Cold-fermented pizza dough

January 30, 2012 · 1 comment

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cold-ferment-pizza-dough

Super Bowl Week!

(If you hate football, please allow just one or two more mentions of it this week, really, it’s all this city is thinking about. Then I promise to never mention it again, at least until next January, when, back to our normal state of cold, gray days, I am desperate for anything of note appearing in the winter schedule, even if it is hosted back in a hip, steamy city like Miami.)

I’m somewhat partial to chili at Super Bowl Sundays — of course with jazzed-up cornbread as a side. I like a beef and black bean chili, and my friends Alex & Sonja over at A Couple Cooks have a vegetarian version today that sounds hearty and full of flavor, if meat-free is your gig.

But I recently saw a tweet saying that this coming Sunday is the biggest day for pizza sales in the entire year. So apparently, some people like pizza to accompany their commercial-watching the game.

I’ve posted a pizza crust recipe before, but a few months ago switched over to a cold-fermented version after a recommendation from a friend. There are a few reasons I made the switch:

  • I make the dough on Monday, and it sits in the fridge until ready to roll on Saturday. This saves me time on a day usually reserved for squeezing as many kid-free errands as humanly possible.
  • Long-fermenting builds flavor. It also could inhibit phytates in the flour (things that make grains hard to digest).
  • The original recipe makes 6 smallish pizzas, but instead I roll out 4 larger ones. We use two the night we bake, and I par-bake the other two to stick in the freezer. This way I only make pizza dough every other week (my family eats pizza every Saturday, makes for easy menu-planning).

cold-ferment-pizza-peel

So if pizza is on your menu this weekend, you can make your dough today or tomorrow and it’ll be ready by the weekend (to note: the recipe at a minimum requires an overnight ferment, it just won’t have the flavor of a full five days’ dough).

And, since for me it’s not really about the football, let’s all gather next Monday and vote for our favorite commercial (I’ve got great hopes for the new VW / Star Wars spot, and can only hope they’ve not set our expectations too high…)

cold-ferment-pizza-parbaked

………………………………………………….

My crust doesn’t get blackened and quite as puffy as the original — my kids would freak, and I pick my battles. The method for achieving that is interesting though, so if you’re going for artisanal, check the original recipe for instructions. I par-bake my crusts before topping, because I still feel it’s the best way to avoid the soggies. But do what you’re used to, it should work either way.

Note that on the day of baking, your crust will need 2 hours to rise at room temperature before shaping.


Recipe: Cold-ferment pizza dough

: adapted closely from this recipe at Serious Eats

makes (4) 11″ crusts

Ingredients

  • 15 oz (about 3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 5 oz (about 1 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp kosher sea salt (or 2 tsp fine salt)
  • 3/4 tsp instant yeast (or 1 tsp active dry)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 12 liquid oz filtered water

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flours, salt, and yeast. Add the honey and pour the water over. Knead on low speed just until the dough comes together. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Knead on low for another 10 minutes. By the end, the dough should be smooth and elastic, cleaning the bowl. If dough is too dry or sticky, add water or flour, 1 Tbsp at a time.
  3. On a floured surface, divide the dough into 2 pieces (a bench scraper or knife will cut easily through dough). Place each piece in a gallon-sized zipper bag, and seal (leave a little air inside). Place in refrigerator for at least one night, preferably 5 days.
  4. After fermentation, remove dough — divide each piece into 2 more pieces (4 total), and knead into balls. Coat 4 small bowls with oil, place a ball into each, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 475° with pizza stone placed on a rack in the middle of the oven.
  6. Using your hands, press and shape each piece dough into a circle (it helps to lift the dough by the edges, and turn it so the weight pulls the dough down). If dough is too tough, cover and let rest for another 10 minutes while you work on other pieces. You can also roll out the dough, but it will be tougher.
  7. One at a time, place each shaped dough onto a piece of parchment paper, and slide onto the hot stone using a peel or inverted cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 4 minutes, or until puffy. Remove from oven, and either top with your choice of toppings (return to oven for another 5-7 minutes), or let cool completely, wrap tightly, and freeze for future use (allow to thaw before topping).

Copyright © Katy Carter, 2011.

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{ 1 comment }

Melissa January 30, 2012 at 11:27 am

I like this. I think we are going to have a designated pizza night too. Thanks!

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