How to Make the Best Damn Pizza You've Ever Eaten at Home

It’s not delivery, it’s dough wrought from your own two hands

By Michael Nolledo

 
How to Make the Best Damn Pizza You've Ever Eaten at Home
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02 June 2017

An ordinary pizza has the power to bring people together.

By virtue alone, it can make down-and-out employees more productive. Hell, even crummy pies exude enough dignity to earn bewildered youths a spot into Yale. Yale, people!

And while you might be happy enough to chow down at your local pizza chain, you very well know homemade pizza is not only better, it’s cheaper. Because this can’t be the first time you’ve been advised to make homemade dough from scratch.

Amateur pizza dough makers are some of the most vocal about their craft. And to be sure: it is a craft. Even with a simple recipe, like the one here from Melissa Clark’s new cookbook Dinner: Changing the Game, a enterprising pizza cook needs technique, patience and time. 

But as someone who took the dive into homemade pizza-making a few years ago, lemme be the 50th person to tell you it’s worth the struggle. Because after some trial and error, minor tweaking and a bit of practice, something magical happened. I started making beautiful, inspired, better-than-pizzeria pies that've impressed countless of unexpecting guests.

Clark’s method — adapted from Brooklyn’s Franny’s Pizza — is as simple as it gets. “You need to give the dough enough rising time — at least twenty-four hours in the refrigerator — to let it properly ferment and take on a complex, rich, yeasty flavor,” she writes. This is the secret step. She adds “if you can plan ahead, you’ll be amply rewarded with crackling crust with a good chew and plenty of air bubbles that singe in the oven.”

In other words: knead dough. Let rise. Form pizza dough. Bake and enjoy.

Below, Clark’s Basic Pizza Dough with her recipe for a broccoli rabe, ricotta and olive pie — though the joy of making homemade pizza at home is you can top it with whatever you want. 


Basic Pizza Dough

Ingredients

¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
⅞ cup (198 grams) warm (not hot) water
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl
2¼ cups (282 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (6 grams) kosher salt

Directions

1. Mix the yeast, warm water, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, and let the mixture sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. Using the dough hook or the food processor blade, beat or pulse in the flour and salt, and mix until a smooth, slightly elastic dough forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Oil a bowl with olive oil, place the dough in the bowl, and turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours and let rise up to 48 hours.

3. Divide the dough in half, and shape each piece into a tight, compact ball. Put the dough balls on a baking sheet and let them rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours before using.

 


Pizza with Broccoli Rabe, Ricotta and Olives
Total time: 1¼ hours | Makes two 12-inch pizzas

"Bitter broccoli rabe and milky sweet ricotta together are a natural, and in fact make up one of my favorite crostini toppings whenever I have a little leftover sautéed rabe hanging around the fridge. But the combo is even better here, slathered on a black-edged, crispy pizza crust and strewn with olives, which add just the right salty bite. You can substitute other greens for the rabe as long as they have robust character. Mustard greens, kale, and chard all work better than soft baby spinach, which is a little too meek to hold its own here." — Melissa Clark

Ingredients

2 8-ounce balls pizza dough, white or whole-wheat,
purchased or homemade

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4
garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

Pinch of red chile flakes

8
ounces broccoli rabe, trimmed

Kosher salt to taste

Fine cornmeal, for dusting

¼
cup pitted Kalamata olives, thinly sliced

1
cup fresh ricotta

Coarse sea salt to taste

Red chile flakes, for garnish

Directions

Heat the oven to 500°F if your broiler unit is in the oven, or to 450°F if your broiler is in a separate drawer. Place a pizza stone or a rimless baking sheet on the middle rack. Allow the oven to heat for 45 minutes.

At the same time, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and brown it all over, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then stir in the chile flakes. Add the broccoli rabe and cook, tossing it frequently, until it is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Season the broccoli rabe with kosher salt, remove it from the skillet, and coarsely chop it along with the garlic, mixing them together.

Turn a rimmed baking sheet upside down (or use a pizza peel if you have one), and dust it generously with fine cornmeal. Working directly on the baking sheet, stretch and pull one of the pizza dough balls to form a 12-inch round. Scatter half of the broccoli rabe and garlic mixture, and half of the olives over the dough. Dollop half of the ricotta on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Jiggle the pizza gently to make sure it is not sticking to the baking sheet or pizza peel, and sprinkle cornmeal under any sticky spots.

Slide the crust off the baking sheet or pizza peel onto the hot pizza stone in the oven. Cook the pizza for 3 minutes. Then turn on the broiler and broil the pizza until it is golden, crisp, and blistered in places, 2 to 4 minutes. (If you don’t have a broiler in your oven, bake the pizza at 450°F until it’s blistered and golden, 10 to 20 minutes.) Using tongs, slide the pizza onto a large platter. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.

Reprinted from Dinner. Copyright © 2017 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Eric Wolfinger. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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