I’ve blogged about my journey to make the perfect pizza a few times already like here, here, and here. The other day @Sporadicity on Twitter saw one of my posts and suggested I give this recipe a try. It comes from Cook’s Illustrated, and we know how I feel about Cook’s Illustrated.
What makes this recipe different from others I’ve tried is the introduction of cake flour. The blog entry where I saw this recipe mentions that Cake Flour has less protein than regular flour and I guess that contributes to a better texture. Instead of kneading this dough by hand it’s made in the food processor. The food processor! Okay, so I’ve always kind of known that you can make some dough-based things in the food processor but I’ve never really thought about it. For someone who hates kneading making pizza crust using a machine is genius. The food processor quickly produces a silky supple dough. Oddly enough the dough was HOT when I took it out of the machine.
After letting the dough rise for a bit it was tough to work with. It drives me crazy when I dough snaps back while you’re trying to stretch it. No matter how much I stretched and let it rest the dough would not cooperate. As a result it wasn’t as thin as I would have liked it to be. On the plus side there were tons of great pockets throughout the dough and it cooked up really crisp. Of course I used my pizza stone. I also really liked the flavour of the pizza dough. It was pretty plain tasting but it had that lovely char taste to it from a hot oven. Seriously delicious.
I will give this recipe a few more tries. I loved the results but was really frustrated by the dough snapping back. If I can remedy that problem this recipe may fulfill my goal of finding the perfect pizza recipe.
For the record I topped this one with sausage and mushrooms… not too fancy, but delicious!
(from Cooks Illustrated)
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 cup water, room temperature
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 cup (4 oz) cake flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 500F with your baking stone on the oven rack. This gives the stone about an hour to heat up while the dough rises.
Measure the ingredients. Dissolve the yeast in the water. Combine flours, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse flour mixture several times to combine it, then gradually pour in the yeast mixture with the motor running. Keep blended for about 2 minutes, until the dough is supple and elastic, as shown in the two photos below.
If the dough sticks to the sides of the mixer and doesn’t come together, add an extra tablespoon or two of flour. If it is too dry to come together, add an extra tablespoonful of water.
Once your dough is smooth and supple, take it out of the food processor and divide it in two. Shape each piece into a tight ball by gathering the edges and pushing them into the center, as pictured above. Pinch the edge to seal.
Place dough balls on a lightly floured surface and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap or a clean dish towel. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Take the risen dough and, working with one ball of dough at a time, place on a lightly floured surface. Flatten the dough into an 8-inch disk, then stretch the edges gently until the dough is about 12-inches in diameter (pictured below). You can also gently stretch the dough by placing it on the backs of your hands, but take care that is does not develop weak spots.
Once the dough has been shaped, place it on wooden peel that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. If you do not have a peel, use an edge-less baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal instead.
Spread dough with a thin layer of pizza/tomato sauce and fresh mozarella that has been cut into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces. Do not overdo the toppings, as pizza margherita is meant to be thin and crisp.
Slide the pizza off of the peel/baking sheet and onto the preheated baking stone in a 500F oven. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until crust is browned and cheese has melted.
Slide peel under pizza to remove if from the baking stone. Serve immediately and repeat with remaining dough ball for second pizza.
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