Pizza Dough and Pizza Sauce

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No longer a newbie, but still clueless.
Mar 18, 2012
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DC Suburbs
I'm copying this post from "RitaY", a member over at The Virtual Weber Bullet, where I also hang out. The dough is really good, and I absolutely love the sauce. Even though I love garlic, I cut it back in the sauce. Anyway, hope you enjoy it. I know I have.


For a really good fresh-tasting pizza sauce, use one that is uncooked. Here is my adaptation of the Gemelli Pizza recipe in Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Baking Across America." I've been using it for at least 8 or 9 years. I think that Peter Reinhart has a similar recipe in his recent book "American Pie."

Her pizza dough is also excellent and the one I use for grilled or baked pizzas. After a 6-hour proof, it is VERY extensible! Retarding the dough is optional.


1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes, preferably Progresso or imported
1/2 teaspoon table salt (start with 1/4 tsp and then adjust to taste)
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon dried basil (optional), or triple the given amount for fresh
1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional), or triple the given amount for fresh
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves (optional), or triple the given amount for fresh
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced or crushed OR 1 tablespoon granulated garlic powder (sandy, not the fine powder)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar, or a combination of both (we prefer 100% lemon juice)

1. Stir all the ingredients together, adding the salt gradually, to taste. The basil, oregano, and marjoram are optional. I (Rita) use all three, but in an authentic Napoletana marinara pizza you would use only oregano in the sauce.

2. The flavors of the herbs and garlic will intensify when the pizza is baked, so resist the urge to increase the amount (you can increase the amount of either if not using both, but do not use more than 3 teaspoons total of the dried herbs, or 3 tablespoons total of the fresh herbs).

EDIT: Leftovers are really good over pasta, in Eggplant Parmesan, or where you'd use a marinara sauce (as in Mussels Marinara).


From "Artisan Baking Across America" by Maggie Glezer

• Makes 4 individual pizzas, to serve 4
• Time: About 6 1/2 hours, with about 20 minutes of active work

The wonderful thing about this professional method of making pizza dough is that it is so flexible. You can make the dough in the morning, let it rise all day, and bake your pizzas in the evening. You can also mix the dough up to 36 hours in advance, shape it into balls, and refrigerate it. The next morning, put the tray of chilled dough on the kitchen counter to proof all day, and it will be ready to bake in the evening.

What makes this method different is that it is cut and rounded into individual balls immediately after kneading. The dough then proofs, essentially skipping fermentation, giving it hours instead of minutes to relax before being shaped. Thus, this dough stretches out gorgeously into thin, even disks, even though it contains no oil.

The keys to making great pizza are to shape the dough exactly when it’s proofed enough and to bake it quickly at a high temperature, so the crust will be browned and well cooked but still flexible—it is not supposed to be crisp. Proofing enough but not too much is the essence of mastery. Well-proofed dough is light, extensible, and bubbly; overproofed dough collapses when it is handled. Ideally you would make your pizza as soon as your dough is well proofed, but if you are trying to time it for a dinner party, that can be hard. Consider that underproofed is better than overproofed.

3 1/3 cups (17.6 oz, 500 g) bread flour (pref. Gold Medal, or King Arthur bread flour) [100.0 %]
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (a.k.a. “Bread Machine,” “Perfect Rise,” or “RapidRise” yeast) [0.2 %]
2 teaspoons (0.4 oz, 10 g) table salt [2.0 %]
1 1/2 cups (12.0 oz, 330 g) water, lukewarm [66.0 %]

Note: I add 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon minced dried oregano &/or marjoram to the dough just before the end of mixing. You can also add some Parmesan or Romano cheese. -- Rita

by hand: Mix the flour, yeast, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and mix until the dough is shaggy and most of the water has been absorbed. Turn the dough out of the bowl and knead, without adding extra flour, until it is just blended but not too smooth. Cover the dough with a bowl and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the yeast to fully hydrate. Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes, until it is fairly smooth, using a dough scraper if it is difficult to handle.

by stand mixer: Measure the flour, yeast, and salt together in the mixing bowl and stir them together by hand. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed while pouring in the water; continue to mix on low speed just until the dough gathers around the hook, about 3 minutes. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow the yeast to fully hydrate. Mix the dough on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the dough is fairly but not perfectly smooth.

by food processor: Add the flour, yeast, and salt to the workbowl fitted with the steel blade. Process for a few seconds to mix the dry ingredients. With the machine running, pour in the water through the feed tube and process just until the dough forms a ball, about 30 seconds. Let the dough rest for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow the yeast to fully hydrate. Process the dough until the work-bowl fogs, about 30 seconds. Remove it and hand knead it to cool it and redistribute the heat. Repeat this process 3 or 4 times, until the dough is fairly smooth.

