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How to Make Pizza

No-Knead Thin Crust Pizza Recipe For Delicious Homemade Artisan Pizzas


Ingredients

Pizza Dough
• 3 1/2 cups (18.5-oz wt) bread flour, or
   50/50 bread flour and Caputo 00 flour
• 1 teaspoon fine salt
   (use fine sea salt, kosher, or table salt)
• 1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast
• 1 1/2 cups water (room temp)
• All purpose flour for dusting
• 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal for peel

Base Ingredients for 12″ Pizza
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 3 ounces (4 heaping Tbl) of pizza sauce
• 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 4-oz (wt) sliced or shredded mozzarella
• 1 tablespoon Parmesan Reggiano

The key to success for any good recipe is to always use the freshest ingredients.

Preparation

1. Make the No-Knead Pizza Dough
In a medium bowl, mix the salt in the flour with a fork or whisk, then stir in the yeast. Slowly add the water and stir using a wooden spoon until you have a moist (not soupy), sticky dough. Don’t over mix, but make sure that all of the dry flour has been thoroughly incorporated into the dough and is sticky to the touch, otherwise mix in another tablespoon of water. (click images below to enlarge)

With your spoon, clean the sides of the bowl as much as possible, then form a rough dough ball in the middle of the bowl. Double seal the bowl with plastic wrap, cover with a towel and set aside at room temperature (about 72°) or higher for 8 to 18 hours. Usually after 12 hours the dough will be ready. You can tell by the dough developing lots of bubbles and more than doubling in size.1 If you want to use this pizza dough at a later date, you can cut it into thirds, plastic wrap the dough balls and refrigerate for up to 7 days.2 The pizza dough will continue to proof while in the refrigerator and develop even more flavor and aroma.
How to Make Pizza Dough for a step-by-step tutorial

Make Individual Dough Balls
When the first fermentation is complete, dust your work surface with flour. Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl and lean at a 45 degree angle to slowly “pour” out the dough onto the floured surface with the help of a plastic scraper. Try to keep the extremely loose and sticky dough in one piece.

Dust the dough lightly, and with floured hands, fold under each of the four sides of the dough toward the center, shaping it into a long loaf. For 12″ artisan pizzas, cut the 30 ounce dough loaf into three equal pieces. 10 ounce dough balls are the perfect amount to make 12″ thin crust pizzas with a large crispy and airy edge. Nudge and tuck in the bottom corners of the dough toward the center to shape each into a round ball, then place on the lightly floured surface with the tucked seam side down. Loosely cover the pizza dough balls with a moist cotton kitchen towel (not terry cloth) to keep them from drying out. Let them proof (rise) at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The dough balls will be ready to use when they double in size.

2. Preheat the Pizza Stone and Gather Ingredients
With the dough balls almost proofed, place a pizza stone in your oven3 or grill4 and preheat for at least 30 minutes on high – ideally to a temperature of 500 to 550 degrees – then gather your pizza ingredients.

Your pizza is a blank canvas for any number of delicious toppings, but we recommend putting together the following 6 base ingredients for most of our 12″ pizzas:

Pizza Ingredients

Italymax Basesix Ingredients for a 12″ Gourmet Pizza
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 3 ounces (about 4 heaping tablespoons) of pizza sauce
• 1 tablespoon of fresh basil (about 3 large leaves, chopped)
• 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning5
• 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of 1/4″ sliced or shredded mozzarella
• 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan Reggiano

Pizza Toppings
Artisan Pizza Topping Ideas

Determine Any Additional Toppings To Add. After gathering the 6 base ingredients for your pizza, don’t forget to prepare any additional toppings (pepperoni, sausage, etc) so everything is ready for assembly.

To prevent a soggy pizza crust, always use a thick sauce, and towel dry any wet ingredients before populating your pizza.

3. Shape the Pizza
With the dough balls proofed, the pizza stone and oven or grill preheating, and all of your pizza ingredients in place, you’re now ready to shape and assemble your pizza. Begin by forming the pizza with your lightly floured fingertips (or knuckles if you have long fingernails) by gently working from the middle of the dough to the outside within an inch of the rim.

Never use a rolling pin! There will be some air bubbles forming on the edge. Leave all but the largest ones in place, as they provide the airy crusty rim (cornicione) most people love in an artisan pizza. The more of a lip you leave on the rim, the larger the airy edge will be after baking.

