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January 12, 2018

Nancy Silverton’s Pizza Dough & How To Go About It

by Julieta Lucca

Pizza dough is one of those things that you either know how to make well or you don’t. No amount of toppings can hide a terrible pizza base.

I had been making incredibly average homemade pizza for months when it hit me. There was no reason why I had to put up with it anymore. There was better pizza out there for me that didn’t require eating take-out every weekend. I just had to look for the recipe in the right place.

I first heard of Nancy Silverton when I watched her episode on Netflix’s iconic show “Chef’s Table”. I became enamoured with her work, her passion for bread and overall determination. I knew there and then that her pizza dough recipe would be unlike any other. And, it is.

Have you ever tried sourdough pizza? This one is particularly similar to it in the way the crust puffs up with pockets of air. In terms of taste, sourdough pizza has a more mature flavour because of the use of wild yeast in the mother dough (sourdough starter) while this one has a stodgier, floury taste, incredibly tasty nonetheless.

This dough is also great for a homemade calzone or pizza bread. Just sprinkle with crushed garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and a touch of Parmigiano for the ultimate pizza bread.

Let me take you step by step on one of (if not THE) best pizza dough recipes you’ll ever make at home.

ingredients

🕑 5 hours

  • makes 6 medium pizzas
  • 625 ml warm water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 740g bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon dark rye flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons wheat germ
  • 1 ½ teaspoons mild-flavoured honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • olive oil
  • semolina, for dusting

method

1. Begin by placing the 425 ml of warm water and the yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix together well with a fork or whisk and let it rest for a few minutes. This will allow the yeast to dissolve and come back to life.

2. Meanwhile, you can weigh the rest of your ingredients. Continue by adding 370g of the bread flour, followed by the rye flour and wheat germ. Stir everything together until it’s well combined and cover with a piece of plastic wrap, securely tied with kitchen twine to the rim of the bowl. Set the dough aside for  1 ½ hours at room temperature (ideally 20-22C).

3. Uncover the bowl and keep the plastic wrap and twine for the next resting time. Add the remaining 370g of bread flour, the remaining 200 ml of water and the honey to the dough.

4. Place the bowl on the base of the standing mixer fitted with the dough hook and knead the dough on a low speed for 2 minutes.

5. Add the salt while still kneading and continue to knead for a further 8 minutes on a medium speed.

6. At this point, the dough will begin pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If your dough appears to be excessively sticky and wet add a teaspoon of flour. Remember the dough is meant to be slightly sticky but still manageable. Resist the urge to add a lot of flour as this alters the dough completely resulting in less than average pizza bases.

7. While the standing mixer is still kneading, grease a large bowl with olive oil. Stop the machine and transfer the dough to the greased bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and further secure it by tying the twine around the rim of the bowl. Let the dough rise for 45 minutes.

8. Remove the plastic wrap cover and rub olive oil on your hands so the dough doesn’t stick. Carefully pull the sides away from the bowl and fold the edges towards the centre. One side at a time. Repeat twice. Then turn the dough over with the folded sides down and cover once again with the plastic wrap. Let it rise for a further 45 minutes.

9. Dust your worktop with a little bit of flour and tip the dough out onto it. Divide the dough into 5 pieces, feel free to weigh them so they all result in same size pizzas. Grab each piece and tuck the edges under itself so it becomes a uniformly-sized ball. Cover the balls with a clean dishtowel and let them proof for 1 hour.

10. Nancy Silverton recommends using a pizza stone when baking the pizzas to achieve a crispier crust but I find it’s not necessary. If you have one, then use it but I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase one. When you are ready to bake your pizzas, preheat the oven to 250°C and have all your toppings prepared and ready to be used.

11. Sprinkle semolina on your pizza trays and set aside. Flour your worktop once again and grab a dough ball. Tap the centre of the ball with your fingertips so you start to flatten it. Work your way towards the edges forming a crust. Keep going while rotating the disc on the worktop, stretching, pulling, tapping with your fingers. The pizzas bases should be about 8 – 10 inches wide (20 – 25 cm).

12. To make the pizzas, simply add your preferred toppings and bake until the cheese has melted (if using) and the crust is puffed and golden, this should take about 10 – 14 minutes.

 

This recipe appears in Nancy Silverton’s

The Mozza Cookbook: Recipes from Los Angeles’s favourite Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria.

 

The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton with Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreño. Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. All Rights Reserved.

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