~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

NY-Style Pizza Crust( BEST EVER!)... and a quick pizza sauce.

New York Style Pizza Crust(BEST EVER!)... and a quick pizza sauce. Ever since my husband and I visited NYC earlier this year, my mind has been thinking about the possibilities of replicating our last meal there... a New York style pizza. Right on the last day of our vacation, my brother and sister-in-law chose Grimaldi's for the taste test. We had been wanting to try the New York Style pizza for such a long time... even before we went on our trip. So imagine our excitement when the pizza exceeded our expectation. Simply loved it. 

I had come across Cook's Illustrated New York Style thin crust pizza some time ago. At the time I remember thinking, "not another pizza crust to try". So I didn't attempt to make it then, mainly because I have several favorite recipes I use.  But when I came back from NYC, I thought I'd give the recipe a try. I figured, why not? 

Well it happened to be a wise decision, because this pizza crust proves that you can indeed make amazing pizza at home... using a regular oven! The crust is crisp, light and chewy. It's thin( that is, if  you stretch the dough thin enough), but most of all flavorful. The long refrigeration is key. And the darker "caramelized" crust, which comes from baking the pizza close to the heating element, gives the pizza that almost wood-fired taste.   

As a plus, I've included a super quick pizza sauce that also comes from Cook's Illustrated... but feel free to use any pizza sauce you like... you can even try a bbq sauce or white sauce version. Just try not to over-sauce the pizza... and use minimal toppings. Even though this pizza crust requires a long overnight rest, it's totally worth it. The nice part you can make the dough in advance and use it in 3 days....and  you actually don't need to bake them both on the same day. I baked one pizza on the frst day and another on the third day. So you have some flexibility. 

But this has got to be my absolute favorite pizza dough! And one my husband says outdoes any pizza chain:). Love how quickly the dough gets kneaded in the food processor. Makes it super simple. You'll just need a bit of patience for the dough to rest in the fridge. 

Was the pizza exactly like the one I had in NYC? Well, nothing tastes exactly... I think the NYC pizza used fresh mozzarella cheese and of course their own signature sauce. But in the end, this homemade version was pretty close! One of the best pizzas I've made thus far... and the reason for the big bold "BEST EVER":). Hope you enjoy...

Note: You can use semolina flour or bread flour when stretching the dough... I prefer the taste/texture of the semolina flour, but bread flour will also work.
When shaping the pizza, it is important NOT to use a rolling pin. Use your hand to stretch the dough.... this will give you the necessary "bubbles " and airiness in the dough.

Tip: Keep an eye on the pizza as it's baking... every oven is different, so you may need to turn the pizza several times to bake evenly.

You will  need: adapted from Cook's Illustrated via seriouseats

For the dough:
3 cups (16 1/2 ounces) bread flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/3 cups ice water (about 10 1/2 ounces)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for work surface
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 tsp dried onion powder, optional(my addition)

Cheese: for 2 pizzas
1 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
8 ounces whole milk mozzarella, shredded (about 2 cups)

Additional: for work surface
semolina flour or bread flour as needed to spread out pizza dough 

1. To a food processor fitted with metal blade, add the flour, sugar, and yeast. Process until combined... a few seconds. 
2. With machine running, add ice water slowly through feed tube. Process for about 10 seconds or so... or until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains.
3. Allow dough  to rest for 10 minutes.
4. After the resting period, add the oil and salt to the dough.
5. Process dough for about 30-60 seconds... dough forms a satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of work bowl.
6. Lightly oil countertop. Remove dough from bowl and place on countertop...  knead briefly until smooth, about 1 minute. 
7. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a bowl that has been lightly oiled. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 18 hours( 24 hrs ideal)... and up to 3 days. 
One Hour Before Baking Pizza:
  • adjust oven rack to top third... or second rack position. Cook's Illustrated says about 4-6 inches from broiler rack, but I find with my oven that distance can burn my crust, so I place it where the crust is more like 8-12 inches from the heating element.
  • set pizza stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees F
1. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. At this point, you can bake only one pizza and leave the second half in the fridge for the following day or two. I  baked one pizza after 18 hours fridge time and baked the second half  a couple of days later.
2. Shape each half into a smooth, tight ball. Place dough ball on lightly oiled baking sheet/plate...  if baking both the same day, space them at least 3 inches apart; cover loosely with oil coated plastic wrap.
3. Let stand for 1 hour... at this time the oven is preheating. In the meantime, get your toppings ready. Do the pizza sauce. 


4. Flour the counter top well, and place dough on top. Sprinkle top of dough with more flour.
5. Using your fingertips, gently flatten the dough into 8-inch disk...  leave about 1 inch of outer edge to  be slightly thicker than center. 
6. Using hands, gently stretch the disk into 12-inch round... you will need to turn disk as you stretch, working evenly.
7. Transfer the dough to well-floured peel( you can use semolina or bread flour... I like semolina) and stretch the dough another inch to make a 13-inch round pizza crust. 

Note: The first time I made the dough I floured  the countertop and floured the peel. The second time I used  a floured parchment paper (14-16 inch)  to stretch dough... and baked the pizza on the parchment paper. Just allows for easier maneuvering of pizza unto the hot stone. The parchment paper does get rather dark, so try not to leave too much of an overhang... you don't want it to catch on fire.

8. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce in thin layer over surface of dough, leaving  about 1/4-inch border around edge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan evenly over sauce(I found you could skip this, if you don't have),  then add about 1 cup shredded mozzarella.
9. Slide the pizza carefully onto stone. Bake  for 5 minutes. rotate, then bake until until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown... this can be another 5-7 more minute... a total of 10-12 minutes baking time. 
You will need to watch the pizza carefully as all ovens heat differently.... mine took about 9 minutes total baking time... and you can see how dark it got. So keep a close eye...
10. Remove pizza and place on wire rack for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. 
11. Repeat with second half of pizza, if baking both on the same day.

Quick Pizza Sauce:
You will need:
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and liquid discarded(keep for another use... or make some BBQ sauce with it)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch of sugar, optional

1. Add all the ingredients(except the reserved tomato juice) in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds. 
2. Transfer the sauce to a bowl/jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Use the reserved tomato sauce for another use... or freeze for later.


Rhonda said...

Thin is in when it comes to pizza! Your making my mouth water.

Ellie said...

Rhonda. It's funny, because the picture doesn't make the pizza look thin... but it was:). We love thin crust pizza.
Thanks for your comment, and for stopping by.

Sally B said...

I have been making this pizza ever since Cook Country aired it on tv. The best pizza ever. My husband won't eat anything else and he is a pizza snob. I have also found it needs to be on the second shelf in oven. Enjoy all!!!

Ellie said...

Sally, Yay! SO glad you guys agree this is the BEST pizza ever:).

I have stopped looking for a pizza crust that will be like the chain pizza restaurants. This one exceeds them all:)... Big thanks to the folks at Cooks Illustrated/America's Kitchen/Cooks Country for sharing their wealth of knowledge with all of us.

Thanks a ton for stopping by and sharing your feedback. Really appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Wow! This was the best pizza crust I have ever made. Tastes like real pizza crust.

Ellie said...

Anon, Yes... definitely the best:)! Thanks for your feedback... appreciate it.