Pizza Recipe

This is a bit out of place, but it’s my blog, so here it is: Me and Isabel’s Pizza Recipe!

We’ve been making pizzas for about six months now, and are by no means experts, but have gotten to a pie that’s decidedly better than 90% of the pizza in Boston (which is admittedly not the highest bar in the world, but still). This recipe takes an hour from start to finish (that includes dough rising and yeast proofing), though, the longer you let the dough rise, the more yeasty and flavorful the dough will be. This recipe yields one very delicious, medium sized, thin crust, New York style pizza. It’s so good we never order pizza anymore.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Benji and Isabella’s Phenomenal New York Pizza Recipe

Yields 1 medium pie, or about six slices. Serves 2-3 people.

Prep Time: ~45mn, including rise/proofing
Cook Time: 10mn
Total: 61mn

You do not need a pizza stone for this recipe, though you can use one if you want.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar (to proof yeast, this won’t affect the flavor of the dough)
  • ½ packet of active yeast (around 1⅛ teaspoons)
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • A little more than ¾ cup water
  • 1.5 teaspoons olive oil + a little more to coat the dough ball
  • A liberal amount of low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded (you can also use an Italian blend, or Pizza blend. Please don’t put cheddar on your pizza)
  • Pizza sauce
  • Ground oregano

Instructions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 500°F. If you are using a pizza stone, place it in the oven now.
    2. Whisk together salt and flour in a large bowl.
    3. Pour the little-more-than ¾ of a cup of lukewarm water into a separate bowl. Mix in sugar, and gently stir in yeast. Wait approximately 10-15 minutes, or until the surface is bubbly/cloudy.
    4. Once the yeast is ready, create a small well in the dry ingredients and slowly combine the water/yeast mixture using a large wooden spoon. Switch to kneading with your hands once the dough becomes too difficult to combine with the spoon. If the dough feels dry, add additional water a ½ tablespoon at a time.
    5. Once the flour is incorporated, add 1½ teaspoons of olive oil and work it into the dough. Do not combine this with the previous step! This should be done in order. Knead until you have soft, slightly slippery but not sticky dough ball. If your dough is too sticky to handle, add flour. If it feels too dry, and a small amount of water.
    6. Lightly coat the dough ball with oil to prevent a crust from forming and place in a large bowl. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap, place in a warm cozy place (75-85°F), and let sit for 30 minutes to 2 hours. The longer the rise, the more flavorful the pie will be and the more the crust will puff at the edges. You can also place the bowl in the fridge and let rise for 24-48 hours–just make sure to let it reach room temperature when you’re ready to use it, or it will be very hard to work with.
    7. Remove the plastic wrap and gaze at your beautiful dough.
    8. Remove dough from the bowl and place it on a well floured work surface. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it feels too dry, add water, a teaspoon at a time, and work it into the dough. If it feels too sticky, flour your hands and work the dough on the floured work surface. It will absorb some of the flour and become easier to work with.
    9. Working the dough: This is my favorite step and a fun opportunity to experiment. There are tons of resources online to teach you how to stretch pizza dough, and I’ve written down my own technique, which is derived from a combination of videos, recipes, and advice. It’s designed to be easy for beginners. However you decide to go about turning your dough into a pie, just don’t use a rolling pin. It will give your pizza the texture of something from a school cafeteria, and the edges won’t rise. The general premise is you want to stretch the dough into your desired dimensions. Anywhere you press down on the dough is going to rise less in the oven, anywhere you don’t press down will rise more. To get that rised crust around the edge of the pie, just don’t press that area.
    10. If you are using a pizza stone, place your dough on your work surface for this step. If you are using a metal pan or baking sheet, flour the sheet and place your dough on it. If you’re using a square pan, stretch the dough into the shape of the pan. It might get a little funny looking on the edges, but it will taste just as delicious.
    11. Add sauce using a spoon. You want to use enough to cover the pie, but not enough to drown it. You should still be able to see the crust when you’ve applied the sauce. Sauce is one of my favorite parts of the pizza, but trust me, you need less than you think for a New York style pizza.
    12. Sprinkle oregano on the sauce. Oregano is one of the sources of that authentic New York Pizza flavor (this is a trick of the trade from my pizza specialist friend).
    13. Add a liberal amount of cheese, covering up most of the sauce. Go right up to the edge of the pie–you especially want to cover the sauce at the edge.
    14. If you are using a pizza stone, remove it from the oven and gently scoop your pizza onto it. In a perfect world we all have great big wooden spatulas, but let’s be honest, none of us have great big wooden spatulas. You can very gently scoop your hands underneath it and lift it that way. It helps to have a friend for this step. If you’re using a pan, your pizza should already be in the pan. Great job!
    15. Place your pizza in the oven and let cook for 7-10 minutes. Cook time may be slightly lower if you’re using a pizza stone. Note: It’s important that you say “Bye pizza! Have a good time in the oven!” when you put it in the oven. It’s also important that you turn the oven light on and stare at it for the cook time.
    16. Once cooked, remove the pizza from the oven and cut into six slices. Serve piping hot.

Some Notes and Other Thoughts:

  • It’s okay if your dough is a little thin when you put it in the oven, as long as your pan or stone is well floured. Ideally, you want a uniform thickness, but the dough will rise, so even if it’s a little translucent, it’s not going to fall apart in the oven.
  • On crispiness: My pizza aficionado friend says, ideally you want the oven as hot as possible. Pizza in good pizzerias is cooked upwards of 700°F for less than 2 minutes. You’re definitely not going to achieve that in a home oven. What you can do is put the crust with just a thin layer of sauce on (no cheese) in for five minutes, then take it out, add more sauce and add the cheese, and return to oven until cheese melts. This will give you a crisp crust without burning the cheese.
  • We’re not experts. It likely takes years to master pizza making, however, you can pick up the basics pretty quickly, and it’s very fun and rewarding, not to mention delicious.
  • These steps, ingredients, and proportions are derived from combinations of recipes, advice, videos, and trial and error. This makes very nice, workable dough that’s not-too-dry and not-too-sticky.
  • Don’t want to deal with yeast? Whisk 1 tablespoon of baking powder with the dry ingredients instead of adding yeast. You do not need to let the dough rise outside of the oven if you are using baking powder.
  • Like it? Hate it? Feel free to comment with your thoughts.

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