Day 5 of our Portland honeymoon brought us to Powell’s (the infamous bookstore) where I purchased The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. I am getting serious about learning more about all kinds of bread baking. The first recipe I wanted to try from the book was the pizza dough recipe. Pizza is something I am already comfortable making but could definitely improve on (trust me though, the complicated bread making blogs are coming!).
I’m always on the lookout for the perfect recipe for a single pizza portion; just enough dough for the two of us. This quantity of dough was perfect (after I halved the original recipe). Hearty and sturdy but still thin and crispy.
One last note on the success of this recipe: I used my digital kitchen scale to weight out the ingredients! It was a first and worked out great. One thing I realized, I had been using way too little salt in the past. I always found my dough to be a little bland but having the perfect measurement of salt really changed the game.
Peter Reinhart’s Napoletana Pizza Dough Recipe
10.125 oz. unbleached bread flour (Reinhart calls for it to be chilled, that’ll be my next experiment)
.22 oz. salt
.06 oz instant yeast
1 oz. EVOO
7 oz. water, ice cold (40°F)
Cornmeal for dusting
I started by weighing out all of my dry ingredients in a big glass bowl.
I added the dry team to the bowl of my KitchenAid Stand Mixer with the dough hook ready to rock.
I then weighed out my olive oil and water, added them to the dry ingredients, and let it rip. You should let your dough go for as long as it takes to pull away from the sides of the bowl but still stick to the bottom of the bowl.
I then let my dough hang out in the bowl on the counter for 4 or so hours. Reinhart has more instructions about proofing but I thought, for today, 4 hours was good.
One key new step suggested by Reinhart that I followed: Preheat your oven as high as it will go and let your pizza stone get hot in there for at least a half an hour. I usually let it heat for 5 minutes or so but the full 30 minutes of heating made a huge difference!
When 30 minutes has elapsed, dust your dough with cornmeal and stretch it out on the counter and with your hands until you have the desired shape. Reinhart suggests you put the dough on the stone and make the pizza right then. We prefer a crispier crust so I put the dough on the stone and pre-baked the crust for 3-5 minutes. Then we added our dough, cheese, etc. and baked for another 5-7 minutes, ramping the heat back to 350 or so then.
Plain old cheese (and a ton of red pepper flake) for her, pepperoni for him.
Oh, and BTW, I shot this blog with my nifty fifty lens if you were wondering.