1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons Sugar
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
4 1/2 cups High gluten bread flourthis may be harder to find, but it is key for a great pizza dough
Everyone knows that New York pizza is something special and by the time that I had been cooking in professional kitchens for twenty-two years, there was one thing that I was never able to cook successfully, a culinary task that evaded my every attempt: good New York-Style pizza dough, and yes I am big enough to admit it.
If you are sitting there thinking how ridiculous of an issue this is, let me just say that if pizza did not exist, my wife and children would probably have starved on the nights that I worked. And for that, there is still a bit of shame in letting this ability escape me for so long.
The biggest culprit was the flour; the second, and probably the most important, was the patience needed to develop the famous New York-Style pizza dough.
Have you ever noticed in many of the recipes you have seen for stretchy doughs like pizza, that they list all-purpose flour? Shame on those marketers. Your task is much more difficult when forced to use AP flour since the much-needed gluten is less prevalent in consumer-store or AP flours. Gluten is the primary protein found in flour, and when kneaded, the gluten becomes tough, or rubbery, and this causes the stretchy nature of this type of dough. The gluten web that is produced by working the dough traps any gasses that will be produced by the fermentation processes during the proofing and baking stages. This type of flour is great in aforementioned pizza and foccaccia.
As for the yeast, you can use compressed, which is what I prefer, as it gives more of a pungent flavor. It may seem slight to some critics, and the cake yeast can be difficult to find, so dry works as well. You can also research sourdough starters, which can add a nice punch to the flavor, but if you constantly use a starter from previous batches, described below, the flavor will develop over time.
The second part of this process, mentioned briefly above, is the most important, and it takes time. When you finish your first batch of dough, save a chunk (your starter with which you start your next batch) and keep it in the refrigerator if you are going to make a new batch soon.
You can also wrap and freeze the starter if it will be a good bit of time before you make a new batch. Add this to the new batch, and continue this cycle for eternity. Eventually, the flavors will develop, giving you a nice ‘proprietary’ flavor on your own New York Pie Dough. In my few years of making pizza dough, I have learned that this step is the most important, and it is why the many pie shops in New York all have different tasting pizzas.
How to make Famous New York-Style Pizza Dough At Home?
- Set the yeast in the warm water for 5 minutes, or until it starts to ‘bloom’.
- Add the remaining ingredients until they are just combined.
- Place a wet cloth over the bowl and let sit for 20 minutes. This step, known as autolyse, allows the starches to hydrate and better develop the dough as you proceed.
- Knead the dough for at least ten minutes, or until the dough is stretchy and does not rip when your finger pushes down on it.
- Put the dough in a warm area and let sit until it doubles in size.
- Punch it down, knead for three minutes, and let it rise until again doubled.
- Punch down again and remove a nice chunk to store for the next batch.
- For 41 cm (16 inch) pies, separate into 560 gram (18 oz.) pieces. If you make multiple batches, these can be frozen very successfully if wrapped or sealed well. Just make sure that you give your starter ample time to thaw before you add it to the next batch.
Tip: check out one of the best homemade pizza sauce recipes that you’ll ever see on the web, which goes incredibly well with the New York-Style pizza dough.