Erik is obsessed with pizza- obsessed. Actually he’s been on the hunt for ‘proper’ pizza forever. Jersey man at heart…the man needs to be fed good pizza. Period.
One of the reasons we got the Big Green Egg is to make pizzas. It was his goal. This thing hits high temps perfect for making pizza.
So we had the gear. Now we need the crust.
Luckily, at the same time I had become really interested in baking bread, knowing that the Egg works like a hearth oven. Through that interest I, thankfully, found Peter Reinhart. The god of baking bread.
Sorry…this is a story that continues…a little long, but really exciting.
So…reading Peter Reinharts stuff, I then discovered he is obsessed with pizza, like Erik. He even has a website dedicated to the love and perfection of pizza.
I figured if this guy knows bread, he’ll know pizza dough. And I was so right. We thought it might take a few recipes, a few tries, so trial and error…but no, first go, we found our crust. Amazing.
Enough of my rambling…this is the best pizza dough EVER. It take a little planning, and a little time – but I’m telling you it’s worth it.
We also doctored his tomato sauce recipe a bit and found our staple red sauce for the pizzas. You can find the recipe here.
Alright, here it is…
We use Italian -00- flour, to make an authentic Napoletana dough but you can certainly use regular flour. Just increase the water by about 2 ounces, since regular flour does absorbs more than Caputo flour. Always use unbleached flour for better flavor but, if you only have bleached flour it will still work even if it doesn’t taste quite as good. If you want to make it more like a New Haven-style dough (or like Totonno’s or other coal-oven pizzerias), add 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. These are optional–the dough is great with or without them.
- 5 1/4 cups (24 ounces by weight) unbleached bread flour
- 2 teaspoons (0.5 oz.) kosher salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons (0.14 oz.) instant yeast (or 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast dissolved in the water)
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) olive oil (optional)
- 1 tablespoons (1/2 oz.) sugar or honey (optional)
- 2 1/4 cups (18 oz.) room temperature water (less if using honey or oil)
- You can mix this by hand with a big spoon or in an electric mixer using the paddle (not the dough hook).
- Combine all the ingredients in the bowl and mix for one minute, to form a coarse, sticky dough ball.
- Let the dough rest for five minutes, then mix again for one minute to make a smooth, very tacky ball of dough.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, rub a little oil on your hands, and fold the dough into a smooth ball. Let it rest on the work surface for 5 minutes and then stretch and fold the dough into a tight ball. Repeat this again, two more times, at 5 minute intervals. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and immediately place in the refrigerator. The dough can be used anywhere from 6 hours to three days after it goes in the fridge.
- When ready to make the pizzas, pull the dough from the refrigerator two hours prior to when you plan to bake. Divide the dough into five 8-ounce pieces (if there is any extra dough divide it evenly among the dough balls). With either oil or flour on your hands, form each piece into a tight dough ball and place on a lightly oiled pan. Mist the dough balls with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or place the pan inside a large plastic bag.
- Give the dough at least 90 minutes before making the pizzas. If you don’t plan to use them all, place the extra dough balls inside of an oiled freezer bag and keep in the refrigerator (for up to three days) or in the freezer (for up to three months).
- If using a pizza stone in your home oven, preheat the oven to the highest setting one hour before you plan to make the pizzas. If using a wood-fired oven, you know what to do for your particular oven. If you do not have a baking stone you can bake the pizzas on a sheet pan.
- Top with your favorite toppings--this dough can be stretched thin (12-13 inches) for Roman-style pizzas, or 10-11-inches for Naples-style.
- You really want to get your oven to max temp and cook it at that. We've done a little experimenting and find that, with a pizza stone, we sprinkle cornmeal on the stone then put the dough on it, with no toppings, and pop it in the oven for about 4 minutes - until the crust starts to cook and puff up. We then take it out of the oven, pop any big bubbles in the dough, and add our toppings and then cook for another 5-10 minutes - keeping an eye on it. Try it this way - it seems to make for a better crust in the oven. I think our current oven gets way hotter than our last oven, so we had to adjust timing a bit. As for our big green egg, we can get the temps well over 700 (just like a wood oven), so we can put the whole pizza in there for 4-7 minutes and have a perfectly cooked pizza. It takes a few tries to get a crust that you like!