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pizza pie

This is the Neo-Neapolitan Pizza Dough from Peter Reinhart’s American Pie.  It is a low-yeast, slow-rising dough with enough suppleness to make it easy to work with. This is the BEST pizza dough and sauce.

The Dough:

Makes 4 10-inch pizzas

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon sugar or honey

2 teaspoons salt (or 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt)

1 teaspoon instant yeast

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 3/4 to 2 cups room-temperature water

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or mix in an electric mixer.  After you’ve combined all of the ingredients, set the dough aside to rest for 5 minutes.  Stir again for 3 to 5 minutes, adding more water or flour if necessary.  Generally speaking, you want the dough to be wetter and stickier than your typical bread dough.  It should be dry enough that it holds together and pulls away from the side of the bowl when you mix it, but it doesn’t need to be dry enough to knead by hand.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces.  Place each one into an oiled freezer bag.  I just squirt a couple of sprays of spray oil into the bag.  You can also brush the outside of the dough with olive oil and then place it into the bag.  All that matters is that you be able to get the dough out of the bag later.

If you aren’t going to bake them that day, you can throw the bags into the freezer.  They’ll stay good in there for at least a month.  The evening before you intend to bake them, move the frozen dough balls to the refrigerator to thaw.

If you intend to bake them later that day, place the bagged dough balls in the refrigerator.  Remove them from the fridge and let them warm to room temperature an hour or two before you intend to bake them.

Remember that, as a baker, time is your friend: longer, slower rises at reduced temperature result in better tasting bread.  But sometimes you don’t have the luxury of time – that is OK; this dough will still work well if only given an hour or so to rise at room temperature.  Allowing pizza dough to rise is more about giving the yeast time to bring flavors out of the wheat than it is about leavening.  Most of the leavening occurs when you put the active dough into the hot oven, so you don’t need to wait until the dough balls double in size.

The Sauce:

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

garlic powder or cloves of crushed garlic – to taste

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice, or a combination of the two

salt and black pepper to taste

Stir everything together.  If the tomatoes are too chunky, break them up with your fingers.

Fresh tomatoes or herbs can be substituted for canned tomatoes and dried herbs.  The fresh tomatoes don’t even need to be cooked first, since the time in the oven baking is enough to cook them.

Baking

Cook pizza at the highest temperature that your oven can safely handle, like 450 or 500 degrees.  Baking on a pizza stone will give your dough a little more pop when it gets in the oven but it is not necessary to make good pizza.

If not the lowest shelf, then the second to lowest is probably the best place to bake your pie.  You want the pizza to be as close to the heat source as is possible without burning.  But every oven is different, so adjust accordly.

Place the pizza in the hot oven, close the door, and let it bake for 5 minutes.  Check it every minute or two until the cheese is melted and the dough looks baked.  In my oven with the size pizzas I make, I bake them for 7 to 9 minutes.

I finish off the pizza with 2 or 3 minutes on the grill with the lid closed.

source- The Fresh Loaf

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