Pizza makes for a perfect blank canvas. A little bit of flour, water, yeast and time sets the stage for your creative inspiration. Perhaps you like the traditional perfection of zesty sausage atop a bright tomato sauce draped in a gossamer layer of mozzarella cheese. Or perhaps, you like to do things your own way, like Pizzeria Lola’s Ann Kim. Dipping into the bold and spicy flavors from her heritage, Kim tops some of her pies with Korean BBQ (bulgogi) flavors with Niman Ranch beef short ribs and a sesame-soy vinaigrette. Cooking like a maverick on a Monday night is as simple as prepping this easy dough and stashing it in your fridge until you and your family are ready to thrown down your own inspiration on a pizza wheel.
Whatever is in season, whatever is available on hand is all ready to be pulled together. Is tonight the occasion for ramp pesto? Have you been looking for a way to use that Laotian sausage flecked with cilantro, lemon grass and fiery chilies? Do you have some leftover rotisserie chicken and a bottle of barbecue sauce? This is your moment, your dinner and you can do anything.
Ingredients (Makes approximately six 6 oz. or four 9 oz. dough balls)
4 ¼ cups bread flour
2 cups cold water
3 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp instant yeast
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine the flour and yeast.
- Add 1 ¾ cup of the water (reserving ¼ cup to add if necessary) and mix with a dough hook on low speed for 1 minute.
- Add salt and continue to mix for another 3 minutes adding reserved water if the dough seems dry.
- Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then mix again on medium low speed for an additional 2 minutes, or until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl. The dough should still be tacky to the touch, but not too wet and sticky that it does not hold its shape.
- If the dough is still too dry, slowly add water one tablespoon at a time. If it is too wet gradually mix in flour by the tablespoon until you reach the desired consistency. Do not overmix the dough.
- Transfer the dough to a well floured counter and begin to gently roll the dough into a ball.
- Using a sharp knife, cut 6 or 9 oz. pieces and form into a tight ball (6 oz. dough ball for a 10” crust and 9 oz. dough ball for a 12” crust).
- Place dough balls on a baking sheet covered in olive oil or cooking spray to prevent them from sticking to the sheet.
- With a pastry brush cover the dough balls in additional olive oil.
- Cover the dough balls in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Immediately place the dough balls in the refrigerator and let them rest 24 hours.
- The next day, remove the dough balls and let sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours prior to making pizzas.
- Push out the dough by hand or use a rolling pin until you reach the desired shape.
- Place the crust onto a well floured pizza peel and top with your favorite sauce and toppings.