Last spring, Miss Bee and I went to visit Sister in New Mexico. She took us to a fabulous restaurant in Capitan called Rene’s Real Food (Capitan is home of Smoky Bear…and those Bakelite billiard balls). Chef Rene runs specials everyday, keeping the menu limited to accommodate her small place. Small does not disappoint. She makes the best pizza. When I shared with her we were thinking about purchasing a Fontana Forni pizza oven, she told me I’d be crazy not to. After that endorsement we took the plunge. Rene suggested the Patio Pizzeria cookbook as a great resource for recipes and inspiration.
Over the last 6 months, while we’ve been waiting for our outdoor kitchen to be completed, Mr. Bee has been working to find a recipe for pizza dough. This book has some great recipes, but he’s come up with his own version from trial and error.
Many recipes call for “O.O” or double ought flour – which refers to the grind of the flour – O.O flour is exceptionally fine-textured, like talcum powder. The dough recipe he’s come up with has a blend of O.O and bread flour.
Mr. Bee’s Pizza Dough
2 Cups of O.O flour
1 cup of Bread Flour
1 pkg instant yeast with 1/4 tsp of salt mixed in
1/2 tsp salt (for a total of 3/4 tsp of salt, see above)
1 cup warm water (he has a note in the margin, he adds another 1 TBL if the weather is dry)
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp honey
In a small bowl (or 2 cup measuring cup) add water that has been heated to no more than 110 degrees, honey, and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix together, then add the yeast and let it sit to proof for about 10-15 minutes, until a good head of foam develops on the top. Meanwhile, in a separate medium-size bowl, stir together both types of the flour and 1/2 tsp salt. When the yeast is proofed, stir in 1/2 tsp olive oil into yeast mixture, then pour all the yeast mixture into an electric (like a Kitchen-Aid) mixer bowl.
Take your dough hook from the mixer, and slowly by hand using the hook, incorporate the flour mixture into the yeast mixture. Don’t beat it, just lightly incorporate the ingredients together. As you are doing this it will start to form small bits of dough. Put your hook onto the mixer, set the mixer into the dough, set the mixer to speed 2 and let it run for a couple of minutes. Pull it all off the hook, then adjust the speed to 3 for just a few minutes more until the dough is coming away from the bowl. Let the mixer run for about 5-6 minutes more. If it’s too dry, just add about 1/2 tsp of water. If too wet add one TBL of flour just until it starts to pull away from the bowl.
Once the dough has formed a ball, turn the mixer off, pull it off the hook, form it into a ball, put it back into the bowl, brush it with a little bit of olive oil and cover with a damp dish towel. Let it rise for about an hour — it should double in size.
Take it out and form it into 3 smaller balls. Place on a cutting board. Cover with the damp dish towel and let is rise for another hour. Then your dough is ready to roll out and add your favorite toppings.
Roll the dough out using a little flour, go all around the dough with a fork to allow steam to release during baking. Add a sprinkle of corn meal to the pizza board before you slide it into the oven so the bottom of the crust has a nice texture. If you find the dough is hard to work with, let it rest, it means the gluten is binding up on you. Walk away and eat pepperoni.
If using a regular oven set temperature on 450-500 degrees and bake for about 15 minutes on a pizza stone. If using a wood fired pizza oven heated to 600-700 degrees, it will take about 2-3 minutes to bake your pizza.