Over the time that the pizza stone is preheating, continue working the dough out in a circle every several minutes until you achieve a 12″ pizza dough shell, letting it rest in between for a few minutes covered with a moist towel. It may be necessary to carefully pick it up by the edge with the fingers of both hands and let the weight of itself expand for a few seconds, by holding the dough like a steering wheel and gently rotating it as it naturally stretches to form a larger circle. If any holes develop during shaping, simply fold over some of the dough next to the hole and press down to repair it.

The secret to a large and airy edge is to work the dough from the middle outward without pressing down (flattening) the rim.

With the dough round finished, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of yellow cornmeal (or semolina) on the peel, evenly spread it across the surface, then carefully move the pizza dough to the peel before populating it with your ingredients. With the pizza shell on the peel, adjust the edges to maintain its round shape. Pick up the peel by its handle, keep it flat and gently shake it back and forth to ensure that the dough moves freely over the corn meal. This is necessary to make sure that it’s loose enough to slide off the peel onto the pizza stone after all of the ingredients are added.

4. Assemble the Pizza
Make certain that all of your base ingredients and other toppings are gathered before assembling your pizza. If there are any delays in preparation after you add the sauce, the dough can become soggy and make it difficult to slide from the peel to the pizza stone.

The Basesix ingredients make a delicious gourmet cheese pizza, and create a blank canvas for most toppings you might add.

Pizza Assembly

1. Start by adding the Basesix ingredients with a few swirls of extra virgin olive oil over the surface of the dough. Always leave an inch or so from the rim untouched with the olive oil and pizza sauce to ensure a nice rise of the edge. The edge (cornicione) will not rise and get airy if there is any moisture from the oil or sauce.
2. Add the pizza sauce to the middle of the pizza shell. In a circular motion with a spoon, spread the sauce out evenly over the pizza dough, making sure to leave the edge untouched.
3. Evenly sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning.
4. Evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon of grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
5. Add 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil over the sauce.
6. Add 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of shredded (or fresh 1/4″ thick) mozzarella over the top.

Toppings
At this point, you can bake your pizza as a delicious cheese pizza, or use it as a blank canvas for any number of flavorful toppings. Some of our favorite toppings to add over the cheese include pepperoni, sausage, baked ham, capers, and Kalamada olives. See Italymax artisan pizza recipes for more topping ideas.

5. Bake the Pizza
You can bake your pizza at home using your kitchen oven or outdoor grill. The advantage to using the grill is being able to add wood chips during baking and not adding any heat to the kitchen. Either way the pizzas will turn out delicious, and often better than your local pizzeria, since many hand toss or use a rolling pin and most bake with a deck or conveyor oven with cooking temperatures that are less than you use at home!

Using an Outdoor Grill
With your grill preheated on high for about 30 minutes, the temperature on the surface of the pizza stone should be about 500 degrees. This would be a good time to add an aluminum tray with wood chips for that traditional wood smoked flavor (we use everything from hickory and mesquite – to apple chips). If you have a grate-level infrared burner on the side, turn it on a few minutes before baking to help increase the surface temperature for your pizza toppings.

Shake the peel back and forth to make sure that the populated pizza still moves freely over the corn meal (or semolina) before you transfer it to the stone.6 When you’re ready and the pizza is moving freely on the peel, open the grill cover and drop the forward edge of the pizza peel at a slight angle, touching the back side of the stone. With a steady forward motion, allow the edge of the pizza to drop on the back side of the hot stone – then quickly and smoothly jerk the peel back toward you to slide the peel out from underneath, dropping the pizza in the middle of the stone. Immediately close the grill cover and set your timer for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, open the cover, place the peel half-way under the pizza and rotate the pizza 90 degrees. Remove the peel with the pizza still centered in the same location and close the lid for another 5 minutes.7 At this point, the bottom should be golden, the toppings bubbling, and the edge of the pizza is rising and starting to get a nice char in places. When the pizza is done, remove it with a peel, turn off the grill, then let the pizza rest on a wood peel or a cutting board to absorb the moisture and cool for a few minutes before slicing.

Using a Kitchen Oven
Position the oven rack in the top 1/3 position (usually the 2nd from the top position) about 7 inches from the top heating element. Place the pizza stone on the rack against the back of the oven, then preheat the oven to 550 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. With the oven preheated, quickly add your ingredients to the pizza shell already sitting on the peel. When you’re ready to bake your pizza, turn on the oven light, then drop the pizza onto the stone by placing the edge of the pizza on the back of the stone, then smoothly jerking the peel back toward you to slide the peel out from underneath.



