Pizza in Exile

As true born and bred New Yorkers, we can only go so long without eating a real NY slice.  So living abroad can get a little tough as it is hard to find good pizza outside of NY.  So we started making our own.

It has been a long process perfecting the crust; we are still working on it and it even varies with the weather but here is a basic recipe to follow.  I must warn you though, it is all in the motions and love you put into it.  So here we go:

For the yeast (which can be finicky):

½ cup Water (90-100°F) not too hot!

2 tsp.  active dry yeast

1 tsp.  sugar (I use raw)

Add yeast to water, sprinkle in the sugar and stir gently.  Let sit until it foams up 15-20 min.  There is a possibility of killing yeast and the possibility of purchasing a package of old dead yeast so don’t give up hope if it doesn’t work your first couple of tries.

For the Dough:

5 cups bread flour (in the states I used King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour) –Don’t pack it down when measuring.

2 tsp. salt (preferably Kosher)

1 tbs. olive oil

1 ¼ cups water (quantity of water may vary due to outside humidity)- So if your dough seems super dry it is ok to add a little bit more water and vice versa but be careful.

Add flour, salt, oil to a big bowl, mix and add the yeast mixture and stir in the water.  Mix.  Scoop the dough onto a countertop to start kneading.  I suggest watching a video of how to do this; I watched a few since I know nothing about baking and pulled techniques from each one.

Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.  If you knead it too much it can get tough to work with.  Round the dough into a giant ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl (use olive oil).  Cover it either with a towel or plastic wrap and let it sit out while it rises.  It will double in size. We wait about 1-1 ½ hours.

When it has risen take the dough out and divide it into pieces.  With this amount I cut 4 pieces.  Then round each piece into a ball and put them into individual lightly greased bowls to rise a second time (1-1 ½ hours).

After they have risen then you can bake.  I set the oven as hot as possible, let it preheat.  Stretch your dough and do a prebake for  3-5 min. on the bottom shelf.  If you have a pizza stone, use it!  but if not a cookie tray works just fine.  Then add your sauce and mozz. Bake for 10 min.  more or less.   Add toppings; I use basil which I only add the last 2 min of bake time.

Good Luck!

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