I have done a lot of side by sides, experiments with different flours, and liquids. This is what I have so far for my dough recipe. It is completely subjective.
a personal meditation
- 3 cups unbleached all purpose Flour or a combination of Whole Wheat and all purpose. Exact quantities depend on humidity and protein content of flour. Right now I use 1/2 cup Hard Red Winter Wheat from a local grain CSA.
- 1/4-1/2-1 tsp of dry active Yeast. In my experience 1/4- 1/2 tsp is all that is needed if the flour is completely unbleached all purpose. Currently I use 3/4 tsp because of my particular w.w. flour, other wise it will rise very, very slowly. 1 tsp if you are not fermenting and needs a quick rise... Those handy little flieschmann packets are too much!
- 2 tsp corse Salt.
- 1 1/4 cup of cold water water (warm (not hot) if you don't want to ferment and are making the same day)*.
- parchment paper rounds for desired number of pies.
If freezing for another day (I have found it freezes well for up to a little more than a week) put into a greased ziplock bag and squeeze the air out. If using the next day or two (longer ferment the better) put dough into a greased bowl turning once so that there is a little oil on the top of the mound. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge over night. I like two days for this process.
The day of use, remove from the fridge and let the yeast wake up, and leave out in a warm draft free area until the dough has risen to twice its size and gently punch down. Punching down as I learnt through trial and error is not forming a fist and clobbering the unsuspecting dough. It is using finger tips and gently indenting the dough and letting it naturally deflate. Let the dough rest again for at least another 20 minutes before forming into rounds. That is when I get the rest of my Pizza making apparatus, parchment paper rounds and toppings ready.
To form, evenly cut into desired amount of pies that you want. Form little balls and cover with plastic wrap, and working one at a time and on a floured surface, lightly press into a circular shape. I like using my hands the best, stretching a pulling. Throwing would be great but you need a high ceiling and patience, especially if you keep dropping it. The trick is centrical force. I am not adapt at this method so I don't do it. You can always use a rolling pin to form into nice circles. Start at the centre of your formed round and roll out on a 45 degree angle, pick dough up and turn 45 degrees and roll again. Repeat until you have desired thickness and size. Whatever forming method you use, you can get four medium sized pizzas or about 10-12 mini ones out of this recipe. Put each round onto a piece of parchment paper.
Dress with desired toppings.
To bake, preheat your oven to as hot as it will allow. I have a wimpy electric oven that on a good day will go to 550 F. I use pizza stones that I preheat at the same time as the oven. WARNING: This is not the best carbon foot print method... I preheat my oven for an hour or longer. The stones absorb and hold the heat which is great for a faster hotter bake but because of the thermal mass takes longer to get up to temperature. Put a Pizza pie into the oven on the parchment, bake for a few minutes until it is nicely firm and the parchment paper can be removed quickly with a pull. Like a tablecloth magic trick. Finishing baking until sufficiently golden brown and gooey, remove and put on a wire rack. Don't let it cool too much, you want it to be still hot and stringy. The nirvana is in the first bite. I think and I could be wrong by putting it on a cooling rack first the bottom doesn't get soggy. Cut and serve.
It really is simple. I have probably said too much and confused the heck out of a lot of people, but try it and practice it. Some people are about toppings, some about crust. I am about the crust first and use very simple toppings. My sauce is nothing more than crushed raw tomatoes (canned in the winter and fresh in the summer) pureed with salt and pepper and marinated with whole raw garlic.
One final tip, dough does not stick to wet hands, a good thing to know when removing it from the hook and cutting into pieces.
* the dough can be used the same day as it is made, just make sure you give it a good hour or more head start.