I was about to email this pizza dough recipe to my friend Emily. She has access to a wood burning pizza oven. I figured that if I could make amazing pizza in my simple kitchen oven that she'd be able to make AH-mazing pizza in a legit pizza oven. I could almost see the bubbles and the slightly charred edges of the pizzas she and her husband would be able to make and eat. But here's the thing, Emily lives in New Haven, Connecticut, and has access to some of the best pizza in the United States. A good pizza dough might not be as vital to her as it is, to say, me, who lives in a pizza dead zone. As I was typing up the recipe and email I realized that there are most definitely other pizza dead zones - arguably anywhere outside of Naples, Rome, New York, and New Haven - and that you might live in one of them. If you do, then this pizza dough is for you.
This recipe is from the well known pizza spot in Brooklyn called Roberta's and was featured in the New York Times a couple months ago. Roberta's pizzas are made in a wood-fired oven, but they adapted the dough recipe so it would produce good results at home in a normal oven. We don't have a pizza stone or a peel (the sheet of wood that helps you transfer the pizza to the oven) and we still ended up with great pizza. The dough rises effortlessly to a soft a chewy state. If you shape an outer ring of crust that's slightly more doughy than the middle, you will be pleased by the puffy ring of deliciousness bordering the cheesy middle. Even though it's weighted down by sauce a an ample amount of cheese, the pizza is light. The crust is full of air bubbles, which separates this pizza from the dense store bought variety.
The dough is easy. You need only a few ingredients and you can kneed the dough by hand in a few minutes. (Following the initial kneading you need to let it rise for 3-4hrs.) The only slightly tricky part is that the ingredients need to be weighed. This success of this recipe is not left to the variety of ways you and I might measure a cup of flour, no, it's 153 grams of all purpose flour and 153 grams of type 00 flour. You will need a scale. It's a good investment these days as many recipes are being converted to weight measurements. And even if you only buy it so you can make this pizza it will be a good investment.
I think I forgot to mention that I LOVE pizza. It's my favorite food. Given a choice of a last meal, I'd pick pizza. I grew up on what most would consider good New York pizza, except it came out of Connecticut, out of a tiny pizza restaurant called The Pizza Post. It's tucked in a little shopping center, behind the gas station and next to a nail salon and an ice cream shop. That's my way of saying it's nothing fancy and it's a bit of a hidden gem. They make pizzas with bubbly crusts and thin chewy middles. It's pizza perfection. From The Pizza Post I went on to spend nine years eating pizza in New Haven. I was a student almost that whole time so I ate a lot of pizza. I don't know if it's widely known or not, but New Haven is home to some incredible pizza. There's Pepe's and Sally's in the Italian neighborhood Wooster Square and Modern Apizza on State Street. Most New Havenites have allegiances to one or the other. Zach and I are Pepe's people. The thin crust pizzas are served on large baking sheets, cut into rectangular pieces. The middle is light and floppy, but not at all soggy, while the outer crust is slightly crispy on the edges, but soft and doughy in the middle. It's worth the wait in the line that stretches around the block every evening. (We quickly learned that if you order a pizza to-go in person, it will be ready in fifteen minutes.)
Roberta's Pizza Dough
(If you live in Zürich, I found 00 flour at Jelmoli)
and once you've got the dough here are some pizzas to try....
The Green and White
Oh, and I'm also curious if any of you have the Roberta's cookbook and what you think? It's sitting in my Amazon shopping cart and I'm wondering if it would be great to have around or just more cookbook clutter.
And please share your favorite pizza dough recipe, I'm always curious to try a new one.