Dough for Thick-Crusted Pizza & for Focaccia

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Preparation info

  • Makes

    1

    crust for a 12 × 18 inch 30 × 45 cm ) or 11 × 17 inch 28 × 43 cm ) focaccia or pizza
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

  • About

This dough is used in recipes for several focacce with toppings, one with a filling, and for a thick-crusted home-style pizza. New York food writer Molly O’Neill once defined the difference between pizza and focaccia very simply in an article in the New York Times food section about pizza: A focaccia is usually eaten at room temperature, whereas a pizza, whether thick or thin-crusted, is usually eaten right after it comes out of the oven. I would add one more point—focacce have less topping than pizzas do, and real Italian pizzas have much less topping than their American-style cousins, especially when it comes to the use of cheese. I’ve been served pizzas in New York that had so much melted cheese on them I thought I was eating fondue. Use this dough for the focaccia and pizza recipes in this chapter. See the variations at the end of the recipe for plainer focacce. The dough is very simple to prepare—you just stir all the ingredients together and let it rise once before pressing it into the pan, and briefly again as you prepare the toppings.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 1⅔ cups warm water, about 110°F (45°C)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Olive oil for the pan
  • One 12 × 18-inch (30 × 45-cm) or an 11 × 17-inch (28 × 43-cm) jelly-roll pan, generously oiled

Method

  1. Combine the Hour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir well to mix.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the yeast into the water and whisk in the oil.
  3. Use a large rubber spatula to make a well in the center of the Hour in the bowl. Pour in the liquid and use the spatula to begin stirring in the center of the bowl, gradually stirring in a circle toward the sides of the bowl, incorporating more Hour as you stir. When all the Hour has been incorporated, the dough will still be fairly soft. Use the spatula to dig down to the bottom of the bowl from the side, between the bowl and the dough, and repeatedly fold the dough over on itself, until no dry bits remain.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature of the room.
  5. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan without folding it over on itself. Lightly oil the palms of your hands to prevent sticking and press down on the dough so that it evenly fills the pan (see figure a). If the dough resists, cover it with a towel and let it rest for 10 minutes before continuing.
  6. Cover the pan with oiled plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until doubled, up to 1 hour. While the dough is rising prepare the toppings.

Bark Bonus Focaccia

To make the simplest focaccia, use your fingertips to dimple the dough all over at -inch (4-cm) intervals and drizzle the top with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of kosher or another coarse salt. Bake as for any of the other focaccia recipes.

Rosemary Focaccia

Add 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves to the flour and salt. Finish as for Bare Bones Focaccia, above.