Can I just start this post with a huge thank you to my Mom for gifting me a subscription to Bon Appétit for Christmas? Frequenting their website was one thing, but having all of their recipes in print at home at the mercy of my eager little fingertips has already inspired several food adventures (ginger and spice fried chicken strips). This latest one constitutes a major accomplishment in my culinary book: finally mastering home-made pizza dough. Not to mention that despite all of my experimenting in the kitchen, this recipe, once executed, finally received the much-eluded enthusiastic, unabashed approval of the one and only Jérôme, picky eater and self-proclaimed “simple man.”
Did I mention how easy and no-fuss it is? No need to knead for hours, just let the dough do the work for you. Yes, the rising time was lengthy, so you’ll need to plan ahead. Other than waiting, just sit back, relax and get ready to impress your friends (and loved ones) with minimal effort!
This dough was kick ass. It was both chewy and crisp, light and airy and delicious. It was fun to play with the dough and mold it into a beautifully oblong work of art. The crust, grazed with bits of burnt mozzarella, was my favorite part. I’m pretty sure I’ll be testing garlic cheese bread with this dough recipe very soon.
Our pizzas were made using a simple sauce of canned tomatoes, herbs salt, pepper and cream and were topped with different combinations of ham, artichokes, thinly sliced onions, leftover sloppy joes (I highly recommend this!), garlic, herbes de Provence and fresh and shredded mozzarella. We even threw on some parmesan, garlic and chile-infused olive oil and sea salt for good measure. You can obviously do anything you want with a pizza, which is the beauty of the concept. Just remember to start with quality ingredients and to use what you love, and you can’t go wrong!
Perfect, no-knead pizza dough
From Bon Appétit
500 g or 3 3/4 C flour
2 t salt
1/4 t active dry yeast
1 1/2 C water
This dough is so easy! Simply mix and let it do all the work. Whisk the dry ingredients together and slowly stir in the water, mixing with a wooden spoon. Flour your hands and form the dough into a large ball. Place the ball in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 18 hours (mine was more like 15 and turned out great!). You should see little blisters on the dough: this is a good sign! If you handle your dough with care, all of those tiny bubbles will bake up beautifully in the finished product.
Now you’re ready to turn your dough into crust. Heavily flour your work surface. Cut your dough into three equal parts. One by one, form your ball of dough into a rough square shape. Gather the four corners to the center of your dough ball and then turn it over. Gently mold your dough into a ball shape and then place it on a plate covered with plastic wrap for about an hour more. This little trick will make your dough crust-ready, meaning as you work it out later, the folds will automatically migrate to the edge and become crust!
Now you can preheat your oven as high as it goes (mine was 240° C). You should start heating at least 45 minutes prior to baking. Once your ingredients are ready, make your crust. Taking one dough ball, gently stretch the dough with your hands, rotating in a circular motion. Once the disk is large enough, place it on your knuckles and turn until you get something that is about 10 inches in diameter. Mine ended up mostly rectangular, which was perfect for our cookie sheet!
I recommend brushing the dough with scented olive oil (heat olive oil in a small saucepan with dried chiles, garlic, pepper and sea salt, for example) and dried herbs before adding your sauce, ingredients of your choice and cheese! Finish with a sprinkling of sea salt and fresh herbs.