My last recipe post included a complaint that we haven’t been able to find good Chinese food in Jacksonville. New Yorker’s are pretty finicky when it comes to food. Well, if there’s anything more scarce in Jacksonville than good Chinese food, it has got to be good pizza. That stuff you see advertised anywhere outside of New York as, “New York Style Pizza?” Fuggedaboutit! Gimme a break! So, once again, this household coped with the problem by simply making what we wanted in our own kitchen.
My husband makes his own bread regularly. He enjoys messing with yeast and kneading and waiting for stuff to rise. I, on the other hand, do not. So, that’s his department. He found a recipe for “New York Style Pizza Dough,” at Recipe Pizza online. That link will take you to their version, but I’ve reproduced it here with a couple of modifications we’ve made after making it about a half dozen times.
Now, I’m not going to tell you this tastes exactly like the best pizzaria pizza in New York, because it doesn’t. However, it does taste unbelievably good and close enough to satisfy us! We discovered last night that the fresher your flour is, the easier the dough will be to work with. Hubby prepares it a couple of hours before we want to eat and then I roll up my sleeves and take over
the shell forming and assembly. He handles the baking peel (that wooden paddle) and the actual baking. The system works flawlessly!
New York Style
1 1/2 cups warm water (105F)
4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons of olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of yeast
Step by Step Procedure
- In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and salt in water.
- Add oil and flour and mix with a dough hook in a heavy duty mixer until dough forms.
- Turn out to a lightly floured surface and press into a circle.
- Sprinkle yeast evenly over dough and knead for 12 minutes.
- Divide dough into portions: 6 oz. for Calzones, 18 oz. for 12 inch, 25 oz. for 15 inch
- Roll each portion into a ball. You want a dough ball without visible seams except the bottom.
- Place dough balls in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to proof for 1−2 hours at room temperature to use the same day, or store in refrigerator to use the next day.
- Place dough ball on lightly floured surface, and lightly flour the top. Use fingertips to evenly flatten out the dough ball. Work from the edges to the center press dough into a 12″ circle. Place both hands within the shell edge and stretch with fingertips and palms maintaining an even pressure. Or, use a lightly floured rolling pin to stretch to desired shape. (I do both)
- Lift the shell onto a square of baking parchment placed on your pizza peel.
- Add desired toppings to the pizza.
- Carefully slide the pizza and parchment onto the stone in the preheated oven.
- Bake in a 550 degree oven for 10 minutes for a 15″ pie and 8 minutes for a 12″ pie, until crust is golden.
Cooking pizzas with this dough should be done on a baking stone. Using a pan will produce a very soft “doughy” crust. The stone in the oven should be preheated to 550F for an hour prior to baking, and should be placed in the middle of the oven.
Now, let me tell you about the toppings we put on last night’s pizza. I’m telling you, you should have been there! Since you weren’t, please enjoy this slide show of the process, featuring my step-son Matt sampling the meaty, cheesey goodness!
You can click on the slide show to visit the web album and see these shots full size.
We had some leftover grilled bratwurst in the refrigerator. I cut that into thick slices, then tossed those into my food processor and pulsed for about 20 seconds until I had a nice, course, crumbled result. I also had about a half dozed strips of chicken breast I didn’t use when I made the Pad Thai the other night, so I breaded and fried those in olive oil, drained them and cut them into bite-sized chunks. We always have onions and jarred sliced mushrooms on our pizza. I prefer to sliver my onions by cutting them in half, removing the centers and then slicing lengthwise as thin as possible.
So, the large pie got topped in this order: sauce (Ragu Pizza Quick Sauce has worked fine for us), mozzarella (I prefer part-skim and always buy it pre-shredded for this purpose), bratwurst, chicken, a little granulated garlic and a little oregano, onions, mushrooms. Just look at that picture at the top of the post! Doesn’t that look amazing? It was, by a wide margin, the best pizza I have ever had in my life, New York or anywhere else!
We decided the smaller pie would be a white pizza. I dumped an entire pint of ricotta cheese onto the shell (again, part skim) and spread it around with a tablespoon, nearly to the edge. Then, I added minced, jarred garlic (crucial to the flavor of this one) and some fresh ground black pepper. The mozzarella was next (I went light on this layer) and then topped it with some freshly sliced, ripe plum tomatoes.
Of course, pizza toppings are a very personal thing. We often like to crumble crisp bacon on ours. If you haven’t tried that, and you’re not the slightest bit concerned about packing on the calories and making your pizza exponentially fattier (lol), you really must try this! Hubby likes sliced black olives and pepperoni. What are your favorite toppings and, have you ever made your own pizza?
Your Daily Bread
Leviticus 23:17 You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the Lord.