“The Secret to Perfect Pizza Dough”

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I’ve always been a baker. For as long as I can remember I was baking by my mom’s or grandmother’s side…cooking came later. Typically, I obsess about the best recipes, reading as many as I can before I begin. Did I mention I own over 2500 cookbooks? Anyway, everyone loves my pizza and focaccia so I’ve added the recipes I use.

I’m convinced the secret to perfect pizza is all about the dough and more specifically, about technique than the actual dough recipe. That said less (ingredients), is more. Use your own recipe, if you’d like; I’ve been using the Wolfgang Puck recipe for years. The secret to perfect pizza is in letting the dough rest overnight in the refrigerator. That’s it…that’s the technique. That, and a very hot oven and pizza stone. I guarantee your pizza will taste better for the 18 hour cool fermentation.

Make the dough, put it in the refrigerator overnight; leave it 12 to 18 (preferable) hours. I learned that technique at Johnson & Wales with renowned bread and pizza master, Peter Reinhart, here’s his blog. He’s the author of many books, one of which is American Pie. His dough recipe is good, yet easy. His topping ideas are fantastic. You may use these toppings, of course, on either pizza or focaccia. Get creative!

If you’re in or near Charlotte, you should check out the Chef’s Choice classes here; Peter teaches at J&W Charlotte. The pictures are from the class I attended. He covers both pizza and focaccia in the Saturday morning class.

One of my favorite recipes in his book and class is Focaccia with Onion Marmalade, Blue Cheese, & Walnuts. I’ve included the recipe here for the “overall” recipe. That said, Cook’s Illustrated has, in my opinion, a wonderful focaccia dough recipe. I love the addition of potato…it makes the dough very moist. Notice the difference between the two doughs in the pictures above…focaccia is much wetter and doesn’t require the fussy broiler setting that pizza needs.

I’ll write more about toppings in another post someday….

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