- 450 grams bread flour, or Napolitana 00 flour
- 250 grams of water (cold or room temperature)
- 1 packet (18 grams) Red Star Platinum Instant Sourdough Yeast
- 10 grams extra virgin olive oil
- 12 grams of coarse sea salt
- 1/4–1/2 cup pizza sauce *see note
- 6–10 basil leaves
- 2 cups whole milk mozzarella, freshly shredded
To make the pizza dough
- In a large bowl, add the flour and make a big well in the middle. Pour all the water into the well leaving the side intact.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Form a claw with your hand and stir the yeast and water mixture, slowly incorporating the flour into the wet mixture and creating a thicker paste (think thick pancake batter). Slowly start to draw in a little bit of flour from the walls of the well until you have a shaggy dough. Next, drizzle in the olive oil and mix until you have a thick dough. once all of the oil is incorporated, add the salt and knead to bring the dough combined.
- Flip the dough out onto a very lightly floured board and knead, using the shagging bits of dough to help make a dough ball. The dough should be all incorporated and semi-smooth. Place your mixing bowl on top of the dough, covering it an let it rest for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, your dough will have a shiny, more relaxed look and feel to it. Divide the dough into 2-3 equal parts and shape into smooth balls. Place the dough balls on a tray and cover with plastic wrap. Or you may place in a plastic container with a lid or ziplock bags.
- Refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 2 days. (You can also freeze it for up to 2 weeks. Double wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer container. Transfer the frozen dough into the fridge the night before.)
Heating things up
- Place one rack on the lower third of your oven. On that place a pizza stone. It’s recommended you use 2 when you bake pizza. Place another rack on the upper ledge and place the 2nd pizza stone there. Set the oven to 550F.
- Remove your dough from the fridge 1 hour before baking.
Stretch the dough
- With a mixture of 80% flour and 20% semolina, dust the counter with a little bit of “bench flour” and place the dough ball. Using the pads of your fingertips, start in the middle of the dough and gently pat and out the dough towards the top leaving what’s called the ‘cornicione’ or raised rim of the pizza. You’re pushing the air towards the top edge leaving about a 1/4-1/2″ rim. This what will puff up and give you that airy crust.
- Next, flip the dough over and put the side that you already pressed closest to you. Repeat the above process by pressing forward until you reach the border, leaving dimples all over. Flip and continue gently pushing the dough forward and out though try not to get the dough thin in the middle. Once the middle is big enough for you to put on your knuckles, gently start to stretch the dough outwards leaving the middle alone and working outwards to the edges but not touching the rim.
- If the dough gets sticky, stick 2 fingers in your bench flour and lightly sprinkle on. You do not want to over flour the dough otherwise it’ll get tough. If you get a hole, it’s ok. Just put the dough back on the counter and pinch the hole back together.
Bake the pizza
- On a pizza peel, sprinkle it with bench flour. You will need it to help slide the pizza off. Place your stretched pizza dough.
- Gently spoon on some sauce, add basil leaves and mozzarella. Give the peel a shake. If the dough slides you’re good to slide it onto the pizza stone. If it doesn’t move, gently pick up the sides and add a bit more bench flour underneath.
- Working quickly, open the oven door and set the tip of the pizza peel near the back of the stone. Pull the pizza peel toward you, letting the pizza slide onto the stone. Quickly close the door.
- Bake your pizza for 6-7 minutes, turning halfway through baking using the pizza peel
- Remove the pizza from the oven and place on a pizza pan or a large cutting board. To finish drizzle eith some olive oil and freshly grated pecorrina romano.
Simple, Classic fresh sauce
- 1 28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes (Leo uses Mutti Pomodoro)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Using a food mill, process the tomatoes to get the pulp and juice but leaving the fibers behind. Stir in the salt and use within 2 days or freeze for later use.