The universe was trying to send me a message. It was telling me that I needed to make pizza. Various signs all pointed in this direction. 1. I received a pizza cutter from KitchenAid at Food Blog Forum Orlando. 2. When I came home from Florida the first thing I saw was a Bon Appétit magazine which had pizza on the cover. 3. The first Friday back in New York I took a day trip to NYC, the pizza capital of the world.
While I was in NYC, it was decided. I would make pizza.
Oh, New York City. I like you, you and your bright lights, your people, your loud noises and music. They are no match for other big time cities. You are exciting and inspiring.
I live about an hour and a half from NYC and I do not visit nearly enough. In fact, this trip was my first time hailing a cab and that was after much anxiety!
Stephanie and I drove into the city at around 10am and found a parking garage. This was after a hiccup where I drove into a bus and cab only area and defied the GPS, only to get lost.
We both decided that we need to venture into the city more often. It is really a shame that we don’t know the city better. We vowed that we will eventually know its streets like the back of our hands! I have friends that live in Brooklyn and whenever I visit I just let them guide me. It was fun being my own guide and getting confused. I know that NYC is a grid but somehow we still managed to get turned around. We stumbled into one of the biggest tourist spots in the city, Time Square. Still wondering how that happened.
This weekend I finally made pizza! Dear universe, I got your message. This was my first time working with yeast and I’m pleased with my results. I mixed the dough then waited for it to rise. I shaped the dough, waited again then reshaped a second time and then topped my round dough with various things. I made a basil pesto and used that instead of tomato sauce and then topped it with mozzarella cheese. I kept it classic with 2 cheese pizzas and a pepperoni pizza. I topped one of them with pineapple and ham and the other with sliced red onions and olives, my personal favorite!
I made a few mistakes during my pizza making adventures. Before topping the pizzas I should have moved them onto a new baking sheet, one without a massive amount of flour. For the first two pies I baked I had to scrape off flour from the bottom of the pizza. In fact, my first bite was filled with flour. Note to self: Don’t throw a pineapple back in its container so carelessly, the juice will fly into your face.
The last few weeks have been filled with a few ‘firsts.’ I made pizza for the first time; I used yeast successfully and had my first NYC cab ride.
Homemade Pizza Dough
Yield: Six 10"-12" pizzas
Prep Time: 30
Cook Time: 60
Total Time: 20.5 hours
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1000 grams) plus more for shaping dough
4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
The pizzas above are topped with:
Basil Pesto and Mozzarella Cheese
Tomato Sauce, Olives and Red Onions
Mozzarella Cheese x 2
Mozzarella Cheese and Pepperoni
Pineapple and Ham (not pictured)
Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 3 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature (about 72 degrees) in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room).
Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 6 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions.
Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in plastic wrap and chill. Unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap, for 2-3 hours before shaping.
TO MAKE THE PIZZAS:
During the last hour of dough's resting, prepared oven: If using a pizza stone, arrange a rack in upper third of oven and place stone on rack; preheat oven to its hottest setting, 500-550 degrees F. (You do not need to preheat the baking sheet.)
Working with 1 dough ball at a time, dust dough generously with flour and place on a floured work surface. Gently shape dough into a 10"-12" disk.
IF USING A PIZZA STONE:
When ready to bake, increase oven heat to broil. Sprinkle a pizza peel or rimless (or inverted rimmed) baking sheet lightly with flour. Place dough disk on prepared peel and top with desired toppings.
Using small, quick back-and-fourth movements, slide pizza from peel onto hot pizza stone. Broil pizza, rotating halfway, until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, 5-7 minutes.
Using peel, transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat, allowing pizza stone to reheat under broiler for 5 minutes between pizzas.
IF USING A BAKING SHEET:
Arrange dough disk on baking sheet; top with desired toppings. Bake pizza until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat with remaining pizzas.
From: Bon Appétit Magazine (March 2012)