Pizza ranks very highly in our house. One of the biggest things we miss from living in the US is Jerry's Pizza in Middletown, CT. For some reason the UK pizza places just can't get it right. We've ordered local, Pizza Hut, Perfect Pizza, Dominoes, Papa Johns and still they never get it right. Well since the Christmas CT trip I vowed to find out how to make NY style pizza dough so, as part of my procrastination to avoid spring cleaning, I took a bash at it tonight.
I flicked through a couple of my US cook books and couldn't find anything so turned to the good old t'internet and this one seemed worth trying.
The recipe - NY style pizza (slightly adapted as usual)
1 1/2 cups warm water (between 105F-110F)4 1/2 cups of bread flour
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of active dried yeast
1 small clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon of basil
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
salt and pepper
dash of Tabasco
1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast, sugar and salt in the warm water (you can give it a bit of a stir to help it out).
2. Add the olive oil and flour and stir with a metal spoon until the ingredients all come together into a dough (this should not take too long).
|The dough chills out with |
6. While the dough is proving make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the garlic until it is lightly golden. Add all of the other ingredients to the pan and cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Leave aside to cool.
7. Once at least doubled in size retrieve the dough, divide into 2 pieces and turn one of the pieces out onto a lightly floured surface. Leave the other piece in the bowl and cover.
Lightly flour the top, then using your fingertips evenly flatten out the dough ball.
8. Working from the edge to the centre of the dough, press the dough into a 12" circle. Then place both hands on the dough and stretch with fingertips and palms maintaining an even pressure. (you could also use a lightly floured rolling pin).
9. Transfer the dough (now our base) onto a pizza stone (or a baking sheet would work).
10. Call for "assistance" to make the pizza. Apply the tomato sauce, and allow a half naked toddler to help put the toppings on (we decided to go with half ham and pineapple and half pepperoni - little Miss Naughty also decided to provide an additional topping and sneezed on the pepperoni half - which was fine by me since it was the husbands half) and sprinkle tons of mozzarella cheese all over it. Please note that the toddler will also need to be watched to prevent a reduction in the amount of toppings available...the ham and pineapple, in our instance, kept disappearing....
|Half ham and pineapple, half pepperoni and sneeze|
11. Bake in a really hot oven - 225C until the crust is golden and the cheese all melted.
The pizza was pretty good. In fact, in the words of the husband it was "pretty damn close" which with him is a fantastic response for my first effort. The little one also enjoyed it, barely speaking and sitting still the entire dinner. Result!
The actual making of the dough was a pretty easy process to be honest - whack everything in the bowl in the right order, mush it into a dough then let it prove. Bish, bash, bosh and you're done! That being said, I will play around with it next time, for example:
(i) I didn't exactly follow the original recipe (see a pattern here?) as it said "half a teaspoon of yeast" but:
- it didn't specify whether it meant fresh yeast or active dried; and
- every other recipe I looked at called for at least 2 teaspoons of active dried yeast,
(ii) It was tricky getting the oven the right temperature to cook the pizza evenly. Next time I will put the stone in the oven to heat up, prepare the pizza on a separate board and then try to transfer it onto the hot stone. I may also lower the temperature of the oven to stop the sides cooking faster, or even attempt to use the grill with the hot stone to get the heat going from top to bottom; bottom to top.
(iii) In line with (ii) I'm seriously tempted to by myself a pizza peel.
(iv) The dough really rose very well (a little too well), so next time I will try a couple of things, either:
- divide the dough into 3 balls and stretch the dough out even thinner;
- still divide the dough into 2 balls but prick the dough all over with a fork to see if that helps aerate the base (and not rise so much); or
- use a little less yeast.
Who needs Dominoes eh??
Oh, and if you're wondering what happened to the other dough ball just wait...