This dough recipe is a same day room temperature rise. However, it can easily be transformed into an overnight refrigerator rise by cutting the yeast in half to 0.5 tsp. I was able to get a good rise in about 4 hours at room temperature. It was actually a bit cold in my house so I put the dough in the oven with a boiling cup of water to keep things warm and moist. See my pizza dough techniques page for more information on the methodology for making this dough.
Before you do anything preheat your pizza stone to 550 degrees. This may take a good hour. When it is time to start working with the dough I always nicely flour my pizza peel to avoid sticking. Working with dough is really a learned technique. You just have to do it and eventually you'll learn what to do and what not to do. For NY style doughs I try to avoid touching the edge of the pizza dough (the rim). I like to keep the rim nice and thick and work out the center where it will be thin.
I begin with two fists in the center of the dough and then slowly and carefully pull my fists apart. While doing this I rotate the dough around my hands. I also let gravity pull most of the dough down towards the counter to stretch it out.
Spray the pizza screen with non stick spray and lay your dough down on top. Neatly fit the dough to the edges of the screen. Be careful! Look how thin the dough is in the above photo! It can easily rip and then you are in big trouble.
Quickly put your pizza sauce on the dough and top it with cheese. Put the pizza screen on the top rack in the preheated oven. The goal here is to firm up the pizza dough. Since the stone is only 16 inches in diameter the 17 inch pizza dough will fall off the sides unless it is firm. The screen step allows you to firm the pizza dough so it will hang over the edges of the stone without falling down on the side of the stone.
After about 5 minutes the dough should be firm enough to transfer to the pizza stone. I tap it with my pizza peel and slightly lift it to see if its strong enough to support itself. If it is slide it down on the 500+ degree stone.
It's alright that some of the rim is hanging off the pizza stone. You'll be surprised to see that it still browns nicely and is crispy.
Oh wow! No wonder this is my favorite pizza recipe!
You can see that the bottom of the crust is nicely charred but not burned, even where the dough was hanging off the stone. The key here is to have a roaring hot preheated pizza stone. The bottom of the pizza is floppy but firm enough to support the cheese topping. The rim is chewy because of the high gluten bread flour that I use and will develop some nice bubbles inside the dough if you don't touch the rim too much while you are working out the dough.
This dough recipe was developed by Tom Lehmann and modified a very slight bit by myself and others at the www.pizzamaking.com discussion forum.
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