There are many ways to prepare Pizza dough. Varied factors will determine the outcome, the texture, and the flavor of the desired dough ball that will then be either hand stretched, or rolled out for a great pizza. Following is the simplest method to making 'straight dough', one created with a single stage, without natural leavens or pre-ferments, but by simply using flour, water, commercial yeast and salt. This recipe can easily be doubled.
Some have asked as to why we use metric measurements for most of our recipes. Why not use measuring cups and measuring spoons? Precise measurements of all ingredients are imperative to the success of baking. Following are the reasons for using digital scales:
1. Simply place the all purpose flour and salt into a large capacity bowl. Mix and disperse salt into the flour.
2. With your hands, form a well in the flour. In the center of the well add the tepid, room temperature water and dissolve the yeast by mixing it with some of the flour. Allow it to stand 5 to 10 minutes, until slightly foamy on the surface.
Add yeast to the water and combine some of the flour.
3. Using either a wooden spoon, dough whisk, a plastic spatula, or your hands, begin to mix ingredients until everything is incorporated and formed into a rough ball.
4. Turn the mixture onto a clean and floured work surface with the help of a plastic spatula. Knead the dough until all dried ingredients are well incorporated resulting into a smooth, soft texture. Do not overwork the dough!
5. With the help of a spatula, transfer the dough back into the large capacity bowl, or plastic container and cover it with either a damp cloth, plastic wrap, or lid.
6. Allow the dough to rest in a draft free area until doubled in size. Depending on the temperature of the room, this should take no longer then 1½ to 2 hours. At this point you can start shaping the pizza balls.
*For even better results, and flavor development, you can place the dough in the refrigerator for 6 up to 24 hours. If you choose to refrigerate the dough, you must first allow it to return to ambient temperature before you shape it. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, this should take at least one hour.
7. Once doubled in size, turn the dough onto a floured surface and with a bench scraper divide it into 6 portions each weighing about 250 grams.
8. Shape each portion of dough into loose, uniform balls and cover them with either a cloth, plastic wrap or place them into stackable dough boxes.
*Stackable dough boxes are ideal for keeping the dough moist, avoiding the formation of a dry surface. When the dough balls have relaxed, and once again doubled in size, you are finally ready to make pizza.
*By dividing each dough ball into 250 grams portions, you will have a small amount of dough remaining, about 150 grams. This can be used for a small pizza or better yet, in order to create even better flavor to your next batch of dough, you can save this small amount of dough by either placing the leftover 150 gr dough into a sealed container, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. You can also choose to seal it by placing it in a plastic wrap or bag, and storing it in the freezer until it is time to make pizza dough again. On pizza day, take out the leftover dough from the refrigerator or the freezer, and allow it to get to room temperature for about 3 hours. Add this small amount of leftover dough to the water of your new batch. The small, leftover dough ball will float on top of the water. You are now ready to proceed with the dough recipe by adding the flour, salt and yeast using the same steps as you did the previous time.
What are your favorite ways to make pizza dough?
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