Finally! Pizza at home that tastes like pizza from Italy (or Roberta’s)!
You know when you make pizza at home and you convince yourself that it tastes like pizza, but secretly inside you know it’s just flatbread? And on one hand you’re proud of yourself because you made your own dough, and got flour all over the kitchen, and you even managed to shape into a kinda-circle, but on the other hand, you’re severely annoyed because the recipe promised authentic Italian pizza at home, and what you’re left with is hard, take-the-roof-off-your-mouth flatbread, with a wet, limp center, and flour all over your kitchen. So you eat this sad pizza and shrug it off vowing never to make pizza at home again.
Hey, stop! That was me! I’ve made my own pizza dough and messed up the kitchen all in the name of DIY – and vowed never to make pizza at home again.
But then I saw this Serious Eats video with no-knead bread wizard Jim Lahey making charred, puffy pizza at home with Kenji Lopez-Alt, and thought: I must make this! And if this doesn’t work, I’m through. Roberta’s or bust.
Let’s cut to the chase. Charred, puffy edges. Thin, crisp base – this is the authentic Italian pizza at home recipe of your dreams.
First, you make a no-knead pizza dough. I’ve been making Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread for years, and regularly have a batch of Artisan Bread in 5’s no-knead dough in my fridge. This is such beautiful, easy dough to work with. I’ve read people have problems with it, like it’s too sticky, too dry, too wet. Luckily I’ve never had a problem with no-knead dough, and I’m definitely no baker.
Lahey’s no-knead pizza dough is set and forget stuff. Mix flour-salt-yeast-water and leave on the counter for 18 hours. What you don’t use, shape into balls, wrap and refrigerate for up to three days. What I did: I aggravated my back, couldn’t move and left the dough on the counter for 26 hours. I managed to shape it into four balls and pop them in the fridge. The next night, slightly more agile, I made two pizzas. The pizzas were so good, so crisp and puffy and perfect, we had the other two pizzas for lunch the next day.
Secondly, listen to Lahey when he says be gentle with the dough. After 26 hours, and then time in the fridge, these wonderful gas bubbles become trapped in the dough. His knuckle-stretch method locks those bubbles in, creating that puffy, airy edge that chars near the broiler.
And finally, get your oven really hot – hottest hot – and broil your pizza: it will be ready in 4-5 minutes. What I did: I don’t have a pizza stone (I have an ice cream maker, a garganelli board and a top-of-the-line cold press juicer, but I just can’t do a pizza stone) – and for the life of me I couldn’t get the pizza from my semolina-dusted baking sheet to my preheated tawa, so I improvised. For the first batch, I cooked the pizzas on the cooled tawa for 4 minutes, until the edges were charred and puffy, then transferred the tawa with the pizza to the hob and finished the slightly undercooked center over high heat. This was ready in 2 minutes.
For the second batch, a slight tweak, cooking smaller, four-slice pizzas in my cast iron pan, then transferring the pan to the stovetop and finishing the base over high heat for 2 minutes. Either way, the total cooking time is 5-7 minutes.
The toppings were as good as the pizza dough:
* Homemade marinara sauce with bacon, oyster mushrooms and mozzarella
* Butter-braised spring onions with thinly sliced roasted potatoes, thinly sliced shallots, olives and mozzarella, topped with cilantro after it came out of the oven.
This is it: pizza heaven. No need to ever call for delivery again.