Pizza is one of the very best things in the world. And you should be allowed to eat a lot of it all the time.
But when it looks like this ...
It usually makes you feel like this.
When you make the crust yourself, you can control what goes into it.
Then cover it with fresh ingredients that will make you feel smart and awesome.
Like radishes, pecorino cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.
Olives, fennel, and golden raisins.
Or leeks, bacon, and goat cheese.
Also, it doesn't have to be hard to make.
NYC baker Jim Lahey popularized this genius no-knead method when he published his cookbook last spring. Kneading is not so strenuous (it'll never cramp your biceps like whipping egg whites can), but doing it correctly requires a lot of practice, trial, and error. To knead properly, you must form a relationship with your dough, find your rhythm, and sense when it's feeling too dry, or leathery, or loose (and how to fix it).
Here, there's none of that. After mixing the flour, salt, yeast, and water, you just flop the dough around a couple times and wait until it's risen. Granted, that rising part takes about 18 hours. But then you can keep the dough refrigerated for up to three days until you're ready to use it.
You will need:
500 grams (17 1/2 ounces or about 3 3/4 unsifted cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
16 grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
350 grams (11/2 cups) water
-A scale so that you can use the exact quantity of dry ingredients this recipe calls for.
-A very hot oven and a pizza stone. A pizza stone is a ceramic or stone slab that distributes heat evenly and is a little porous, so it draws moisture out of your crust to make it crispy. You can use a baking sheet if you have to.
-A pizza peel — the huge spatula thing that pizza makers use to slide a pie in and out of a super-hot oven. In a pinch, you can actually use the bottom of a cardboard pizza box — build the pizza on top of it then slide the pizza onto the stone, and slide it underneath the pizza to get it out of the oven.
Start with flour.
Add in the yeast.
Swish the dry ingredients around.
Start by mixing with a wooden spoon.
Then switch to your hands.
Scrunch it together until it begins to come together in a ball.
Put your dough into an oiled and covered bowl, and let it sit somewhere warm for 18 hours.
It should double in size.
When you're ready to shape, throw some semolina, cornmeal or even regular flour on a pizza peel or unrimmed baking sheet.
Now take the dough, and start to make something that resembles a pizza.
When it looks like this, pat yourself on the back.
Now top and bake at the hottest temp possible.
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