I love pizza!
My journey to discover how to make the perfect pizza was a long and strenuous one. We always made our pizza dough from scratch, but without a pizza stone and the knowledge about the perfect temperature, the result was always way different from the bought one, and for a while I actually preferred supermarket pizza. Things got much better when I needed a new oven nearly 20 years ago and that one came with a pizza stone and a pizza program. Supermarket pizza couldn’t hold up to what I could make myself.
The initially huge amounts of yeast in my dough became less and less, and the rise times longer for more flavor, but the real revelation happened just three years ago, when I went to Rome. In a restaurant, close to the Trevi Fountain, I saw a giant jar of lievito madre sitting on the counter and a short talk with the guy behind it, I found out that it was the not so secret ingredient for the perfect pizza dough.
Back home, I spent 4 weeks painstakingly cultivating wild yeasts from raw honey and spawned my own lievito madre. It’s still good, super active, and makes the very best pizza dough! You can meet Luigi in the creature-feature section.
For 2 pizzas you need:
- 400g flour (tipo 00 or all purpose)
- 260g water
- 10g salt
- 80-100g lievito madre (fed the day before)
- splash of olive oil
Mix everything, and then knead until your dough goes from shaggy and sticky to super soft and smooth. Pizza dough is the only dough I ALWAYS knead by hand, and it takes about 10 minutes or 2-3 great songs on the radio.
Place your dough in an oiled bowl and cover it up with either a lid or a plate. Leave it on the counter for an hour, then put it into the fridge for 48 hours, where it can slowly ferment and develop incredible flavors.
So, about two days later, place something in your oven that retains the heat, like a pizza stone or a baking steel. I use a cast iron pizza pan.
Pre-heat the oven including stone, steel or pan to the highest possible temperature. In my oven it’s 275°C / 530F.
Meanwhile, divide your dough into two equal portions with a bench knife, loosely form them into balls. Dust your work area with a bit of semonlina flour to keep the dough from sticking or work directly on a piece of parchment. Make two flat breads by carefully pushing and pulling the dough, always working from the middle towards the edges.
Once you have a flat disc, add tomato sauce and cheese plus your favorite toppings. Just don’t overdo it. Just sauce, mozzarella and basil is already great! I just wish I had fresh basil instead of last year’s dried stuff.
Shove your pizza into the oven, turn the temperature down to 250°C / 480F and let it bake for about 12 minutes. The result is a crispy, but still airy crust.
Do yourself a favor and let the pizza cool for a few minutes. Cheese burns on the gums are the worst! Other than that, enjoy!
dough kneading playlist:
- FFDP – Jekyll and Hyde
- Powerwolf – Dancing with the Dead
- Eisbrecher – Was ist hier los?