America's Test Kitchen Pizza Crust...This version of Pizza Margherita comes from America's Test Kitchen Baking cookbook. I shouldn't really call it Pizza Margherita because, I added some thinly sliced mushrooms, some thinly sliced onion and some chopped bell peppers. But , you can do a classical one by sticking to only cheese, tomato and basil. I have to admit that I changed a few things. Ok, I just used the dough recipe and added my own toppings:) ...
I really liked this pizza...I noticed that the leftovers were even better. I had never used a food processor to make bread doughs ...always trusted my Kitchen Aid to do the task. But, I must admit this dough fared very well and I liked the fact that it worked! I was also intrigued with the recipe in that it called for a cup of cake flour. The dough came out crusty and chewy and kind of light ...I really don't know if the cake flour was the reason. I will have to try it again without the cake flour and just do a substitution. 1 cup cake flour= 7/8 flour + 2 TBS cornstarch.
Recently, I have been using my pizza stone quite often. I really am becoming a firm believer that the stone makes a huge difference in the outcome of the crust ...be it bread or pizza. Well, here is the recipe with my own variation. Hope you enjoy...
Note: This has become my favorite pizza crust by far... love the light texture, and slight chew. Better than Papa Johns's:)! Here is a couple of new photos...
Dough Ingredients : will make 2 (10-12 inch) pizzas
1 3/4 - 2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour*
2 tsps sugar
1 1/2 tsp table salt (not kosher)
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast or rapid rise
1 cup warm water (110 degF)
*I normally use AP flour & substitute 2 TBS of the flour with 2 TBS cornstarch
Topping: (my version...but you can use what you prefer)
pizza sauce( I like to cook mine down a bit so it isn't too watery)
1-2 Roma tomatoes sliced thinly and patted dry
thinly sliced onion
diced bell peppers
thinly sliced mushrooms
3-4 garlic cloves minced
2- 3 TBS oil for brushing the edge of the pizza and to saute some garlic
kosher salt to sprinkle on top of baked pizza
fresh or dried basil, for sprinkling on top
Directions for the Dough:
1. Pulse 1 3/4 cups of the AP flour, 1 cup cake flour, sugar, table salt, and yeast in a food processor (fitted with a dough blade if possible( I used the regular blade) to combine.
2. With the processor running, pour the water through the feed tube and process until a rough ball forms, about 30- 40 seconds.
3. Let the dough rest for 2 minutes, then process for 30 sec. longer. If after 30 seconds, the dough is sticky and clings to the blade, add the remaining 1/4 flour 1 TBS at a time as needed. (I noticed that I didn't need to add the extra flour).
4.Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and shape it into a smooth , tight ball.
5. Place the dough in a large lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with a greased plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size~ 1 to 1 1/2 hrs.
6. In the meantime, in a skillet on low, saute some minced garlic in 2-3 TBS of olive oil. Keep the heat on low so as not to burn. You want a mellow garlic. This step was my version so you can skip it if you want.
7. Adjust oven to the lower middle rack , place a baking stone on the rack and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Let the baking stone heat for 30 minutes( but no longer than 1 hr~so heat it about halfway through the rise time of the dough)
8. Line a rimless (or inverted) baking sheet with parchment paper (this helps tremendously!). I used a pizza peel instead of the baking sheet.
9. Turn the dough out unto a lightly floured counter, divide it into 2 equal pieces and cover with greased plastic wrap.
10. Working with one piece, press and roll the dough into a 12 inch round on a lightly floured counter. (I noticed if you just press and roll it directly on the parchment is saves you a step from transferring the dough.)
11.Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper and reshape as needed. Make an indented rim around the whole pizza.
12. Lightly brush the dough with the oil and garlic. Keep the garlic in the inner circle of the dough trying not to put any garlic on the rim of the pizza dough~ so as not to burn the garlic in the oven.
13.The original recipe had you par bake the dough for 5 minutes. I didn't ...
I also let the dough rest for 5- 10 minutes so that it puffs up a bit after all the rolling. Again, the original recipe doesn't have you do this.
14. Sprinkle some cheese, add toppings and slide the parchment and pizza onto the hot baking stone.
15. Bake for 8-12 minutes total. Depending how thick or thin you spread out the dough. I noticed mine was good at 10 minutes.
16. Transfer pizza unto cutting board sprinkle with basil some kosher salt(this helps a great deal~ it brings out the flavors).
17. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil. ( you can omit if you like)
You will notice the bottom crust of the pizza dough is nicely browned and crisp~due to the baking stone.
If you are baking both pizzas on the same day, let the baking stone reheat for 5 minutes before putting the second dough. I put my second piece of dough in the refrigerator and used it the next day. Just let it come to room temp before using it and let it rise a bit.