Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Favorite Pizza by Rachel

With all the snow that's hit New York, I haven't been able to get to my favorite pizza joint in NY- Paulie Gee's.  They are a great pizza joint in Greenpoint and they make wonderful neapolitan style pizzas.  Feeling the cabin fever come on, I decided to do some research about how to get that pizza at home.

I've always kind of stayed away from making breads because of the long wait times needed for bread doughs to rise properly.  Pizza dough research will tell you that the wait time is necessary.  And they're right.  You have to let it ferment overnight.  While there are quick-fix recipes out there, I found that almost all recipes called for overnight fermentation.  So I did that.

I don't have a pizza stone either so I was a little worried that I might not get that crust that I wanted, but I have a solution for you!  Let me take you on my pizza journey, starting with the ingredients:

Really, this is all you need.

For the pizza dough (makes two 12 inch pizzas)
2 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup water

For toppings
1 can crushed tomatoes (you can buy whole peeled tomatoes, but you'll just end up crushing them yourself)
mozzarella, however much you want!  8 oz is probably enough, but if you want more, do it up!
fresh basil
any other toppings your heart desires!  My recommendations would be prosciutto, pepperoni, anchovies, or broccoli rabe.  All great choices- you can't go wrong.

- To prepare the pizza dough, combine flour, yeast, salt and water and mix until the ingredients have come together.

- Once the dough starts to come together, knead it for about 5-7 minutes until the dough is tight in elasticity and just slightly sticky.  It should come away from the sides of the bowl easily and shouldn't stick to your hands.

- Separate the dough into two balls and place on a flour plate.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.  That's it.  Now, let the dough sit overnight.  You want it to sit for at least 24 hours.  It will stay good in the fridge for about two days.

- On the day that you're going to make the pizzas, take the dough out of the fridge about 2 hours beforehand so that it has a chance to return to room temperature.

- Turn your oven onto the high broil setting.  Move the oven rack to the highest setting.

- Massage and stretch the dough into a pizza pie.  Work with it and don't rush.  It takes time to get it just the right shape.  Make sure that you create a little edge for the crust so that you have something to hold onto when you eat the pizza.

- Place a 10-12 inch metal skillet (it should have NO non-stick or plastic components.  you are going to put this whole skillet into the oven) on your stovetop and turn on the highest heat possible.  Let the pan sit and heat up for about 5 minutes.

- This next step is very important.  Sprinkle a little bit of cornmeal into the hot pan and immediately throw your shaped pizza dough on top.  If the cornmeal burns a little, that's ok.  WORK FAST HERE. Top your pizza with the sauce and desire toppings (but if you have basil, put this on when the pizza comes out of the oven).  The dough will start to brown and crisp underneath.  This will probably take about 3 minutes if your pan is very hot.

- Once the bottom of the crust is browned and crisp, put the entire skillet into the oven.  PIZZA COOKS FAST!  It will probably only need 2-3 minutes in the oven.  Just watch the pizza and when the cheese is fully melted and the crust is brown, take it out.

AM I RIGHT?!  Look at this beauty!
- The pizza will be hot!  Drizzle a little olive oil over top and let the pizza rest for a few minutes.

- Cut, serve, and be amazed!  You have pizza.


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