April 10, 2009

Learn to Toss Pizza Dough!

Haven't you always watched those professional pizza tossers with envy? They take a little ball of dough, pound it a few times and then spin it high into the air to create a beautiful round pizza crust. Well, here's your chance to develop a skill that will make you the star of the neighborhood. PizzaTherapy has a great video of 8 time world champion pizza acrobat Tony Gemignani giving you the step-by-step on tossing pizza dough. Albert Grande of Pizza Therapy has graciously provided his world famous pizza dough recipe to get you started.
I tested this yesterday with a bunch of teenagers and here are a few tips from that experience:
1. Put your blob of dough on a piece of parchment for the flouring and rolling phases. Parchment is available in grocery stores. It's usually near the waxed paper (don't use waxed paper).
2. Put a table cloth on your floor for the 20 or more times that you drop your dough.
3. If you don't have a pizza stone, use a very thin crust for your pizza or the middle will be doughy.
4. Bake your pizza in a 500 degree oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes with a pizza stone, about 15 minutes on a baking sheet.
5. If you don't have a pizza stone, bake your pizza on a piece of parchment. It makes it much easier to get the pizza (and the run-off cheese) off the baking sheet.
Now, go make your dough and click here to see how to toss it like a pro.

Albert Grande's "World Famous Pizza Dough"
Ingredients for the dough, makes 2 regular of 4 thin Neapolitan pizzas!
· 2-3 teaspoons of yeast or less (Try 1-2 teaspoons, Peter Reinhart says only use as much as you need, you can use less yeast to get good results)
· 2 teaspoons honey or sugar (optional)
· 4 cups of flour (Can be All purpose or Bread Flour)
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1/4 cup olive oil (optional)
· 1 and 1/2 cups of warm water
1. Put yeast and sugar in a cup. Add 1/2 cup of water. The water should be between 100° and 110° F (37° C- 43° C.) degrees. Mix well. Wait about 5 minutes for the yeast and sugar to activate.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the olive oil, flour, salt, 1 cup of warm water and the yeast mixture. Mix this with a fork to get all the liquid absorbed by the flour.
3. Place a handful of flour on a mixing surface. Dust your hands and spread out the flour. Empty the contents of the bowl on to the flour.
4. Knead the dough vigorously for 8-10 minutes or until the texture is smooth and uniform. If the dough seems a little sticky, add a little more flour. One method to knead, is to lean on the dough with the palm of your hand.Press the dough to the mixing surface. Fold the dough and repeat.
5. Place the dough in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Place bowl in warm area and cover with a cloth.
6. Let the dough rise for about an hour. Punch down the dough and wait 30-45 minutes. Your dough is now ready.
7. Cut the dough in half (or fourths, for thin pizza).
(I usually make 4 thin pizzas with this dough recipe!)

Now, watch the video and toss!

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