Apologies. That was uncalled for. But seriously, WTF. I’ve made this recipe a number of times but TWICE something very strange has happened. As I stretched the dough, thousands of tiny holes appeared. This time it was salvageable. Last time, it literally disintegrated in my hands. You can see the beginnings of the hole problem in the dough picture. Why, Signor Batali, does your dough treat me this way? Did it overproof? Was it kept too warm? Should I have stayed with white wine instead of the Vermouth? Do I not have the loving touch?
Tonight’s pie was topped with whatever I could find in the refrigerator – since I totally forgot to thaw the Italian sausage (and couldn’t be bothered when I finally remembered). Leftover pizza sauce was the base for one pie. Leftover pizza sauce spiked with Harissa was the base for the other (in retrospect, not sure I’d do that again). Bits and bobs from the cheese drawer: the end of a hunk of gruyere, a smidge of extra-aged gouda, the last of the feta crumbles, and the bottom third of a bag of Tillamook Italian blend cheese. The only other toppings I could find were herbs – fresh thyme, parsley and chives. Oh, and the obligatory red pepper flakes.
Let’s talk a sec about the oven. You do let it preheat, yes? To at least 450 degrees? Until the buzzer goes off? I know many people let it preheat for an hour, but I’m not that patient and truthfully, I feel like it’s wasteful. So anyway, I do let it preheat for awhile. And I can’t go any higher than 450 in this tiny condo or the fire alarm will go nuts (curse you – hard wired alarm system!). And most importantly, I have a pizza stone. Love it. Cannot believe I lived without it. My friend, you must buy one. But if you do, make sure it’s substantial. No ridges or edges. Preferably square – something you can slide a pizza peel onto. And whatever you do, don’t ever, EVER put a frozen pizza on it (and if you do, do not come crying to me when your stone breaks into hundreds of tiny pieces – not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…)
Without further interruption, here’s the recipe for the dough
• 1/4 cup light red wine or white wine
• 3/4 cup warm water
• 1 package yeast (This is where I went way wrong the first time – I used 2 packages. Don’t do that).
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 1/2 cups double zero flour and 1/2 cup AP flour, sifted together
Combine the wine, water, and yeast in a large bowl and stir until dissolved. Add the honey, salt, and the olive oil and mix thoroughly. Add 1 cup of the flour and mix with a wooden spoon to make a loose batter. Add 2 more cups of the flour and stir with the spoon for 2-3 minutes to incorporate as much flour as possible.
Bring the dough together by hand and turn out onto a floured board or marble surface. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes, until you have made a smooth, firm dough. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Set aside to rise in the warmest part of the kitchen for 45 minutes.
Cut the risen dough into 4 equal pieces (an interruption: please, I never get 4 pieces. I get two) and knead each portion into a round. Cover again and let rest 15 minutes.
Shape, top and bake for about 10 minutes at 450 degrees.