Special equipment: Rubber spatula Measuring spoons Medium-size mixing bowl Wooden peel Metal peel Pizza cutter Metal dough scraper or dough cutter Thermometer 2-inch pastry brush Rolling pin (barrel pin with no handles works best) Rectangular ceramic pizza baking stone, optional Heavy duty whisk (thick wire)
To allow for more space, remove the top rack from the oven. Place the pizza stone, if using on the lower rack. Cook's Note: A cookie sheet can be used if you do not have a pizza stone but you do not have to preheat it.
Preheat the oven to 500 to 550 degrees F. Heat up the pizza stone for at least 30 minutes.
Choose an open workspace; counter or large cutting board.
Pour the warm water into the mixing bowl. Add the yeast and turbinado sugar and whisk together. Continue mixing and slowly add 4 cups flour. Mix completely. The dough should be very thick and lump free. Remove the whisk and set aside.
Place the remaining 1 cup flour on the countertop. With your hand, form a circular depression in the middle of the flour, leaving some flour on the bottom. With a rubber spatula, transfer the dough to the flour.
Using the heels of your hands, slowly knead the flour and dough together. Scrape under the dough (with the dough scraper) and add more flour underneath as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking. Add more flour as needed. Work the dough by hand so that it's not too loose or sticky. Knead in 1 teaspoon sea salt.
Continue kneading the dough for 3 minutes. Cut the dough in half with the dough scraper and examine the interior; if the dough is too soft, the "wall" will slump down. In this case, continue kneading and slowly add more flour. The dough is ready when the interior wall remains upright and vertical. If too much flour is added, the dough becomes unworkable.
Cut the dough in 4 equal portions and shape each into a ball. With the pastry brush and olive oil, coat a tray or plate with a light coating of olive oil. Place the dough balls on it and paint each dough ball with a light layer of olive oil. Allow the dough to rest (proof) at room temperature for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
To form the pizza, roll out the dough ball on a floured surface with the rolling pin. Sprinkle additional flour on top of the ball to keep it from sticking. To make a round pizza, continuously flip the pizza "skin" over and over as you roll it. The crust will get thinner and thinner as you go. Add a little flour to both sides if needed to avoid any sticking. Fix any holes by pinching the dough back together.
When the pizza is about 14-inches wide, rub a micro layer of flour across the top of the skin, then flip it over and onto the wooden peel. If you do not have a peel, use a cookie sheet. Shake the peel to make sure the skin slides easily. If not, add additional flour and repeat.
Decorate the pizza with a thin layer (1/8-inch) of quality sauce. Leave a 1-inch border (the cornicione or crust) at the outer edge. Distribute a light layer of your favorite cheeses, including mozzarella on top. Add the precooked meats or raw vegetables, if using on top of the cheese. Garnish the pizza with a pinch of freshly chopped parsley and dried Italian herbs. Overall, the fewer the toppings the better: less is more.
Carefully pat down all of the toppings so they won't slide around and test-shake the pizza to make sure it will slide off the peel. Shake the peel again a bit as you slide the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone. Cook the pizza for 8 to 15 minutes or until the cornicione is golden brown. Remove the pizza with the metal peel and let it cool for a minute or two before cutting and serving.
If you are using a cookie sheet, it is not necessary to preheat it. Paint a light layer of olive oil on top of the sheet, and place the skin on it. Then add sauce, cheese and toppings.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Marshall Jett and Errin Byrd, Veraci Pizza