Guest Blogger: Campbell Shelton
When it comes to cooking, some things are so obvious they can be easily overlooked. Seldom is a recipe thrown off by a large mistake. More often than not, it comes out wanting as a result of a small decision. It wasn’t until I began working at a local Neapolitan pizza shop that I understood this reality. When I was first shown how to make pizza dough I was overwhelmed. It seemed less like a simple recipe and more like an art form. The end result was influenced by a number of seemingly unimportant details. I was asked to take two types of flour – all purpose flour and finely ground “00” – and pinch it between my fingers. Could I feel the difference? I couldn’t. “But you’ll taste the difference,” they said. They were right. Since then I have taken to experimenting on my own with other small variables to see if they make a similar difference. What I have discovered is that another commonly overlooked ingredient is water. My favorite water for pizza dough? Mountain Valley Spring Water.
Great dough is, without a doubt, one of the most important parts of a great pizza. It’s the last thing standing between you and a great homemade pie. I love delivery. I love the convenience and speed of it, but there’s something special about making a delicious pizza yourself. If done right, it can be an activity for the whole family, a fun date night at home, or a satisfying solo endeavor. Though many pizza dough recipes resemble one another, I am about to share with you one of my favorites.
Some things to remember before getting started:
- The consistency of your dough will be influenced by a number of outside variables such as weather and temperature of your kitchen. Just be flexible and play with your recipe as the need arises.
- I would recommend doing a simple cheese pie on your first try – an authentically delicious Margherita pizza (tomato sauce, fresh water mozzarella and basil).
- 2½ to 3 cups of 00 flour & 1 cup of all purpose flour; if you are unable to find 00 flour, you can use 3½ to 4 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 envelope of instant dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ cups of lukewarm Mountain Valley Natural Spring Water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
Combine the 00 and all purpose flour, yeast, and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.
Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes. Now you’re ready to proceed with sauce, cheese and toppings. First, Slightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil and flatten the dough until it’s ¼ inch thick or less. Crank up your oven to 550° or higher and let it preheat for at least 30 minutes before placing your pizza. After 5 minutes rotate your pie and bake for another 3-5 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and bubbly. Enjoy!