Following grandma’s directions to make this pizza dough was a real revelation. The crust turned out very airy, chewy and with just the right crisp. This was not your usual pizza dough recipe since it called for a total of 2 and 1/4 cups of water and 4 to 4 and 1/2 cups of flour which is very different from what I usually find online. This was also the first time I tried double rising pizza dough. I could tell just from how soft the dough was the night before that this was gonna be a breakthrough pizza Friday.
First I added a teaspoon and a half of yeast to a 1/4 cup of water and a teaspoon of brown sugar. I mixed the yeast around in the warm water until it began to foam.
Next I added another 2 cups of lukewarm water to the foaming yeast mixture along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon of salt.
To start with I added two cups of all purpose flour and started mixing with my trusty wooden spoon. I learned from this recipe it is extremely important not to add all the flour at once. After the 2 cups were completely mixed in, I gradually started adding more flour until the dough barely could be lifted out of the bowl.
On a lightly floured wooden board, I began kneading the dough and conservatively adding flour only when it started to get too sticky. Honestly, I have no idea how much flour I added in total! But after about 10 minutes, the ball of dough was soft, smooth and looked just like the dough I sometimes used to see for sale in NY pizzerias.
I put a generous amount of olive oil in a metal bowl and put the ball of dough inside making sure it was well coated. I let it rise about 2 hours. For the second rise, I separated the ball of the dough into two parts, again coated them with olive oil, and let each part rise in the refrigerator over night.
When Friday night came, I poured myself a glass of wine and got to work. I had been going too thin as of late, so with the first ball of pizza, I decided not to do too much tossing and spinning. Instead I massaged the dough to reach the edges of the pizza pan. I added my wife’s incredible homemade marinara sauce (our esteemed dinner guest taught us how to use the extra sauce as a dip for the crusts), some Romano cheese, onion, mozzarella and soppresatta. (In case you don’t know, soppresatta is a peppery, sometimes spicy, rustic Italian salami. The thinner you can slice it, the better it tastes.) The pizza went in the 500 degrees preheated oven for about 12 minutes.
While the first pizza was delicious, I thought it was a bit too thick. For the second I gently did a little tossing and spinning. My wife watched me carefully to make sure I didn’t go too crazy. I finished the shape with more massaging this time limiting the size of the crusts. We added the sauce, cheese, spinach and mushrooms for toppings. As I was adding the cheese, my dinner guest told me a story about how he once ordered triple cheese at a local pizzeria. I got the hint and went heavy on the mozzarella. This pie turned out just right, airy crust, crispy on the bottom and cheesey enough to satisfy those who can’t get enough.
- 2 and 1/4 cups water
- 4 to 41/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons yeast (1 packet)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for coating
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Prep time: 20 minutes
- Cook time: 10-15 minutes
- Servings: 2 extra large pies
- Difficulty: medium