This is one of Taylor’s favorites. He claims that it’s the “best pizza he’s ever had” but I’m sure he is a little partial. First let’s talk about the dough because I think that is really what makes the pizza. I used to buy store bought pizza dough, bread, etc. but then I realized yeast isn’t really that scary as long as you follow the directions. Also, you have to plan ahead a little but it is worth it. The dough really tastes best if you make it a day in advance. You can just do it earlier in the day if you want but it really develops some depth of flavor the earlier you do it. This recipe is adapted from The Bread Bible – this is a great book, especially if you are new to making breads from scratch.
226 grams flour (1.5 cups plus 2 Tbsp)
1 tsp. instant yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup water, room temperature
4 tsp. olive oil
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, and sugar. Stir in the salt. Make a well in the center. Add the water and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
Pour the oil in a bowl. Add the dough and turn over to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 1 hour if you want to us immediately. If you make it earlier, allow it to only sit out for 1 hour and stick in the fridge.
An hour before you want to stick the pizza in the oven, preheat the oven to 475 degrees and pull out the pizza dough. Lightly knead the dough on a sheet pan and shape it into a smooth ball. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
Press the dough into a circle. If it doesn’t want to stay in the shape you stretch it into, let it rest for 15 minutes more. Once you have the desired shape, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes.
Before I put any toppings on, I put the dough in the oven for 5 minutes. Then I add my ingredients. For the margherita pizza, it’s pretty simple:
Chopped San Marzano tomatoes – it is worth the extra money to get these over regular tomatoes. They usually come in a yellow can or some kind of jar. Just put a bunch on the pizza.
Fresh Mozzarella, sliced – Fresh makes a difference! Do not try to grate it – this will end in disaster. One of the stories we will tell our children until the end of time involves the first time my mom met Taylor and tasked him with slicing mozzarella in our kitchen. This also ended in disaster.
Just bake for 5 more minutes and you are done!