The secret to a great pizza Margherita is to use the best ingredients you can find—and to approach them with restraint. The slightly wet dough of this pizza, in conjunction with a hot pizza stone, produces a crisp yet chewy crust.
- 1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
- 1 3⁄4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting
- 3⁄4 cup warm water, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (14 ounce) canwhole tomatoes with juice
- 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 basil leaves, plus more for sprinkling
- 1⁄4 teaspoon sugar
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Make dough:.
- Stir together yeast, 1 Tbsp flour, and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl and let stand until surface appears creamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t appear creamy, discard and start over with new yeast.).
- Add 1 1/4 cups flour, remaining 1/2 cup water, salt, and oil and stir until smooth. Stir in enough flour (1/4 to 1/3 cup) for dough to begin to pull away from side of bowl. (Dough will be slightly wet.).
- Knead on a floured surface, lightly reflouring when dough becomes too sticky, until smooth, soft, and elastic, about 8 minutes. Form into a ball, put in a bowl, and dust with flour. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, about 1 1/4 hours.
- MAKE TOMATO SAUCE WHILE DOUGH RISES:
- Pulse tomatoes with juice in a blender briefly to make a chunky purée.
- Cook garlic in oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Add tomato purée, basil, sugar, and 1/8 tsp salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and cool.
- HEAT PIZZA STONE WHILE DOUGH RISES:
- At least 45 minutes before baking pizza, put stone on oven rack in lower third of electric oven (or on floor of gas oven) and preheat oven to 500°F.
- SHAPE DOUGH:
- Do not punch down. Dust dough with flour, then transfer to a parchment-lined pizza peel or large baking sheet. Pat out dough evenly with your fingers and stretch into a 14-inch round, reflouring fingers if necessary.
- ASSEMBLE PIZZA:
- Spread sauce over dough, leaving a 1-inch border (there may be some sauce left over). Arrange cheese on top, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border.
- Slide pizza on parchment onto pizza stone. Bake until dough is crisp and browned and cheese is golden and bubbling in spots, 13 to 16 minutes. Using peel or baking sheet, transfer pizza to a cutting board. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with some basil leaves before slicing.
Absolutely marvelous!! This was my first time trying the margherita style pizza and I'm sold. It was easy to make and the crust is the best! I'm used to a spicer pizza with all the goodies but I really enjoyed this. The dark spots in the photo is the cheese. We like it that way. I cooked the pizza for only 12 minutes but I put it on the center rack. We'll make this again, for sure. Thanks for sharing such a nice recipe. Made for PAC Spring 2010.
Wonderful pizza crust and directions! I was really worried about how wet this dough is... Used the bread machine for the dough and I thought I had ruined dinner. I poured this onto parchment paper, oiled my hands up and spread it out, then topped and baked... Crisp and chewy at the same time. I've been trying to find this sort of dough recipe for a while. Thanks for sharing. Can't rate the sauce, as I just used chopped tomatoes, basil, olive oil, pepper and provel cheese.