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jim lahey piza dough

This dough is chewy, bubbly, and better than what you’ll get at most pizza  places. It bakes wonderfully in a home oven, on a pizza stone or a baking sheet.  And thanks to the brilliant no-knead method of Jim Lahey—owner of New York’s  Sullivan Street Bakery and pizza spot Co. and author of My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza
at Home—it’s easy to prepare, deriving its  character from overnight fermentation, not laborious kneading. Just remember to  start at least 1 day ahead.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams      (17 1/2 ounces or about 3 3/4 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      (1 1/2 cups) water

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon or your hands, mix thoroughly.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature (about 72º F) for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled. It will take longer in a chilly room and less time in a very warm one.
  • Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shape them: For each portion start with the right side of the dough and pull it toward the center; then do the same with the left, the top then the bottom. (The order doesn’t actually matter; what you want is four folds.) Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. Mold the dough into a neat circular mound. The mounds should not be sticky; if they are, dust with more flour
  • If you don’t intend to use the dough right away, wrap the balls individually in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter, covered in a damp cloth, for 2 to 3 hours before needed.
  • Note: Don’t freeze the dough, but you can store it in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic, for up to three days. In effect, when you’re set to use it, you have your own ready-made dough.
  • Shaping the Disk (Method 1): Take one ball of the dough and generously flour it, your hands and the work surface. Then press it down and gently stretch it out to 6 to 8 inches. Very carefully continue the process, massaging it into roundish disk of 10 to 12 inches, stroking and shaping with the palms of your hands and with your fingers. Don’t handle it more than necessary, though you want some of the gas bubbles to remain in the dough. It should look slightly blistered. Flour the peel and lift the disk onto the center. The dough is now ready to be topped.
  • Shaping the Disk (Method 2): Take one ball of dough and generously flour it, your hands, and the work surface. Then press it down and gently stretch it out to 6 to 8 inches. Supporting the disk with your knuckles toward the outer edge and lifting it above the work surface, keep stretching the dough by rotating it with your knuckles, gently pulling it wider and wider until the disk reaches 10 to 12 inches. Set the disk on a well-floured peel. It is now ready to be topped.
  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: Any of the pizzas in this book can be made with whole wheat dough, although I’ve found over the years that I personally prefer less whole wheat in the mixture than others might. Too much of it, to my taste, makes the crust gritty.
  • To make whole wheat dough, use two-thirds white flour to one-third whole wheat, and double the yeast used in the standard pizza dough recipe.

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