Bake at 550 degrees for about 4 minutes, rotate the pizza 90 degrees, then turn the oven to broil. Watching constantly, let the pizza continue to bake under the broiler for another 3 minutes7 until the cheese is bubbling and the airy edge rises and starts to char. After 3 minutes on broil, turn off the oven and leave the pizza on the stone for another 2 minutes with the door cracked open to let the hot pizza stone finish cooking the crust.

When the pizza is done, remove it with the peel, and let it rest on a wood peel or a cutting board to absorb the moisture and cool for a minute or two before slicing.

Buon Appetito!

Time Required to Make a Gourmet Pizza
Making a pizza consists of 4 primary steps: (1) Making the dough for 3 pizzas (5 minutes, or about 2 minutes per pizza); (2) After the dough rises, cut the dough into three pieces, cover and set aside (3 minutes, or 1 minute per pizza); (3) Gather the ingredients and assembly time for 3 pizzas (15 minutes, or 5 minutes per pizza); (4) Baking time for each pizza (about 10 minutes).
Total time to prepare, assemble, and bake a pizza: About 20 minutes.8

Footnotes
1. Fermentation time depends on a number of factors, especially the room temperature. A cooler environment takes longer (18 to 24 hours), while warmer temperatures may take as little as 8 to 10 hours. Salt is also a factor. The more salt added to the dough, the slower the yeast develops and longer the fermentation time. To determine when the first fermentation is finished and the gluten has developed, the dough should have more than doubled in size with lots of bubbles and will cling in long strands on the side of the bowl when you tilt it. To speed up the fermentation time, use warm or hot water (never boiling), a touch more yeast, a little less salt, then set the bowl aside to proof in a warmer room where the temperature is 78 to 80 degrees rather than the typical 72 to 74 degrees. If you accelerate the fermentation, keep in mind that more aroma and flavor is developed with longer rise times.
2. To refrigerate: After the initial 12-to-18 hour fermentation period, pour out the 30 ounces of dough, cut into three equal 10-oz pieces, nudge and tuck in the bottom corners of the dough toward the center to shape it into a round ball, then place on the lightly floured surface with the tucked seam side down, then immediately double wrap each piece with plastic wrap, slide each wrapped dough ball into a Ziploc sandwich bag, and place in the refrigerator for up to 7 days until needed. When you’re ready to make a pizza, pull out a pizza dough pack and let it sit on the counter wrapped for 1 hour to get close to room temperature before unwrapping, covering with a damp cloth, and letting it rise again for another 45 minutes before forming the dough into a pizza and adding your ingredients.
See How to Make Pizza Dough for more information on refrigerating pizza dough packs.
3. Your oven should be preheated to 550 degrees for about 30 minutes with the oven rack and pizza stone in the top 1/3 position (usually the 2nd from the top position), about 7 inches from the top heating element.
4. Depending on how close the pizza stone is to the flames on your grill, you can use an iron griddle or skillet under the pizza stone to keep the stone an inch or two off the grill grates. This provides a barrier to isolate the flames from the pizza stone that otherwise would get too hot and burn the bottom of the pizza. It is not required for oven use. If you have a grate-level infrared burner on the side, turn it on 10 minutes before baking your pizza for increased heat. Note: only use infrared burners that are located on the side, not directly under or over the pizza stone, as it can crack it.
5. Italian seasoning is a dry herb mix available at the grocery store (McCormick, Spice Islands) that consist of dried Oregano, Garlic, Marjoram, Onion, Rosemary, Basil, Savory, and Sage. Used in moderation, Italian herb seasoning can add another layer of traditional Italian flavors to your pizza, without overwhelming it like Oregano alone can.
6. If the wet ingredients have been sitting on the pizza dough for more than a couple minutes, it will stick to the peel and never transfer to the stone. If that happens, try to carefully lift the edges and add a little more corn meal to loosen it. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to start over. Just make sure that the peel is clean and completely dry before reassembling your pizza.
7. Actual baking times vary depending on the amount of ingredients on your pizza and the temperature of your oven or grill. Test a few pizzas and monitor the results, then adjust the times and temperatures accordingly.
8. Does not include unattended fermentation and proofing time for developing the pizza dough, optional time to make pizza dough packs to refrigerate for later use, nor the preheating time for the oven or grill prior to baking the pizza.

Note: While this recipe is very forgiving, it is important to follow it as closely as possible for the best results.