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Pizza Crust

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

Servings: 6 each 8-10" pizzas

Storage Life of Ingredients: 1 year

Impressive. Artisan. Drool worthy. This pizza has a crisp, chewy outer crust but is light and tender on the inside. Quick to bake and quicker to disappear...

Adapted from American Pie by Peter Reinhardt, 2003 and Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast by Ken Forkish.

Special thanks to my BIL, Aaron, for sharing this recipe and teaching me how to do it right!

Here's a list of some of our absolute favorite toppings. Give it a try! Go crazy! And share some of your favorites with me, so I can go wild too.

BBQ chicken: spread your favorite bbq sauce (I use Stubb's original for spreading over dough and Stubbs spicy on the chicken itself) over stretched pizza dough. Add some mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan, then top with red onion, cooked and crumbled bacon, and cooked chicken mixed with a little bbq. After baking, sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top. This is my favorite!

Salami, pesto, and pistachio: Mix pizza sauce with pesto (ratio of approx 1:1 or 1:2 depending on your preference) and spread over stretched pizza dough. Add parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with sliced salami and diced pistachios. Bake. Such a different and amazing combo!

Breadsticks: You can also use this dough for breadsticks! After stretched, brush dough with olive oil, then sprinkle on some parmesan cheese and garlic salt.

Meat Lovers: Put any and all meats on this sucker. Pepperoni, salami, sausage, bacon.

Pictured Process

The first step in making this pizza dough is to simply mix the flour and water. This is called the autolyse method. Do not knead the dough. Only mix it enough so that the flour and water are combined. Let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes. King Arthur gives the following reasons for using this method:

  • "The flour fully hydrates. This is particularly useful when working with whole-grain flour because the bran softens as it hydrates, reducing its negative effect on gluten development.

  • "Gluten bonds begin developing with no effort on the part of the baker, and kneading time is consequently reduced.

  • "Carotenoid pigments remain intact, leading to better color, aroma, and flavor.

  • "Fermentation proceeds at a slower pace, allowing for full flavor development and better keeping quality.

  • "The dough becomes more extensible (stretchy), which allows it to expand easily. This leads to easier shaping, greater loaf volume, a more open crumb structure, and cuts that open more fully."

These all sound like pretty good reasons. Of course, the dough takes longer to ferment, and therefore prepare, but this is a trade off I'm willing to make for the end result.

After the rest period, sprinkle the yeast and salt on top of the dough.

Grab about 1/4 of the dough, stretch it, and fold it over the rest of the dough. Turn the bowl 1/4 of the way around and repeat the stretching and folding. Do this two more times so that you've stretched and folded each quarter of the dough.

Pinch the dough 5 or 6 times with your thumb and forefinger and continue the stretching and folding until the dough becomes stiff. You'll notice that the whole dough ball starts to come up when you grab 1/4 of the dough. This is a consequence of the dough stiffening.

Place plastic wrap over the bowl and allow it to rest for 30 min at room temperature.

You will repeat the folding cycle (minus the pinching) 2-3 times. Each time you fold, the dough will stiffen, but will relax during the resting period.

Notice that the dough gets smoother and elastic with every folding cycle you complete.

After the last folding cycle, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight.

1 1/2 to 2 hours before you want to bake your pizzas, gently remove ball of dough from the bowl onto a floured counter. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces.

Using floured hands, take a piece of the dough and slide it across the counter towards you. The bottom of the dough ball should like like it's being squished together. Turn the dough ball 90 degrees and repeat. Keep doing this until you have a smooth, circular ball of dough. Use this process for all dough pieces.

Flour all sides of the dough, drape plastic wrap over the dough pieces, and allow the dough to rest until you are ready to start baking (1 1/2 to 2 hours later). About 30 minutes before you want to bake, preheat oven to the highest temperature available and use convection if possible.

Gently stretch the dough ball into a pizza shape with floured hands, taking care not to pop the bubbles that have formed.

Place dough directly on a pizza peel that has been moderately sprinkled with semolina or rice flour or even corn starch. Alternatively, place dough on a piece of parchment paper. Continue to stretch the dough over your surface until it is the desired thickness and shape.

Spread on desired sauce.

Sprinkle on cheese and toppings. Bake for approximately 5 minutes. I use this as an estimate. I always go off of what the pizza looks like, rather than the amount of time.

Basil and cilantro, when used, can be sprinkled on after baking. This is a bbq chicken pizza, so I just sprinkled on cilantro. But if I was making a margherita pizza, I would sprinkle that basil on thick!

Mmmmm. A whole BBQ chicken pizza...just for me. (Kevin!)

Pesto, parmesan, salami, and pistachio...


Pizza, you're my best friend.

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