To improve my pizza game, I recently bought Tony Gemignani’s The Pizza Bible, and I carefully followed the very detailed instructions for his introductory recipe, the classic pepperoni pizza. It was very good. (Following the instructions carefully was hard since one of my 2 year old granddaughters very much wanted to help me make the pizzas.)
Here are some key tips from his recipe and instructions:
Use high protein flour, such as King Arthur Flour’s Sir Lancelot, which is higher protein than their bread flour. His recipe for enough dough for two 13-inch pizzas (enough to serve 4 people) is as follows:
4.5 grams active dry yeast
453 grams high protein flour
9 grams diastatic malt
5 grams fine sea salt
5 grams extra virgin olive oil
225 grams ice water
70 grams lukewarm water (~80-85 degrees)
(I have long used a kitchen scale for more accurate measurement of flour, and bought a smaller pocket scale for measuring small weights accurately.)
Have a long slow rise, mostly in the refrigerator – one day rising in bulk, and a second day rising as formed balls.
Handle the risen dough carefully, making an effort to de-gas the dough as little as possible. When transforming the dough from a ball into a circle, leave a rim (or “cornicione” in Italian).
Make a 50/50 mixture of the high protein flour and semolina to use to prevent the dough from sticking to the work surface, the peel, and your hands.
Have the dough and sauce at room temperature when forming the pizza, so that cold ingredients do not lessen the oven-spring from the hot oven.
Use a baking steel and preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Bake for about 10 minutes, shifting it a little about midway through cooking to even out hot and cold spots in the oven.