Friday, May 25, 2001

since the unseasonable weather continues, i'm going to spend this memorial holiday weekend baking and drinking hot coffee, not iced. . .

one of the first recipes i posted for you was for my unique yellow tomato pizza sauce. so here's the pizza crust recipe to go with it, based on one by author Maggie Glezer:

3-1/3 cups (15-3/4 oz. on the scale) King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour
1/4 teaspoon instant SAF yeast
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 cups (12 oz.) lukewarm water

in a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, yeast and salt. mix in the water until the dough is shaggy and most of the water has been absorbed. let rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the flour to fully hydrate. knead the dough in your stand mixer for 10-15 minutes, or until you see "baker's windowpane." touch dough after 5 mins. of kneading; if still very sticky, add 1 oz. flour and continue kneading.

cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and shape each piece of dough into a tight ball. roll the dough up like carpet, turn the roll around, position it seam side up, and roll the cylinder up again. roll the cylinder perpendicular to itself a third time, then turn the dough so that the seam is on the bottom, and round the dough under your palm into a tight ball. roll each rounded piece in flour and arrange in a floured baking sheet. cover with plastic wrap.

let the balls rise at room temperature until they are soft and puffy but still springy, about 5-6 hours. or refrigerate the dough just after shaping it for up to 36 hours. remove them from the refrigerator and let them finish proofing, about 7-8 hours. note that in the full summer heat, these times could be halved.

one hour before baking the pizzas, arrange a baking stone on the oven's second-to-top rack and preheat the oven to its highest possible temperature setting. you are trying for 750 degrees but 550 degrees is fine.

now flour your counter or pastry cloth and place a fully risen dough ball on it. flatten the ball with your hands and spread nto a disc. just pull it out gently between your hands, rotating the disc as each side is pulled. to perfect the shape, place one hand on the center of the dough (to prevent it from getting too thin, which it has a tendency to do) and gently tug around the edges until the dough is about 1/4-inch thick in the center and about 1/4-inch at the very edge.

place the shaped dough on a sheet of parchment paper, or directly on a floured pizza peel or flat cookie sheet. spread about 1/4-cup sauce on the pizza and scatter on 1 to 2 ounces cheese. slide pizza into oven and bake it for about 4 minutes, or until the crust has colored slightly, burning in spots and staying pale in other areas, and the cheese has melted. the baking time should be around 4 minutes if your oven is hot enough, up to 6 if it is cooler.

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