Many years ago now, I stood on a cliff top in Baja California (AKA Mexico) and said “Si” in a wedding ceremony in a language of which the only word I knew was “cerveza.” My bridegroom spoke the language fluently and thus I believe I probably agreed to fidelity, obedience and pizza snobbery.
Having grown up in the Antipodes, pizza was something bread-looking with cheese and 30,000 other toppings. It was usually baked in a low oven and eaten with a knife and fork. Several years in New York City spoiled me to good and cheap pizza, but upon meeting my East Coast born and bred spouse a new level of pizza appreciation was spawned.
Believe me, roots die-hard. I can happily eat a partially cooked frozen pizza, or cold pizza, or pizza at an airport or a gas station. Like men describe blow-jobs, there is no bad pizza in my world. But the man to whom I am legally bound believes differently.
We have made pizza at home for years. From the pizza-snob himself they are usually deemed “sufficient.” But this week I made the mother fucking dough myself and I got a “this pizza is better than real pizza.” Is there a better endorsement?
So, if you like your pie crispy and you want to eat the bones (only real pizza people will get those references…) here’s the recipe for you.
4 Cups of Flour (I used good ole Arthurs again)
1 1/2 Cups of cold water (Put in freezer for a bit before using)
1 Teaspoon instant yeast (OR 1 teaspoon active yeast, activated)
1 3/4 Teaspoons of salt
1/4 Cup of olive oil
Cornmeal for dusting your pizza stone.
I used the ole Kitchen Aid with the dough hook, (we made out I am so enamored with it – I made bread dough by hand every morning for a fucking year, people). Put flour, salt and yeast in bowl. Mix. Add oil and water. Don’t add all the water at once. The dough should come together and start to look like a big, white slug. If it’s crumbly add a little more H2O. Remember kids, you can always add more, but you cannot take it out. (Actually just put more flour in if you need to un-sticky the dough).
Knead for at least seven minutes. The dough should be soft, springy and slightly shiny when it’s fully incorporated. Rest the dough for at leaaaaast 6 hours in the fridge. It won’t “prove” which will ensure max crispiness. (This dough will last up to three days in the fridge. I have yet to do this but I believe in it.)
Take it out at least an hour before you want to cook it.
If you’re a genius or someone who previously worked in a pizza shop, go ahead and roll the dough out on your knuckles. This did not work so well for me, so I used a rolling pin.
Make sure your oven is 4589094572398475 degrees hot. So, as hot as you can get it. Preheat your pizza stone for at least 45 minutes.
Dust pizza stone with cornmeal and place rolled out dough on stone. Cook for about 2 minutes. If the dough starts puffing up too much, give up on this step.
Pull stone and dough out of oven and top pizza. Be quick. Be prepared. This step also removes the comical idea of getting a pre-topped pizza into the oven.
Cook for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is all a-bubble. Remove from oven and let rest so you don’t burn the top of your mouth with hot tomatoes.
For the best Pizza in the world, however, just go to Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn.