Not more than 30 seconds had passed after I posted the pictures of our amazing pizza this week before I got a request for the recipe. I continued to get pleas throughout the day.
There was a reason why I didn’t post the recipe along with the pictures. Even though I followed the instructions to the letter, they didn’t work for me. The dough started out too dry, it didn’t stretch the way they said it was supposed to, etc., etc. I found myself compromising at every turn. However, what I finally ended up with was incredible.
So here you go, Basic pizza dough – a recipe from Bon Appétit magazine, with my notes and changes in italics. I ripped the pages out of the magazine and saved them in a folder. Alas, I cannot give you the date, but I think it was an issue from 2013.
- 4 cups unbleached bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 1 3/4 cups filtered or bottled water, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and yeast. Slowly add water, mixing with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Stir in salt and oil. Brush with oil. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and let rest for 1 hour. Note — the directions say the dough will be lumpy and raggedy, but I also found it extremely dry. So dry, I had dry flour in the bottom of the bowl. I ended up adding an additional tablespoon of water.
Using floured hands, turn out dough onto a floured surface and pat with flour. Holding two opposite sides, pull dough until about 1 foot long, then fold back onto itself and pinch ends together. Repeat 4 more times, rotating dough each time to stretch alternate sides, until it feels smooth. Really? Mine definitely didn’t want to stretch that much. I tried, but ended up just kneading it on a floured surface until smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a well-oiled large bowl and brush with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in refrigerator until doubled in bulk, at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours. I went with the 48 hours.
Turn dough onto a floured surface. Cut into three equal parts. Form into balls, brush with oil and cover. Let dough rest 1 hour.
Place dough on fists and use knuckles to begin stretching dough from middle, rotating it slightly as you work. Set on surface and continue to stretch from all sides to form a rough 10 by 14-inch rectangle. My note – I found this dough uncooperative. Even with the resting, it tore easily and didn’t want to stretch. I use two balls of this dough and made them into ugly (but tasty!) pizzas. The third piece of dough was placed in a plastic bag and buried in the frig for three more days.
Transfer each piece of dough to a lightly oiled 9 by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet. Pull edges to fill pan.
The rest of the directions were not saved, unfortunately, so at this point I was on my own.
To make our amazing pizza, I took the last piece of 5-day-aged dough from the refrigerator and patted it out onto a floured surface. I let the dough come to room temperature and then flattened it again.
I then preheated a ceramic baking stone in our 450 degree F oven for 40 minutes. In the mean time, I stretched this gorgeous, supple dough into a 13-inch round, and put it on a pizza peel, lightly dusted with corn meal. I then carefully removed the hot, ceramic stone from the oven and was able to slide on the dough. It went back in the oven for about 5 minutes. I then removed it from the oven, smeared on some basil pesto, sprinkled it with mozzarella cheese, sautéed mushrooms and some browned, ground sausage. I baked it until it was bubbly and the cheese was golden.