Making pizza at home can be a challenge. Many home ovens do not achieve a temperature greater than 450 degrees which means the pizza takes longer to cook and can dry out. Also, to make a good pizza one needs to plan ahead and make the dough 2 days prior to cooking. It might sound like a lot of work but a 48 hour fermentation time makes for the most elastic and easily stretched dough. One can also experiment with special pizza ovens such as the latest from Breville. It's electric and achieves a temperature of 750 degrees in 15 minute. It can cook a Neopolitan style pizza 2.5 minutes!
My recipe below comes from a lot of experimentation and it's based closely on the recipe for dough from Roberta's Pizzeria in Brooklyn, NYC. Watch the video here. The only difference is I use 100% double-zero flour and Roberta's uses a 50/50 combo of double-zero and all purpose. I find that using double-zero makes for more easily stretched dough and better flavor overall.
Ingredients (makes two 10”-12” pies):
•3 cups 00 flour (I like the Antimo Caputo brand, available at many stores)
•8 grams fine sea salt (1 teaspoon)
•2 grams active dry yeast (3/4 teaspoon)
•1 cup warm water
Pre-heat your oven with a pizza stone inserted to the highest temperature possible. Most home ovens do not get hot enough so it is highly recommended you consider a specialty appliance like the Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo It is available at Williams-Sonoma and achieves a surface temperature of 750 degrees, cooking perfect pizza within approximately 2 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the warm tap water and the yeast. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the flour. Mix with your hands by moving the dough around the perimeter of the bowl until all the flour is well combined, about 1 minute. If the dough is too wet add more flour and continue mixing. Cover the bowl with a towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Knead rested dough for 1-2 minutes on a floured surface. Cut dough into 2 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a heavily floured plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24-48 hours. Remove the dough 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.
Alternatively you can cover the dough balls with a dampened cloth, and let rest and rise for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature. However, if you can leave the dough for up to 1-2 days it will be far easier to stretch.
To make pizza, place each dough ball onto a heavily floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it, then your hands to shape it into rounds. Place onto a sheet of lightly floured parchment paper. Top and bake. If using the Breville oven carefully remove the parchment paper 2 minutes into the cooking process. This will ensure the paper doesn’t burn and will develop a better crust! If using a conventional oven you can do the same or leave the parchment in the whole time. It will brown but will never burn or catch on fire.
James is a food writer and Bay Area chef who owns and runs a private dinner party and cooking class business specializing in regional Italian and Spanish cuisine. See CookWithJames.com