pizza margherita


Serving 4

Soft “OO” flour produces a pliable, easy-to-work-with pizza dough and a tender yet sturdy crust with a crisp yet not too dry edge. The flour is available at specialty shops and by mail order, though all-purpose flour can also be used. Mozzarella fior di latte has a firmer texture than Mozzarella di Bufala, which falls apart when cut, though both cheeses are creamy when melted.

Ingredients

Dough

Topping

Special Equipement: a pizza stone and peel

Instructions

FOR DOUGH: Sprinkle yeast over water; let stand until yeast is creamy, 5 to 10 minutes. (If yeast does not appear creamy, discard and start over with new yeast.)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt; form a well in center. Add yeast mixture and oil; stir until dough just comes together. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead vigorously, for 10 minutes. Cover with a damp dishtowel and let rest for 10 minutes, then knead vigorously for 10 minutes more. Lightly oil a large bowl. Form dough into a ball, transfer to bowl and turn to lightly coat with oil. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Punch down dough with your fist (dough will be stiff), then fold sides over one another, turn dough, tightly cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. 

Divide dough into 4 pieces; shape pieces into balls and place on a lightly floured work surface, leaving a few inches between balls. Loosely cover with a damp dishtowel (not terry cloth) and let rise at warm room temperature until doubled, about 2 hours (if skin forms on dough while rising, lightly spray surface with water). 

Heat Stone While Dough Rises: Position rack in lower third of oven. Place pizza stone on rack. At least 45 minutes before baking pizza, heat oven to maximum temperature (500˚ to 550˚).

Assemble Pizza: On a lightly floured work surface, press 1 dough ball with your fingers to begin to shape into a round. Use your fist and hands to gently stretch dough to a 10-inch round. (A floured rolling pin can be used to help roll out dough.) Transfer dough to a lightly floured peel; gently shake peel to make sure dough does not stick.

Working fairly quickly, spread a 1/3 cup sauce over dough, leaving about a 1/2 -inch border. Tear 3 ounces cheese into pieces and arrange on top of sauce. Tear 1 or 2 basil leaves into small pieces and arrange on top. Drizzle very lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt. Slide pizza onto stone. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling in spots and edge of dough is crisp and golden, about 7 minutes. Using the peel and a large spatula or pair of tongs, transfer pizza to a plate and serve. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Note: “OO” flour, San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, mozzarella fior di latte can be mail ordered from Teitel Brothers; 800-850-7055.