Roman Pizza Dough

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This is the ultrathin style of pizza we had at Pizzeria da Baffetto in Rome last summer. Shhh – don’t tell, but Reinhart’s version is better! Why? Reinhart adds a little semolina to make the dough stiffer and easier to stretch very thin, almost paper thin if you like. The semolina also adds extra crispness as it’s baked so that it’s not wet and droopy in the middle. Even though I like this American’s version of Roman pizza better, I’m happy to go back to Rome to give da Baffetto another try any day!

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h3. Roman Pizza Dough

Peter Reinhart in “American Pie

  • 5 cups (20 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons (1 3/4 ounces) whole wheat flour*
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) semolina flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons table salt or 3 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant or rapid rise yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cool water (65 degrees F)

*I like to substitute 5 tablespoons (1 3/4 ounces) whole wheat flour for an equal amount of all-purpose flour in this dough. As Reinhart suggests, substituting a small amount of whole wheat flour, up to 1 tablespoon per cup of flour, gives the dough a country-style quality which I prefer. But if you don’t, you can simply use an additional 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour.

1. Stir together all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer until combined (No stand mixer? No problem – just mix with a wooden spoon and knead by hand.). The, using the dough hook, mix on low speed for about 4 minutes, or until all the flour gathers to form a coarse ball. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then mix again on medium-low speed for an additional 2 minutes, or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and sticks just a little to the bottom. (I usually have to mix longer than 2 minutes.) If the dough is too soft and sticky to hold is shape, mix in more water by the tablespoonful; if it is too stiff or dry, mix in more water by the tablespoonful. (I usually have to add more flour.) The dough should pass the windowpane test.

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2. Transfer the dough to a floured counter, dust the top of the dough with flour to absorb the surface moisture, and then, working from the 4 corners, fold the dough into a ball. Place the ball in a bowl that has been brushed with olive oil, turn the dough to coat with the oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then put the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. (Or, if you are making the pizzas on the same day, let the dough sit at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours, punch it down, reshape it into a ball, return the ball to the bowl, and then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.)

3. The next day (or later the same day if refrigerated for only 2 hours), remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to make the pizzas. The dough will have expanded somewhat and the gluten will be very relaxed. Using a plastic bowl scraper dipped in water, or using wet hands, gently transfer the dough to a floured counter, trying to degas the dough as little as possible. Using a pastry blade that has been dipped in water, divide it into 6 equal pieces. (I divide it into only 3 pieces to make larger pizzas.) Gently round each piece into a ball and brush or rub each ball with olive oil. Place each dough ball on the pan and loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap. (If you don’t plan to use all the pieces, place the extra ones in a individual zippered freezer bags and refrigerate or freeze. Use the refrigerated balls within 2 days and the frozen balls within 3 months.) Allow the dough balls to sit at room temperature for 2 hours before making the pizzas.

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Check out an alternate dough, called the Americana, here.

Check out how to shape and bake your dough here.

Check out our favorite pizza sauce here.

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