I have several friends that want to make my pizza recipe. So I tried to give them the best advice on making the pies the way I do. The ingredient amounts may be off a little, but I thought making it easy for their first try was the way to go. After they get a feel for the process I could go ahead and help them tweak the recipe to their likings. Any thoughts you can give me on my post would be appreciated. I hope to help them in their quest, but I want to make it easy and not so hard that they give up.
NY style pizza crust 14"
Flour 260 grams 9 oz King Arthur Bread Flour Reasors has it.
Water 156 grams 5.4 oz
IDY 2.6 grams 1 teaspoon for a 1 day rest in fridge. 1/2 teaspoon for a 3 day rise (recommended.)
Salt 4.55 grams 1 1/4 teaspoon
Olive Oil 5 grams 1 1/4 teaspoon
Sugar 5 grams 1 1/4 teaspoon
VWG 2.6 grams 1 teaspoon Vital Wheat Gluten helps make the flour stronger This is optional... Reasors has it.
These amounts are critical and must be weighed out, except for the items that have a teaspoon measurement. I use a digital scale I got from Bed Bath and Beyond. The brand name was The Biggest Looser... from the TV show. It cost $19.00. If ya got the dough, I mean money, go for one that reads 10 ths of grams. I use grams for measuring, it is more accurate than ounces. If you use volume measuring, you could end up with Papa Johns dough or Ci Ci style. Flour weight changes with humidity. 1 cup of water does not weigh 8 oz, it weighs 8.3 oz or so, 1 cup of flour can weigh as little 4.4 oz, which the combination of flour and water can really throw off your dough hydration levels. Not too much of a problem making bread, but can ruin a pizza dough.
You have to remember we are trying to make a NY style crust at home. I lost sight of this and went off the range, and my pies got worse. This is difficult because home ovens usually only go to 500 to 550 degrees. Most NY pizza places cook theirs between 600 to 900 degrees. This causes great oven spring or rise in the oven. Some NY styles only use flour, water, salt and yeast. To get good crust color, flavor, and texture in the home oven, this formula uses some oil and sugar and a high hydration dough. The hydration for this dough is 60%. I have gone up to 65%, but that does not work well in the home oven. Lower hydrations end up with a more bread like and dense crust, which by definition is not pizza dough.
Follow these steps in order to make the dough ball.
1 Fill the KA mixer bowl with the stated amount of very warm water 120 to 130 degrees. Add the salt and sugar to the water and whisk till dissolved.
2 Run the flour through a flour sifter, or a fine mesh strainer. Add the yeast and (VWG if using) and mix thoroughly.
3 Add the flour to the KA mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment on speed 2, mix till all the dry flour is gone, about 2 minutes or less. Stop mixing.
4 Add the oil to the dough. Using the paddle attachment, stir the oil and dough for about a minute. Switch out the paddle for the dough hook. Knead the dough on speed 2 for 5 minutes. Remove the dough to the counter.
5 Form the dough into a tight smooth ball. Oil the bottom and sides of a flat bottomed container that has a tight fitting lid. I use an old 1 gallon ice cream bucket, and spray it with a light coating of Pam spray. Coat the dough ball with oil, place in the container and place the lid on it. Put in the fridge for 24 hours. For a better tasting crust with good color and flavor, leave in the fridge for 3 days. (recommended). For a couple of practice skins you could do a 24 hour rise, then use the dough to practice stretching the skins. I did this and it helped me when I was ready to go for broke,
Rise and shaping the dough.
Remove the dough ball from the fridge 2 hours before cooking. Dust the counter lightly with flour and place the dough on it. Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour and cover with a light towel, I use plastic wrap instead. Make sure the dough has room to rise a little during the 2 hour counter rest. I hand shape the dough. I make a rim on the outside of the skin, and press down the dough with my fingers and then flip it upside down and stretch by sliding the dough with one hand and holding it with the other. I then pick up the dough with both hands and then using my knuckles I stretch the dough to the desired size. I then place the skin on parchment paper that is on the pizza peel. It won't effect the oven spring of the crust and you're are less likely to dump your pie or toppings on the bottom of the oven. When you get more confident at using the peel, forgo the parchment paper. Here is a link to hand making the skin from a world champion pie maker. I don't slap it like she does, I like to be more gentle and hand stretch. There are a lot of Youtube videos on knuckle stretching.
If you are afraid of hand stretching, I can give you a dough recipe that is formulated to make it easy to practice stretching the skin. It makes a skin more in the style of Mazzio's. With hand stretching take your time, if the dough does not want to stretch easily, stop and let it rest for a couple of minutes, then try again. If you made the dough correctly you should not have any problem getting to the size you want
Cooking the pie
Now that you are ready to launch the pie into the oven, a few reminders. Make sure you have the oven as high temp you can get. Let the stone heat up for at least an hour. The last two pies, I went an hour and a half for the warmup, which seemed to make a more brown crust. Place the skin on the stone, after 3 minutes lift the edge of the pie and slide out the parchment paper. Cook the pie till you like the color of the crust, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pie to a cooling rack for about 5 minutes. Slice and enjoy.
For a gas oven.
I have and electric oven. For the last minute of cooking I use the broiler to increase the color of the crust. Since your broiler is in the bottom of the stove, I would recommend moving the stone to an upper level of the stove. The radiant heat from the top will help in cooking the top at the same time as the bottom.
If you have any questions let me know. This is pretty exact, but I rounded some numbers to make it easier for first time pie makers.