Pizza is a great blank canvas, something that can be a lot of fun to experiment with at home. To get tips on the first step, making the dough, read our story in LENS today. Then try this recipe.
No-Knead Pizza Dough
Adapted from “My Pizza,” by Jim Lahey.
• 3 3/4 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping dough
• 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
• 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
• 1 1/2 cups water
Blend the flour, yeast and salt in a medium bowl. Add the water; mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or your hands.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Allow to rise at room temperature 18 hours or until it has more than doubled.
Scrape the dough onto a floured work surface. Divide into four equal parts and shape them: For each portion, start with the right side of the dough and pull it toward the center; then do the same with the left, then the top, then the bottom. (The order doesn’t matter; what you want is four folds.) Shape each portion into a round; turn seam-side down. Mold dough balls into neat circular mounds. If the mounds are sticky, dust with more flour.
Do ahead: The dough can be made three days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in plastic wrap; chill. Before shaping disks, unwrap dough balls; let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured surface, covered with plastic wrap, two to three hours.
Shape the disk
Take one ball of dough; dust dough, work surface and your hands with flour. Press dough down and gently stretch it out to 6 to 8 inches. Gently continue, massaging it into a roundish disk of 10 to 12 inches, stroking and shaping with your palms and fingers. (Or, use Lahey’s Hurricane method, in main story.)
If using a pizza stone, place it on a rack about 8 inches from the broiler. Heat oven on bake to hottest setting, 500 to 550 degrees, 30 minutes. (If using a baking sheet, arrange a rack in middle of the oven; heat to its hottest setting. Do not preheat the baking sheet.) Then switch to broil for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle a pizza peel (or inverted rimmed baking sheet) lightly with flour. Place dough disk on peel (or inverted baking sheet); top with desired toppings. With quick, jerking motions, slide pizza onto the stone. Broil until the top is bubbling and the crust is nicely charred but not burnt, three minutes. If using a baking sheet, bake pizza on baking sheet until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, about 10 minutes.
Transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat with remaining pizzas, allowing pizza stone to reheat under broiler for 5 minutes between pizzas.
Makes 4 dough balls; enough for 4 individual pizzas.
Margherita Pie: Spoon 1/4 cup basic tomato sauce over a prepared dough disk, spreading evenly and leaving an inch of the rim untouched. Distribute 2 1/2 ounces fresh mozzarella, pulled into five clumps, evenly over the pie. Slide the pie onto a heated pizza stone. Broil 3 to 4 minutes, until the top is bubbling and the crust is nicely charred but not burned. Transfer the pizza to a tray or serving platter. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano and a pinch fine sea salt evenly over the pizza. Scatter 6 basil leaves on top.
Basic Tomato Sauce: Drain 1 can (28 ounces) peeled Italian plum tomatoes. Run tomatoes through a food mill over a bowl to create a pulp (not a fine puree; you want to retain some texture). If you don’t have a food mill, just squish them with your hands. Stir in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt. (Sauce does not cook before going on pizza.)