A little while ago, an independent pizza chef posted an “Ask Me Anything” post on reddit.com. It was an interesting read and he also posted his recipe for pizza dough which rests in the fridge overnight. (If you like reading about the behind-the-scenes life of chefs, you should read the entire thread.)
It looked really good, even if cutting it down was a bit of a hassle. We wound up making one-sixteenth of the original recipe to get one medium pizza for two. One thing I’d like to do is make maybe one-fourth of the original recipe and freeze three crusts for later once they come out of the oven and are ready to be topped. Then it seems like it would be just like those Boboli crusts you can pick up in the store — only really tasty and yummy in addition to being really fast.
Now, this crust takes 24 hours to make, so you can’t just start on it a few hours before dinner, but it does make for a very easy crust recipe. It’s just about as easy as those pizza crust mixes in boxes at the store — but it tastes a hell of a lot better. We’re both really happy with how this crust came out – nicely fluffy without being too thick (similar to a hand-tossed crust at one of the major pizza joints), with good texture and excellent flavor, thanks to the long, slow rise.
Easy Overnight Pizza Crust [printable recipe]
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp active dry or instant yeast
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 3/4 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup warm water (105F -115F)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp thyme (optional!1)
- 1 tsp garlic powder (optional!)
Combine all of the dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Mix well with your (clean) hands, then add honey and oil. Mix those in and begin slowly adding water, mixing thoroughly. You may need a bit more flour to bring it from a sticky mass into a nice, elastic dough. Once it’s elastic, put a lid on the bowl and stuff it into the back of the fridge. Leave it there overnight.
The next day…
Dust a clean worksurface with cornmeal. Take out the dough and stretch it in your hands, carefully stretching it into a circle. If you’re good with pizza dough, you can just toss it around into a pizza crust. I am not that good so I use a rolling pin and roll it out into a vaguely pizza-shaped crust. You want this very thin as it will poof in the oven. The cornmeal will act like little ball bearings, making it easy to slide the pizza on and off the stone, besides adding flavor and texture to the crust.
Preheat the oven to 425F and make sure your pizza stone is already inside. (Don’t have a stone? Bake it on a pizza pan or baking sheet.) Bake the pizza crust for 5 minutes, then remove and top with sauce and toppings. Bake the finished pizza for about 9 to 11 minutes.
- The spices are optional – this is what I used this time. TheJFK swears by fennel seeds in his. Next time, I’m thinking about dried minced garlic or caraway seeds.
Everybody has their own set of favorite toppings. When we go out for pizza, I almost always want pepperoni, but when we make it at home, I go for something a little more extravagant.
Our homemade pizzas often incorporate chicken, bacon, onions and garlic. This time, we decided to go with bacon and when we saw cured pork jowl bacon at Winco, my husband was thrilled. He loves this cut of pork and frankly, I was surprised to see it in a megamart in this state. It’s rather interesting as bacon – the fatty parts are more similar to lean in texture than your typical bacon fat which I find difficult to eat. On this pizza, it was superb, adding just the right amount of meatiness to the pizza.
If you’ve been reading here regularly, you already know we’re garlic fiends. Here’s how we decided to top our first batch of homemade pizza dough.
Garlic Lovers’ Extravaganza Pizza [printable recipe]
Makes one 12″ – 14″ pizza
- 1 recipe Easy Overnight Pizza Crust
- 1/2 small can of tomato sauce
- 1/2 head of garlic, roasted and crushed
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 1/2 tsp crushed red chili pepper flakes
- 1 roma tomato, sliced
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 slices cured pork jowl bacon
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- 1 mushroom, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 450F.
Combine tomato sauce, roasted garlic, marjoram, red pepper flakes and half of the fresh basil shreds in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside. Over moderate heat, fry bacon and onion until tender. Drain and set aside.
Spread dough with your hands into a circle on a cornmeal-dusted surface and roll/stretch out into a thin 13″ diameter round1. Bake the crust on a baking stone for 5 minutes, then remove.
Spread the sauce over the crust evenly to about 1″ from the edge. Layer on onions, bacon, tomato slices, raw garlic slices, mushrooms and half of the remaining basil shreds. Top with cheese, sprinkling over evenly.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until everything is golden. Remove, sprinkle the remaining basil over the top and try to share with others.
- I admit, we don’t know how to do the whole hand-tossed thing, so we just stretch the dough into a circle and then roll the rest of the way. This could be considered heresy in some parts.