National Pizza Day is this Thursday, February 9. We’re not prone to drawing attention to these random one-day food celebrations, but this one has a special place in our hearts. It’s pizza, after all, people. We’re even going the extra mile and having chef Justin Bazdarich of NYC staple Speedy Romeo come to our office on the big day to show us how to proof pizza dough at home, live on camera. But more on that later. Let’s first talk dough from scratch.
If we had our way, we’d reach right through this screen and hand you a slice of Joe Heffernan’s pizza. One gooey bite, and you’d understand our obsession: bright, salty-sweet tomato sauce, farm-fresh mozzarella, peppery basil, and a killer crust. Oh, that crust — thin and pliant, with a gratifying pull throughout and blistery bubbles at the chewy edge. No wonder Seattleites line up outside of Independent, the wee, wedge-shaped restaurant Joe co-owns. And now he’s here to show our friends at ChefSteps how to make amazing pizza dough at home.
Yup, you can create pro-level pizza dough in the pants-optional comfort of your kitchen. Just remember, though, that Naples wasn’t built in a day. Joe will be the first to tell you that making great pizza dough requires practice and intuition. You need to get intimately familiar with your workspace, your tools and each stage of the pizza-making process. Mastery, any kind of mastery, takes a hot minute. Prepare accordingly, then cue your favorite cooking music. ’Cause we’re ready to roll some dough. Check out the instructional video and full recipe below.
Servings: Dough for 3 pizza pies
1 3/4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 (plus a little) cup water
1 1/2 grams cake yeast (or 1 gram dry yeast)
Olive oil, for greasing, as needed
Can I make dough in advance?
You can keep dough in the fridge for up to three days.
What if I want to keep it for longer than that?
Freeze it, friend. Then pull a portion out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge for about eight hours before you’re ready to roll.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix bread flour and salt thoroughly.
- Using a thermometer, adjust sink tap until the water reaches 65°F. Add water to a new bowl. Add cake yeast and gently stir to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour in the water and yeast.
- Using a wooden spoon, mix ingredients together until you have a shaggy, rugged mass of dough.
- In a stand mixer equipped with the dough hook, mix dough on medium speed for about seven and a half minutes, or until the dough has formed a uniform mass and pulls cleanly from the sides of the bowl.
- Dust your work surface with flour. Turn dough onto the work surface and shape into a ball.
- Ferment dough for 5-8 hours in a covered container. Make sure that the temperature of the room is conducive to fermentation — it should be around 65°F in there.
- Using a scale, divide the dough into 230-gram portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Pour a dollop of olive oil into the palm of your hand, and lightly roll each ball on the countertop to cover with oil. This helps the dough retain moisture as it rests in the next step.
- Transfer dough to the fridge and chill, uncovered, for 10-30 minutes. Cover with an airtight lid and let rest overnight in the fridge.
- Proof in warm room until dough is relaxed and ready to stretch, about 20 minutes.
- Stretch into a pie shape. Each pie should be about 14-15 inches across (see proper technique in the video above).
- Make a pizza! We’ll follow up with topping and baking tips next week.
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