A friend of mine worked in a department store, typically in women’s clothing, and that’s how I learned the polite way to refer to women’s undergarments was not lingerie, not underwear, not panties, but foundations. Because let’s face it, if you’ve got ill-fitting undergarments on, regardless of your body type or what you look like naked, bad underwear sags or pinches and gives you lumps and bumps in all the places you don’t want. Foundations are important.
When you find that one, ahem, foundation garment that fits just right, lays flat, doesn’t pinch, doesn’t create visible lines, you buy five of them, hand wash them and never, never, never put them in the dryer. You stick with that one style until the end. Around here, the foundation of good pizza is Kenji’s NY Style pizza dough.
I like that this dough is the middle ground between turning the dough making process into some kind of meditation and whipping together a fast-rising, but ultimately flat-tasting dough. This dough is minimal effort, high return.
That’s not to say there aren’t other good pizza dough recipes out there, but for my money, Kenji’s dough is fast, easy and delicious. No need to plan three days ahead and make a poolish one day, the dough the next and then let it sit for a day.
No, let’s just weigh the dry ingredients, throw them in a food processor, add the water and olive oil, and let it beat itself up for 30 seconds. Divide it up into three dough balls, throw it in the fridge, go to work and come back eight to 10 hours later that much closer to pizza.
People too often disregard the importance of a good crust. If after you’ve eaten a pizza, you have crust edges scattered around your plate, it’s not the right recipe. You shouldn’t be able to slap some sauce, cheese and pepperoni on a piece of cardboard and not be able to tell the difference. Flavor is important.
Kenji’s recipe builds flavor by letting it develop as the dough cold-ferments in the fridge. My only amendment to the recipe has been to further boost the flavor by adding 2 t. of diastatic malt powder, an idea that came from Tony Gemignani’s book. Aside from its flavor-boosting powers, it also purports to extend the life of the dough.
And, I have no idea how to wrap up a post analogizing underwear and pizza dough. So, I’ll just stop there. Now, the recipe.
Kenji's NY-Style Pizza DoughPrint Recipe
- 22.5 oz. bread flour (King Arthur's preferred)
- .35 oz. yeast
- .35 oz. granulated sugar
- .4 oz. kosher salt
- 2 t. diastatic malt powder
- 14 oz. lukewarm water
- 3 T. olive oil
- bread flour for dusting your board
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Transfer to the workbowl of a food processor.
Combine the olive oil and water in a measuring cup and stir to break up the oil molecules. With the food processor running, pour the water & oil in a steady stream until the dough forms a ball.
Let the processor run for 30 seconds.
Dust your board or countertop with flour. Form the dough into a rough log shape and divide it into 3 even sections. Form each section into a ball and put them into individual covered containers. Refrigerate for 1-3 days.