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Apr 21, 2014
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By the Book: Ken Forkish’s Same-Day Straight Pizza Dough

November 20th 05:11pm, 2012

The number of minutes it took me to find instant dried yeast in the grocery store (an embarrassingly high number) is inversely proportional to my level of experience in making pizza dough, or any dough for that matter. I love pizza, though, and my husband and I received a beautiful pizza stone and peel for our wedding, which we frequently use … but only with store-bought dough that we then top with our own ingredients and consider homemade. So, when it came time for Sauce’s By the Book bread-themed cookbooks, I figured that learning to make pizza dough sounded like the most realistic and satisfying first step for a beginning bread baker like myself. From Ken Forkish’s book, Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza, I chose his recipe for same-day straight pizza dough because for me, when it comes to baking, prepping anything in advance usually just means we get take-out instead.



On the whole, the recipe isn’t hard, but many of Forkish’s techniques such as shaping and proofing require reading other sections of his book, for he covers bread-making as a whole, illustrating (pictured, above) certain techniques that you will continue to use in most every bread you’ll ever make.



When it came time to use the dough, mine looked like his dough in the pictures (for the most part), so I chose to remain optimistic and assumed my dough was going to be great. After shaping the dough and placing it on a floured pizza peel, I spread some garlic that I’d roasted to the consistency of a paste, topped it with a thin layer of marinara sauce, added lots of shredded mozzarella and torn basil and placed it on the piping hot pizza stone in the oven.



Was it great? I have a feeling Forkish would think not, getting all Goldilocks about how the crust was too tough or too chewy or too thick or not airy enough, but for me, it tasted pretty good. And the best part is that I have four more balls of dough in my fridge to experiment with later in the week.

Same-Day Straight Pizza Dough
Makes 5 340-gram dough balls, each of which will yield a thin-crust pizza-stone pizza about 12 inches in diameter or a thick-crust iron-skillet pizza.

This recipe is ideal if you want to make dough in the morning and bake pizza that evening. It’s even better if you refrigerate the dough balls overnight and make pizza the next day. What I often do with this recipe is make pizza two days in a row, or pizza one day, and the next day make focaccia, perhaps to serve alongside a meal, as a predinner snack, or for lunch.

Note that the dough doesn’t include olive oil, as pizza doughs often do. Therefore it bakes up crisper, with more open holes in the perimeter of the crust, which is how I like it. I do think drizzling olive oil on the dough after the pizza is baked is a great idea. The crust will showcase the flavor of the flour, so it’s best to use a good flour, preferably soft white 00 flour, Caputo brand if you can get it. If 00 flour isn’t available, use the best-quality all-purpose white flour you can obtain. The resulting flavors will be delicate, sweet wheat, and ideal for combining with high-quality tomatoes and toppings.

700 g. or 3 cups water, divided
2 g. or ½ tsp. instant dried yeast
1,000 g. or 7¾ cups white flour
20 g. or 1 Tbsp. plus ¾ tsp. fine sea salt
Special tool: pizza stone (optional)

• Hydrate the yeast. Measure 700 grams of water at 90 to 95 degrees into a container. Put 2 grams of yeast in a separate, small container. Add about 3 tablespoons of the water to the yeast and set aside.
• Autolyse. Combine the 1,000 grams of flour and the remaining water in a 12-quart round tub. Mix by hand just until incorporated. Cover and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
• Mix. Sprinkle the 20 grams of salt over the top of the dough. Stir the yeast mixture with your finger; then pour it over the dough. Use a small piece of the autolysed mixture to wipe the remaining yeast goop from its container, then throw it back in the tub.
• Mix by hand, wetting your working hand before mixing so the dough doesn’t stick to you. (It’s fine to rewet your hand three or four times while you mix.)
• Reach underneath the dough and grab about one-quarter of it. Gently stretch this section of dough and fold it over the top of the other side of the dough. Repeat three more times with the remaining dough, until the salt and yeast are fully enclosed.
• Use the pincer method (Using a pincerlike grip with your thumb and forefinger, squeeze big chunks of dough and then tighten your grip to cut through the dough. Do this repeatedly, working through the entire mass of dough. With your other hand, turn the tub while you’re mixing to give your active hand a good angle of attack.), alternating with folding the dough to fully integrate the ingredients. Cut and fold, cut and fold. The target dough temperature at the end of the mix is 77 to 78 degrees.
• Fold. This dough needs 1 fold. It’s best to apply the fold 30 to 60 minutes after mixing. After folding, lightly coat the dough and the bottom of the tub with olive oil to help prevent sticking. When the dough is about double its original volume, about 6 hours after mixing, it’s ready to be divided.
• Divide. Moderately flour a work surface about 2 feet wide. With floured hands, gently ease the dough out of the tub. With your hands still floured, pick up the dough and ease it back down onto the work surface in a somewhat even shape. Dust the entire top of the dough with flour, then cut it into 5 equal-size pieces with a dough knife or plastic dough scraper. Each piece should weigh about 340 grams; you can eyeball it or use a scale.
• Shape the dough into balls. Shape each piece of dough into a medium-tight round, working gently and being careful not to degas the dough.
• Refrigerate. Put the dough balls on a lightly floured baking sheet, leaving space between them to allow for expansion. Lightly oil or flour the tops, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to make the dough easier to shape.

