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The Hirshon Guide to Making The Ultimate Pizza

The Hirshon Guide to Making The Ultimate Pizza

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  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • Pizza dough:
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm (90° to 100°) water
  • 1 cup ice-cold water
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • About 5 1/4 to 5 1/2 cups bread flour – DO NOT SUBSTITUTE
  • Melted bacon fat (totally optional but TFD likes it very much)
  • ***
  • Pizza sauce:
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. freshly-ground fennel seed
  • ***
  • 1/3 pound per pizza Polly-O brand or Galbani brand grated full-fat dry (aka low-moisture) mozzarella cheese, placed in freezer for at least 15 minutes


  1. For the dough:
  2. In a small bowl, with a fork, stir yeast into warm water. Let stand until yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  3. In another bowl, mix cold water, sugar, and salt until dissolved; stir in oil.
  4. If using a heavy-duty standing mixer with a dough hook, place 5 ¼ cups flour in a large bowl. Stir the yeast mixture again to blend, then add to flour along with cold-water mixture.
  5. Beat with the dough hook on low speed until mixture is smooth and not sticky, 14 to 16 minutes. (Don’t let dough climb up into motor drive; if it threatens to, stop mixer and push dough down. If machine labors, stop and wait a few minutes for motor to cool, then resume.)
  6. If dough remains sticky, add 2 more tablespoons flour and beat 2 minutes longer; if still sticky, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons flour and beat until nonsticky and smooth.
  7. If using a heavy-duty food processor, make dough in two batches, using half the ingredients for each: Place 2 ¾ cups flour, half the yeast mixture, and half the cold-water mixture in processor bowl and whirl until dough is smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes. (If machine stops, wait a few minutes, then resume.) If dough is still sticky, add 2 to 3 more teaspoons flour and whirl until dough is smooth. Transfer to a floured board.
  8. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured board; cut in half (omit cutting if using processor). With floured hands, pick up one portion of dough; pull opposite edges together toward center and pinch to seal. Repeat all around circumference to form a smooth, tight ball. Place each portion in a 1-gallon plastic bag. Squeeze out air and seal bag, allowing enough room for ball to double. Chill at least 10 hours or up to 2 days.
  9. For the sauce:
  10. In a large skillet, melt butter with the oil. Add the onion, celery and garlic and saute until soft and transparent.
  11. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir until smooth.
  12. Add remaining ingredients and bring to slow simmer.
  13. Simmer for 30-60 minutes (or not at all depending on your taste and time frame).
  14. Remove the bay leaf, then use an immersion blender (preferred) to make a very smooth sauce. If you don’t have one handy, let the sauce cool and process in a blender.
  15. To make the pizza:
  16. 1 hour before baking, adjust the oven rack with pizza steel to middle position and preheat oven to 500°F.
  17. Turn single dough ball out onto a lightly-floured surface. Gently press out dough into a rough 8-inch circle, leaving the outer 1-inch higher than the rest.
  18. Gently stretch dough by draping over knuckles into a 12 to 14-inch circle about ¼-inch thick (or if you’re dextrous, toss it!). Transfer to pizza peel.
  19. If using the melted bacon fat, now is the time to spread it on your dough in a super-thin layer.
  20. Spread approximately ⅔ cup of sauce evenly over surface of crust, leaving ½ to 1-inch border along edge. Evenly spread cheese over sauce. Slide pizza onto baking steel and bake until cheese is melted with some browned spots and crust is golden brown and puffed, 12 to 15 minutes total.
  21. Transfer to cutting board, slice, and serve immediately. Repeat with remaining dough ball, remaining sauce, and remaining cheese.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
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