I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Friday, June 06, 2008

NY Style Pizza

I decided to try out a NY style pizza in my new oven. I decided to make a couple pizzas based on the Tom Lehmann recipes.

NY Style Pizza
Makes two 16 inch pizzas

Flour (100%): 698 g
Water (62%): 433 g
IDY (.3%): 2 g
Salt (1.5%): 10 g
Olive Oil (1.5%): 10 g
Honey (2%): 14 g

Single Ball: 584 g

How to Prepare:

Standard Dough Making Procedure: Put water into the mixing bowl, add the salt and sugar, then add the flour and the yeast. Mix at low speed for about 2 minutes, then mix at medium speed until all of the flour has been picked up into the dough. Now add the oil and mix in for 2 minutes at low speed, then mix the dough at medium speed until it develops a smooth, satiny appearance (generally about 8 to 10 minutes using a planetary mixer).

The dough temperature should be between 80 and 85F. Immediately divide the dough into desired weight pieces and round into balls. Wipe the dough balls with salad oil, and place into plastic dough boxes. Make sure that the dough balls are spaced about 2 inches apart. Cross stack the uncovered dough boxes in the cooler for 2 hours as this will allow the dough balls to cool down thoroughly, and uniformly. The dough boxes can then be nested, with the top box being covered. This will prevent excessive drying of the dough balls.

The dough balls will be ready to use after about 12 hours of refrigeration. They can be used after up to 72 hours of refrigeration with good results. To use the dough balls, remove a quantity from the cooler and allow them to warm at room temperature for approximately 2-3 hours. The dough can then be shaped into skins, or shaped into pans for proofing. Unused dough can remain at room temperature (covered to prevent drying) for up to 6 hours after removal from the cooler.

Shaping the Dough
1) Remove dough balls from ziplock bags. Dust both sides well. Dust prep area with flour.
2) Flatten ball into a thick pancake-like shape with palm of hand, ~ 2" thick. Keep well dusted. Rest around 5 minutes.
3) Press fingertips into center and working toward the rim until skin is ~9 inches round. Keep well dusted and rest 5 minutes.
4) Place hands palm down inside rim and stretch outward while turning. Stretch to ~11 inches round. Rest around 5 minutes.
5) Place skin over knuckles (1st time dough is lifted off bench) and stretch to 14 inches.
6) Pat excess flour off skin. Place on a pizza peel dusted with corn meal and dress with favorite toppings.
7) Just before sliding off the peel and into the oven, run a piece of dental floss under the dough. That will help the pizza slide off easier.

I took me a while to come up with the optimal oven configuration, but I wanted to come as close as possible to a Neapolitan pizza oven. They are characterized by a stone floor and a low ceiling. To duplicate that I have the pizza stone on the bottom rack and another stone on another rack, about 7.5 inches above the first. The top stone provides radiant heat to the top of the pizza. The pizza is cooked directly on the bottom stone.

Preparing the Oven
1) Place a baking stone on the lowest rack in the oven.
2) Place another baking stone (or some unglazed quarry tiles) on a rack 3 notches above the first. Notches vary from oven to oven so shoot for 7.5 inches.
3) Turn the oven to the highest possible heat and preheat for 1 hour.
4) While the oven is preheating you will hear the gas turn off. When this happens open the door until the gas kicks back on.

Our little one worked up quite an appetite with Mr. Duck at the park today!
You should use good cheeses to make your pizzas.
We had a pizza margarita.
And a pepperoni pizza.
Lesson learned: our oven should only be used to bake a pizza 14 inches or less.