To use the dough for pizza (as I did), you can use the technique you are most used to such as placing the crust on a pizza stone, pizza pan or a baking pan. As for shaping the ball of dough into a crust though, here are Forkish’s instructions:

• Remove the dough ball from the refrigerator, put it on the floured work surface, and gently pat it down a bit to coat the bottom with flour. Leaving about 1 inch of the outer rim undeflated, punch down the middle, then flip the dough over and repeat.
• Using both hands, grab the rim and lift so the dough hangs down vertically. Let gravity pull the rest of the dough down and stretch it. Run the rim between your hands, working all the way around the circumference of the dough several times.
• Next, make two fists and position them just inside the rim, with the dough still hanging vertically. Gently stretch and turn the dough repeatedly, still letting the bottom of the dough pull down, expanding the surface. Keep a close eye on the thickness of the dough. You want it thin, but you don’t want it to tear or develop holes. If you end up with a small tear, don’t panic – it’s OK to patch it.
• Spread the dough on the floured peel and run your hands around the perimeter to shape it into a round and work out the kinks.

Reprinted with permission from Ten Speed Press

What’s your favorite way to top a pizza when you’re making it at home? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast by Ken Forkish. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column. 

And now we’d like to congratulate Hao whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won him/her a copy of Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. Hao, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew. 

 

By Julie Cohen

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10 Responses to “By the Book: Ken Forkish’s Same-Day Straight Pizza Dough”

  1. Elaine Says:
    November 20th, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Our favorite is Stromboli. Pizza dough covered with a homemade garlic spread and topped with our favorite veggies and cheese, then rolled and baked. Delicious.

  2. Dawn Says:
    November 20th, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I like to use up all of my on-hand veggies for my home made pizza nights. Of course, my 7 year old insists on pepperoni, so we’ll heap on generous amounts of turkey pepperoni to make her happy.

  3. Andy Says:
    November 21st, 2012 at 8:44 am

    It’s difficult to imagine a bad way to top a pizza which, of course, is exactly what makes pizza rank so highly on everyone’s list of favorite foods. In our house, we have a long-standing tradition that dates back to a time when I was single living in a house full of dudes who would gather assemble on Sundays to order pizzas together. Since then, I’ve met my wife and Pizza Sundays have become a little more refined, though all of the old roommates still come together. Since early in our dating relationship, my wife and I have loved creating pizzas from scratch. Perhaps pizza’s best quality is versatility, and that’s one reason our tradition has endured over the years. So whether we’re in the mood for a thai dish, mexican cuisine, BBQ, or something more traditional, one thing’s a given: the ingredients will be molded into a pizza.

    My favorite thus far was a deep dish mexican pizza with a cornmeal crust that included G&W sausage, pulled pork, onions, corn, black beans, gouda cheese, special spicy sauce, and topped with avocado. But our bread and butter is sausage, mushroom, and green peppers. It’s just hard to beat.

  4. Lisa Says:
    November 22nd, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Growing up, our family made pizza most Sundays. I don’t remember the eating nearly as much as the making. My Mom would make the dough in the morning and it would rise throughout the day. My father would shred the mozzarella as my sisters and I fought over the ends. My Dad would roll the dough out with his “special pizza rollers” and stretch it into the pans.
    Nowadays, my tastes run simple. A thin crust topped with homemade tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil. There is also a lot of finger crossing hoping the pizza can be easily removed from the pizza stone. :)

  5. Steve Says:
    November 22nd, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I learned very early on as the grandson of immigrants from Italy that simplicity is best when it comes to pizza. My grandfather, who came through Ellis Island with little more than a few possesions and an encyclopedic knowledge of how food was prepared and enjoyed in the old country, would sit me down in the kitchen at four or five years old and show me different ways that Italian food was prepared in Calabria. I would eagerly watch him as he prepared a simple pizza with just the right amount of olive oil, just the right balance of grated cheese, and, perhaps the thing I still look forward to most on a simple pizza, a bit of cured salami that had been purchased at the Italian deli. I remember well going to the Italian deli, my grandfather speaking pleasantly in Italian to the nice man behind the counter, smelling the fantastic cured meats, and going back to Grandpa’s kitchen to make our pizza together. I know that many people think just about anything can be used on a pizza topping, and that does speak to pizza’s versatility. But sometimes, it is the simple and classic that makes our food delicious. That and the pleasant memories that food can evoke in us all.

  6. Joe Says:
    November 23rd, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    We love to use chunks of spicy sausage and carmelized onions with a small amount of marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella.

  7. Katie Says:
    November 23rd, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Fresh mozarella, basil, garlic cloves, and tomatoes. Simple and fresh. Yum!

  8. Cherie Says:
    November 23rd, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Some of the best combinations come by just topping whatever is leftover in the fridge and freezer! A smorgasbord of sorts!

  9. Sarah Says:
    November 24th, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    We play with pizza pretty often. We like to make a white pizza with garlic, olive oil, ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Sometimes we add pesto to it. We have also made a zucchini pesto that we used for the sauce, then topped with sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and Parmesan. Now I want pizza!

  10. Steve Says:
    November 25th, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I learned very early on as the grandson of immigrants from Italy that simplicity is best when it comes to pizza. My grandfather, who came through Ellis Island with little more than a few possesions and an encyclopedic knowledge of how food was prepared and enjoyed in the old country, would sit me down in the kitchen at four or five years old and show me different ways that Italian food was prepared in Calabria. I would eagerly watch him as he prepared a simple pizza with just the right amount of olive oil, just the right balance of grated cheese, and, perhaps the thing I still look forward to most on a simple pizza, a bit of cured salami that had been purchased at the Italian deli. I remember well going to the Italian deli, my grandfather speaking pleasantly in Italian to the nice man behind the counter, smelling the fantastic cured meats, and going back to Grandpa’s kitchen to make our pizza together. I know that many people think just about anything can be used on a pizza topping, and that does speak to pizza’s versatility. But sometimes, it is the simple and classic that makes our food delicious. That and the pleasant memories that food can evoke in us all.

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