measure out dough into 8 ounce balls for making individual medium size pizzas or store it in one big mound.
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Shape dough into tight balls, using your palms.
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Flip dough and pinch loose corners to seal.
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Place on oiled sheet pan/bowl.
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Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for atleast 2 hours for a slow rising. This slow rising also adds great flavor to your dough.
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Note: You can store this pizza dough for upto 3 days in your refrigerator or even freeze it for later use. When you want to make the pizza…remember to take the dough out of the fridge and bring to room temperature, before you start shaping the dough!
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Other related posts:
Shape and Bake the Perfect Pizza
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SOURCE: PETER REINHART

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