Le Mani in Pizza
Tips for perfecting your pizza:
Choose the right flour: Our pizza doughs are made with all-purpose or “00” flours. All-purpose, the higher protein option, produces more loft during rising and baking, and a chewier crust. “00,” a low-protein flour, makes a more supple dough that's easier to stretch and works well for thinner crusts. The flours can be blended. Look for “00” flour at Italian specialty markets and online.
Add extra water for a superior crust: For a crust with a puffy cornicione, or edge, slightly increase the water in your dough by the teaspoonful to produce a sticky, rather than tacky, dough. Wetter dough is more difficult to handle, so develop a feel for dough-making before experimentin with moisture ratios.
Choose the right rise: With little yeast and a two- to three-day fermentation, our make-ahead, slow-rise dough for the Pizza Vegetariana d'Estate develops deliciously deep flavor with surprisingly little fuss. Our same-day dough uses more yeast and a faster fermentation, letting you make a more impromptupie. The doughs are interchangeable for all of our pizza recipes, except for the thick-crust pie.
Give the dough a good stretch: Pizza dough can be stretched by hand or with the help of a rolling pin. We’re partial to hand-shaping, which imparts classic blisters and bumps on the crust. On a lightly floured work surface, use your fingers to press and “dimple” the dough to a circular shape (for 5- to 7-inch pies, this step just about gets you there), then drape the circle over your closed fists (thumbs tucked in). Move your hands up and down, gently turning and tugging the dough in an outward manner, then hold the dough between your fingers and let gravity stretch it further. If you prefer to use a pin, roll dimpled dough outward from the center, close to but not over the edge, rotating the dough a quarter turn and repeating the rolling and rotating as you go.
Employ a peel and a stone: These two classic pizzaiolo tools help make our pies golden and delicious. A peel—essentially a large wooden or metal paddle—aids in slipping the pie onto, and off of, the hot stone. A rimless baking sheet can stand in for a peel. Various non-stone baking techniques exist, but they don’t produce the nice char you get with a stone.
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