The dough for this recipe is based on the Charles and Michele Scicolone recipe, from the December 1998 Pizza. Serves 2 or 3.
This write-up may make things look complicated, but it’s really a straightforward process that (other than the dough-rise time) doesn’t more than 30 minutes or so. It’s well forth the time and effort.
The way I make the dough for this pizza leads to a crispy and chewy crust. Unlike the original recipe, I use this for one pizza, not two.
What you’ll need for the dough:
1t active dry yeast
2/3-cup warm water (105° to 115° F)
2 cups bleached, all-purpose flour
A bit of olive oil
What to do to make the dough/crust for a 12-inch pizza:
1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand 1 minute, or until the yeast is creamy. Stir until the yeast dissolves.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt (I omit the salt and use garlic and onion powder). Add the yeast/water and stir until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Kneading is imperative to get the right consistency.
3. Very lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, and roll the dough so it has a light coating of oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place and let it rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
4. Flatten the dough with your fist. Cut the dough into 2 pieces and shape the pieces into balls (this is the step that I omit). Flatten the dough slightly. Dust the top(s) with flour. Place the balls (or ball) of dough on a floured surface and cover with plastic wrap, allowing room for the dough to expand. Let rise 60 minutes, or until doubled in size. At this point—using a pizza stone—I preheat the oven for 1 hour at 500° F. Do you really need a pizza stone? For me, I highly recommend it.
While the dough is rising, you can prepare the toppings.
For the pizza shown, I used:
• Olive oil for brushing on crust before the toppings
• 1 medium yellow onion slowly caramelized over low heat
• 8 oz run-of-the-mill mushrooms that I sautéed over medium heat until they stopped shedding water—oyster, shiitake or some more flavorful mushroom would make the pizza even better!
• 3 pieces of thick bacon, cooked till crispy, then cut up
• 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced and cut to sit evenly across the pizza
• 1 diced Roma tomato (put on pizza after cooking)
• Fresh mint leaves (put on pizza after cooking)—adds a nice level of sweetness
• Truffle oil, optional
• If I had it in the house, I would have sprinkled crumbles of a sharper cheese, like feta or blue, each of which packs a punch. Don’t use too much, though, or you’ll overpower the rest of the pizza.
When your dough has risen, it’s time to spread it out on a piece of parchment paper to a 12-inch diameter. Some experts tell you not to roll the dough out, but if your skill level is just not ready for tossed dough, roll it out. I do.
Once the dough is properly sized, poke some holes in it with a fork to prevent bubbles when cooking. Using whatever method works best for you (I use a pizza peel), transfer the parchment paper/dough onto your pizza stone and cook for a few minutes until the dough starts crusting—ensure to keep an eye on it and deflate any bubbles that start forming on the crust.
After the crust gets, well, a little crusty, remove it and place it on a wire rack that allows for plenty of air to circulate underneath it. This prevents sogginess.
Once the crust cools a bit, it’s time for the best part:
1. Brush the top of the crust with a bit of olive oil.
2. Strategically place your cheese evenly across the pizza, but not too close to the edge.
3. Add the bacon.
4. Distribute your onions and mushrooms atop the cheese and bacon.
Now you’re ready to bake it! Assuming your oven is still at 500F, baking should take only about 5-7 minutes. Keep a close eye on it. When done, move it to that wire rack and let it cool a bit. After cooling (or not), you can add your tomatoes and mint.
Cut and enjoy!