We’ve been making homemade pizza in the SavoryGirl household for years now…but to be honest, we make a pretty sucky crust.  Until now.  Finally!  We’ve found a no-knead pizza dough recipe that is practically foolproof and makes amazingly crisp and blistered crust.  Just the way we like it…and seriously, it’s artisan pizzeria quality right at home.  The recipe is from Jim Lahey of New York’s Sullivan Street Bakery & pizza spot, Co. and you can find it here The one trick, with this dough is that it’s a multistage, overnight process as you can see below, so make sure you build in time and plan ahead.

Step 1: Mix together all ingredients from the recipe.  Tranfer to a clean, large bowl, cover loosely with cling wrap and leave for 18 hours in a warm, non-drafty part of the kitchen.  I put the bowl in my oven overnight…even thought it’s off the pilot light keeps it a bit warm in there.

Step 2: Transfer dough to a floured work surface…it looks goopy, but have faith!

Step 3: Gently shape dough into a rough rectangle and divide into 6 equal portions

Step 4: Working with 1 portion at a time (which should be roughly rectangular as well), fold each of the four corners into the center, flip over, and gently shape into a ball with the seam side down.  Repeat with remaining 5 portions.

Step 5: Set all 6 portions on a floured baking sheet, dust dough with flour and cover with a damp kitchen towel.  Let rest for about an hour.

**The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days after this point (individually wrapped), but make sure to let the dough come back to room temperature for 2-3 hours before working with it. We made the mistake of not doing this with some and noticed a vast difference!

Step 6: When ready to make your pizzas (oven has been preheating at 500° for minimum of 1 hour, toppings are all set out and ready), work with 1 portion at a time and flour dough generously.  Then, you have 2 options…whichever you choose, push yourself to make it thinner than you’re comfortable with.  Thin crust is the way to go here.

Safe & Effective: place on a floured work surface, gently shape dough into a 10” to 12” disk using your fingertips and rotating the dough

Riskier but more Fun: gently press dough ball flat, then pick it up and lay one flat side against your open left palm (both hands up in front of you, like you’re clapping).  Gently throw the dough back and forth between your two palms, rotating it as you throw so it starts to stretch itself into a larger disk.  You can also get really legit and transition to making loose fists and use your knuckles to stretch out the dough some more….be brave! Continue to stretch the dough for as long as you feel comfortable, then lay the dough out on your baking sheet and finish stretching it out with your fingertips to get desired shape and size.

Presto!  You have yourself some perfect pizza crust ready for topping.  So, what to do about the toppings?  Remember that old acronym you learned in grade school..K.I.S.S.?  It applies here, Keep It Simple Stupid!  Okay, sorry…no need to call you names, but you catch my drift. It’s all about quality ingredients…so here is what I recommend:

1 large can of San Marzano whole tomatoes…crushed up with your hands.  That’s it…nothing else needed, trust me on this one.  If you can’t find San Marzano tomatoes, just get the highest quality canned plum tomatoes you can find…I personally like Hunt’s brand.

Coarse sea salt
High quality olive oil
Hand-torn basil leaves
Chopped parsley
Minced garlic

Fresh buffalo mozzarella….the large ball hand torn vs. the little bocconcini
Fresh grated Parmigianino Reggiano (the real stuff, not imitation please!)

Caramelized onions
Sautéed mushrooms
Torn prosciutto di parma

So with this simple assortment of ingredients we made 3 pizzas.  Classic Margherita with sauce, basil & mozzarella, a prosciutto, caramelized onion & parmesan pie with arugula sprinkled on right as it came out of the oven, and lastly a mushroom, garlic, caramelized onion and mozzarella.  All were finished with a sprinkling of sea salt and then as soon as they came out of the oven a light drizzle of olive oil.  The crust was blistered with nice big air-holes, crispy and delicious.  The toppings were fresh, satisfying and remnant of our time in Italy.  Perfetto!  Who needs to pay $20 for a pie when you can make it this good at home?

Credit: The inspiration for giving our historically unsuccessful DIY pizza night another spin came from a February Bon Appétit article, which you can find here.