04.19.09: dinner

Well, I told you I would do it, and I did–I made homemade pizza dough this particular Sunday.  And it was…a dream.  A doughy, melty dream.

Pizza bianca...albeit a little overdone.
Pizza bianca...albeit a little overdone.

I feel like such a copycat—the day I decide to try my hand at pizza-making happens to be the day that some of my favorite bloggers decide to fire up their ovens as well. I had been craving some pizza bianca and rossa for weeks now thanks to Gina DePalma waxing lyrical on these special, transformative treats on Serious Eats and watching that damn Visa Go commercial too many times, and, well, Sunday just felt right to give it a whirl.

Pizza Bianca with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil
Pizza Bianca with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

Using Jim Lahey’s recipe (which you should, as he is the maestro behind Sullivan Street Bakery, aka the bakery all of the good NYC restaurants use for their bread), the results came out perfectly delicious. Real pizza bianca only has some olive oil, salt and pepper drizzled on top; this was our appetizer to the rest of the meal. We decided to throw some toppings on our other pies.

Pizza Bianca with Shallots and Garlic
Pizza Bianca with Shallots and Garlic

Basic Pizza Dough Recipe, adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Jim Lahey

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 1 cup cold water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar
  • Olive oil for coating bowls and then for topping stretched pizzas

Equipment notes: A stand mixer with a dough hook is very, very useful here as it will do all of the kneading work for you, but it’s not necessary as you can knead by hand—but it will take you longer to get the smooth, elastic ball we’re looking for. If you have a pizza stone, you can definitely use it here—we ended up just using one of our half sheet pans (heavy-duty aluminum) and got fantastic results.

Set your oven to bake at the highest possible temperature (usually the broil temperature setting). Our insane oven probably goes close to 600 degrees, but yours will likely vary.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Slowly drizzle the cold water into the bowl, mix on low speed to combine, and then on medium-high speed to knead for about 10 minutes—while it will appear that the dough has come together already well before 10 minutes have passed, trust me, just let it go and form into an elastic ball. Place into a well-oiled bowl and let sit to rise (the dough should double) for 2 to 4 hours. Punch down dough, slice in half with a dough knife/board scraper, form two thick logs, and then let them sit on a well-floured surface for another hour to double in size again.

Time for dough-stretching! Using your fingers, you want to stretch the dough from the middle out, leaving a nice crust at the edge—you can either do this on a flat surface, or if you’re like Michael, you can do it in the air. When you have your pizza at the desired thinness, place on a stone or baking sheet, lightly fleck the pie with a fork to minimize puffing, and layer on any toppings you like. Bake in your oven for about 12 minutes, or until the dough is golden-brown and delicious.

Next up:  making real pizza rossa and preparing a tribute meal to one of our favorite little NYC wine bars.

Pizza Bianca With Jim on Foodista

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Marly says:

    Oh my pasta (my daughter and her friends say this), that looks So good! I love a good pizza crust and I also love changing ours up from time to time. Drives my family crazy, but I love the variety. Thanks for this great recipe!

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