Monday, January 31, 2011

Neo-Neopolitan Pizza Dough

I love the idea of homemade pizza but honestly it's been hard finding a really good dough recipe. I have posted several different recipes on here in the past and yes they will make a decent dough. However I think I have finally stumbled onto what I'd consider one of the best doughs ever. An added bonus you can freeze the dough for future use. Mixing the dough was simple and easy and it requires only a few ingredients. You do need to plan ahead since it needs an overnight rest in the fridge. The dough was crisp yet chewy. I made three different types, pan pizza (which requires a longer cooking time then listed in the recipe), pizza done on a baking stone, and finally I used a cooking sheet. My favorite was on the baking stone followed by the cooking sheet. The pan pizza took forever to cook all the way through and the bottom was burned. I think my problem was I should have used less dough for the pan pizza. I also made bread sticks with the dough and they were great too.

Neo-Neopolitan Pizza DoughPeter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day

5 1/3 cups (24 oz./680 g) unbleached bread flour
2 teaspoons (0.5 oz./14 g) salt or 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon (0.11 oz./3 g) instant yeast
2 tablespoons (1 oz./ 28.5 g) sugar, or 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (17 oz./ 482 g) water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (1 oz./28.5 g) olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for one minute. The dough should be coarse and slightly sticky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to fully hydrate.
Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium low speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until the dough is smoother but still soft, supple, and somewhere between tacky and sticky.
Spread 1 teaspoon of olive oil on a work surface, then use a bowl scraper to transfer dough to the oiled surface. Rub your hands with the oil on the work surface, knead the dough about 3-4 times then shape into a ball. (Note: Peter Reinhart has a different technique but I went with this simple one when I did my dough.) Divide the ball into 5 equal pieces, each weighing 8 ounces (227 g). Form each piece into a ball, then place each into a separate sandwich size freezer bag misted with spray oil. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight or up to 4 days, or in the freezer for several months (take out at least one day before you want to make your pizza and store in the fridge).

Baking day:
About 90 minutes before you plan to bake the pizzas, place the desired number of dough balls on a lightly oiled surface. With oiled hands, stretch and round each piece into a tight ball, then place them on a pan that's been lightly oiled (preferably with olive oil). Loosely cover with plastic wrap to rest at room temperature until ready to bake.
About 1 hour before baking the pizzas, preheat the oven and baking stone as high as the oven will go. If your not using a pizza stone, assemble the pizzas on baking sheets, covered with parchment or oiled with olive oil, which is what I did. (Note: I did not preheat my other pans that I used.)

Assemble and bake:
Put about 1 cup flour in a bowl. Use some of it to dust the work surface, and your hands. Put one of the dough balls in the flour to coat the bottom. Transfer to the work surface and gently tap it down with your fingers to form a disk. Slide the backs of your hands under the dough, then lift it and begin to rotate it, using your thumbs to coax the edges of the dough into a larger circle. Don't stretch the dough with the backs of your hands or your knuckles, let your thumbs do all the work. If the dough starts to resist or shrink back, set it on the floured surface and let it rest for a minute or two. Move onto another ball. Continue working the dough and resting, as needed until it is about 10 to 12 inches in diameter. It should be thicker at the edges than in the center and the center should be thin but not paper thin. If the dough rips, you can try to patch it or you can form it back into a ball, move on to another dough ball, and try again in 15 to 20 minutes. (Note: I had kids helping me and mine were not done perfectly, in fact the kids rolled the dough with rolling pins. Don't stress if it doesn't work with the directions just find a method, like the rolling pin, that works for you. No one could tell which one I had done with my hands and which I had rolled.)
When the crust is ready to be topped transfer it to the cooking pan. Place flour on the stone or oil your pans. Top the pizza as desired and slide it into the oven.
Bake for about 4 minutes, then turn the pan around. It can take another 5 to 7 minutes for the pizza to fully cook. The edges should puff up and be a golden brown, perhaps even slightly charred (which adds loads of flavor surprisingly).
Remove pizza, garnish as desired, then let it cool for 1 minute before slicing or serving.

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  1. I love PR's Neopolitan pizza recipe, and this one looks good, as well ~ I think I would like the sweetness the honey brings out in the dough. Great idea to make breadsticks, too!

  2. Yes I have made this with both sugar and honey and much prefer the honey. It made some amazing breadsticks. Now to figure out how to make the Little Caesar's cheesy Italian bread out of the breadsticks.

  3. Thanks for sharing this recipe it's definitely a really good reward for my brother who got his ISO 22000 Certification last week. But still work on the dough first. I'm not really the cook-type but I'd like to do something special for him.


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