How I Make Pizza
I’ve always loved pizza. From Papa John’s late at Rice (delivering till 2 A.M.!) to Collina’s to Two Rows, all pizza is good (except Mr. Gatti’s). But my favorite is the stuff I can make myself. Tonight’s was especially tasty, though Carrie may dispute that once she reads the topping list.
Mix 3½ cups of all-purpose flour with 1 cup bread flour and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt in a stand mixer with the dough hook attached.
Proof 1 tablespoon active dry yeast in 1½ cups 100°F water with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the yeast and pour it slowly into the flour with the mixer running.
Let the mixer run for ten minutes, then pull the dough off of the hook, put it back in the bowl, and let the mixer run for a couple more minutes. Make the dough into a ball and put into an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic. Let it rise for one hour. Divide it into three chunks using a bench scraper and put each one into a plastic container. Put the containers into the fridge overnight.
Toppings vary, of course. Tonight’s pizza had:
- Boboli pizza sauce, since I didn’t bother to make the real stuff.
- “Polly-O Gourmet Mozzarella Cheese” — the best I can find for pizza. It comes shrink-wrapped in 8 oz. balls. I slice up about half a ball per pizza.
- A roma tomato, sliced thin.
- A few pitted Kalamata olives, sliced.
- One garlic clove, sliced.
- One slice of Black Forest Ham (like for a sandwich), chopped.
- A little bit of kosher salt (not much, since the olives and ham are already fairly salty).
- Fresh ground black pepper.
- A drizzle of olive oil around the edge of the crust. (On pizzas that don’t have any meat among their toppings, I also add a light drizzle over the whole thing.)
- A few basil leaves, chiffonade. This doesn’t get added until after the pizza has been baked.
Preheat the oven as hot as it will go (mine goes to 550°F) well in advance of making the pizza so the stone has time to heat up too. If the dough was refrigerated, give it at least half an hour to come to room temperature before trying to stretch it. Put some cornmeal on the pizza peel, stretch the dough, and put it on the peel.
Slide it into the oven and bake for 5–10 minutes. You have to keep an eye on it. Pull it when the cheese starts to bubble and the crust starts to darken around the edges.