Pizza night at my house can mean one of three things: walking up the hill to Pizzeria Delfina, driving over to Little Star and picking up take-out, or making it all from scratch. All three options are damn tasty, our decision depends on timing and our mood. Tonight we opted for scratch and we were oh so glad we did.
For years I’ve been making a dough I adapted from an old Chez Panisse recipe. The original recipe called for rye or whole wheat flour along with the white flour, I use only white. I also find that in a place as humid as San Francisco I’m always adding a bit of extra flour to get the dough just right. I also make 6 thin crust pies out of the recipe, which originally made 1 large one. They are decidedly California style pizzas-very thin, super crisp around the edges, and not topped to the gills.
I made my dough around 1pm today and it rested and rose all afternoon. I find really fresh yeast and a slow rise always yield a dough that has better texture. You can even let it rest in the fridge over night, just be sure it has an hour or two to come to room temp before you use it or it’ll shrink up on you like crazy when you try to roll/stretch it.
We all like to make our own pies so I set out bowls of toppings to choose from. Here’s what I had tonight: spinach, arugula, tomato sauce (not pizza sauce!), sausage-partially cooked, thinly sliced zucchini, crumbled feta, grated mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, sliced cherry tomatoes, Bariani olive oil, and (not pictured)-sea salt and fresh mint.
Some more photos of our pizzas-
Zucchini, Feta, Grated Mozz, Mint, Arugula, and Olive Oil
Sausage. Spinach, Grated Mozz, and Tomato Sauce
Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes, Grated Mozz, and Fresh Spinach
If you haven’t made homemade pizza, give it a try. Here is my dough recipe-let me know what you think.
Homemade Pizza Dough (makes 6 8-inch very thin crust pizzas)
2 teaspoons dry yeast (or 1 envelope)
3/4 cup plus 2 tbs warm water (about 100-105 degrees-not hotter)
2 cups flour
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
cornmeal, for pizza peel or cookie sheet
Combine the yeast, ¼ cup of the water and ¼ cup of the flour in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix gently with a fork and let stand for 30-60 minutes to proof. By the time it is finished resting small bubbles should form on the top to indicate your yeast is active (if this does not happen, use new yeast and try again). Add the remaining ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of water, remaining 1¾ cups flour, olive oil, and salt. Using the paddle attachment, mix until the dough ingredients are well incorporated. Change to the dough hook and mix until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl without sticking, 3-5 minutes. If the dough is still very sticky at this point, add a bit more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is tacky but not sticky-you may need as much as 1/4 cup additional flour. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, knead by hand for a minute or two until the dough is smooth. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it around to oil it on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place until doubled in size, at least 1-1/2 hours. If not using dough right away, the covered bowl can be refrigerated overnight or, the unrisen dough can be frozen. Bring dough to room temperature and rise before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
Place your oven rack on the lowest part of the oven and put your pizza stone on the rack. Preheat the oven to as hot as your oven goes (not “broil”) for at least 30 minutes-it should be screaming hot! When ready to make your pizzas, divide the dough into 6 even pieces. Place them on a lightly floured work surface and cover with a lightly floured clean kitchen towel. Remove one piece of dough and roll it into a rough circle, about 6 inches (shape isn’t really a big deal). Pick up the dough and holding the edges, gently turn it in a circle, stretching it a bit as you go-it should be about 2 inches larger when you are done-very thin so you can see through it but no holes. Cover a wooden pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet with a thin layer of cornmeal (or flour). Transfer the dough to the peel and shake it gently to be sure the dough is loose and not sticking anywhere. Brush the edges of the dough with oil (or the entire thing if not using tomato sauce) and top as desired. Open the oven and slide the dough off the peel and onto the stone, starting at the back of the oven and pulling the peel forwards. Cook until the pizza is nicely browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove it from the oven using two large spatulas or another pizza peel. Let the pizza rest for about 1 minutes before slicing the repeat the process with the remaining dough and toppings.