Rita's food processor method: Add the flour, yeast, and salt to the workbowl fitted with the steel blade. Process for a few seconds to mix the dry ingredients. With the machine running, pour in the water through the feed tube and process just until the dough forms a ball, about 30 seconds. LET THE DOUGH REST for about 10–15 minutes to allow the yeast to fully hydrate.
MEANWHILE, CHOP THE FRESH HERBS or measure out the dry herbs, if using.
PROCESS THE DOUGH until the workbowl fogs and the dough is fairly smooth, about 15 seconds. THEN ADD THE HERBS and process 5 seconds more. Remove dough and hand knead to cool and redistribute the heat. It will not form a gluten window.

This soft dough should feel sticky at first, and then soft but dry to the touch. Adjust the dough’s consistency with extra water or flour only if it is excessively sticky (add 1 tablespoon flour at a time) or stiff (add 1 tablespoon water at a time).

On a lightly floured work surface, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces, each 7 ounces (200 grams). Shape each piece of dough into a tight ball: Roll the dough up like a carpet, turn the roll around, position it seam side up, and roll the cylinder up again. Roll the cylinder perpendicular to itself a third time. Turn the dough so that the seam is on the bottom and round the dough under your palm into a tight ball. Roll each rounded piece in flour and arrange each on a floured tray. Cover the tray tightly with plastic wrap.

Let the balls of dough proof at room temperature until they are soft and puffy but still springy, 5 to 6 hours. Or refrigerate the dough, after shaping it, for up to 36 hours. Remove it from the refrigerator and let it finish proofing at room temperature for 7 to 8 hours. [I find that about 5 hours works better for me in normal kitchen temperatures; in cooler kitchens in the winter, 6 hours would be better. For a longer proof, reduce the yeast a little. - RY]

One hour before baking the pizzas, arrange a rack on the oven’s second-to-top shelf and place a baking stone on it. Clear away all racks above the one being used. Preheat the oven to its highest-possible temperature setting. Hopefully this will be between broil and clean—you are trying for 750°F (400°C), but 550°F (290°C) or even 500°F (250°C) will still work.

Flour your work surface well and place a fully proofed dough ball on it. Flatten the ball with your hands and press it into a disk. The easiest way I have found to shape the dough is to just pull it out gently between your hands, rotating the disk as each side is pulled. To perfect the shape, place one hand on the center of the dough (to prevent it from getting too thin, which it has a tendency to do) and gently tug around the edges until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick in the center and about 1/4 inch at the very edge. Keep a serving plate next to you and be sure not to stretch the dough larger than the plate’s diameter.

Emanuele’s shaping method, which is slightly different from the one in the recipe: After flattening the dough into a thin disk, press your cupped hands just up to the edge of the dough (this allows the edge to stay thicker). Next, spread your hands apart to stretch the dough. Finally, when fully shaped, the dough should be thin and round, the edge about 1/4-inch thick.

Place the shaped dough on a sheet of parchment paper or, if you are more confident, directly on a lightly floured peel, which could be any lightweight, rimless baking sheet. Spread about 1/4 cup sauce on the dough and scatter with 2 ounces cheese. Peel the pizza onto the baking stone or slide it, still on the paper, onto the hot stone. Bake until the crust has colored slightly, burning in spots and staying pale in other areas, and the cheese has melted. The baking time should be around 4 minutes if your oven is hot enough, up to 6 if it is cooler. Do not overbake the pizza. To serve, drizzle on a little olive oil and arrange 4 basil leaves decoratively on top. Shape, top, and bake the remaining dough balls one at a time but eat the hot pizza right away.


Rita’s Notes:
§ This dough makes pizzas with thicker edges that are nice and chewy. The centers are quite thin.
§ For smaller appetites, divide the dough into 6 portions.
§ To shape the dough into tight balls, you can roll the dough in a circular motion on a dry (not floured) countertop under a cupped palm. It just takes a little practice.
§ This is my favorite crust and I use the processor method but also sometimes make it by hand.
§ This crust works well on the grill. Smaller pizzas are easier to handle for the grill.
§ I love this sauce; it has a lovely fresh flavor…..and no cooking! I add about 3/4 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds and 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice for brightness.
§ If your oven has a convection option, use it on its highest heat setting.
§ Don’t load the pizzas with a lot of ingredients. Choose 3 toppings, maximum, in addition to the sauce.
§ Fresh mozzarella is great, but part-skim mozzarella will make a good pizza if you’re watching calories and fat.
§ My family likes a crust with a little crunch on the bottom, so I lightly sprinkle yellow grits (white will do) on the parchment before adding the shaped pizza round. To me, it has a better texture than cornmeal.
§ The dough can be retarded (refrigerated, tightly covered) overnight. Give the dough an extra 30 minutes to ferment.
§ Extra dough balls can be rolled in flour, put into a zip-top plastic bag, and frozen for up to a month. Remove from the bag, put into the floured tray, and thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Proceed with the fermentation as above.
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