This recipe from superstar baker and cookbook author Erin Jeanne McDowell’s latest collection, “Savory Baking” (Harvest, $40), is here for all of your pizza needs. Quick pizza night? Weekend pie project? Round and personal-sized or rectangular pan?
There’s even an easy hack for making that pizza dough ahead of time: reduce the yeast to 2 grams or 1/2 teaspoon. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours, until visibly puffy, then refrigerate for up to 2 days. (If your ambient room temperature is more than 75 degrees, let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours, until visibly puffy, then refrigerate for the remaining rising time.)
Makes 4 round pizzas or 1 large pan pizza
480 grams/4 cups all-purpose flour
82 grams/½ cup semolina flour
12 grams/1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
5 grams/1¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
3 grams/1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
340 grams/1½ cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
30 grams/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
Extra virgin olive oil
Semolina flour or cornmeal
Sauce of choice, such as tomato or béchamel
Topping(s) of choice
Grated or shredded cheese(s) of choice
To mix the dough by hand: In a large bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, sugar, salt and yeast to combine. Add the water and olive oil and mix with a spatula until a smooth dough forms, about 3 minutes.
To mix the dough in a stand mixer: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, sugar, salt and yeast on low speed to combine, about 30 seconds. Add the water and olive oil and mix until a smooth dough forms, about 2 minutes.
Drizzle a glug of olive oil into a large bowl and use your hands to fully coat the inside of the bowl. Use your oiled hands to transfer the dough to the bowl, turning it over a few times to round it slightly and coat it in oil. Cover the dough and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.
Divide and preshape the dough: For round pizzas, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces (about 240 grams each). Round each piece slightly and transfer to another lightly floured part of the work surface. Cover and rest for 15 minutes. For a pan pizza, generously grease a 13-by 18-inch baking sheet with olive oil. Turn the dough out onto the baking sheet and use your fingertips to stipple the dough into a rough rectangle with a fairly even thickness; it likely won’t reach the edges of the pan yet. Drizzle oil over the surface of the dough and let rest for 15 minutes.
To shape the dough for round pizzas, use your hands to gently stretch each portion of dough into a round about 12 inches wide. Work gently and gradually to stretch the dough — the edges should be thicker than the center, but take care not to tear the center. For pan pizza, use your fingertips to stipple the dough again — it should easily reach almost to the edges of the pan as you work it into a fairly even layer.
Finish and bake the pizza: For round pizzas, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with the racks in the upper and lower thirds. If you have one, place a baking steel or pizza stone on the lower rack; if you don’t have either one, bake the pizza on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Sprinkle a pizza peel generously with semolina or cornmeal. Just before baking, gently transfer one round of the dough to the pizza peel (or to the greased baking sheet). Immediately apply a thin layer of sauce, your desired toppings and cheese. Use the peel to slide the pizza onto the steel or stone (or transfer baking sheet to the oven). Bake until the dough is deeply browned at the edges and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes. Once the crust is set and crisp, if more browning is desired for the topping (or if the bottom or edges of the crust are getting overly dark/crisp), use the peel to slide the pizza onto the rack above it (or transfer the baking sheet to the upper rack) for the remainder of baking.
For the pan pizza, heat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the center. Apply a thin layer of sauce, your desired toppings and cheese to the dough. Transfer the pan to the oven, onto the steel or stone, if using, and bake until the dough is golden at the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.
— From “Savory Baking: Recipes for Breakfast, Dinner and Everything in Between” by Erin Jeanne McDowell (Harvest, $40)