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The Secret to Killer Homemade Pizza Crust

January 16, 2014

Hunter Lewis

Jim Lahey’s pizza dough is a home cook’s dream. You could roll it out with a rolling pin, but this technique gently shapes the dough, yielding a pizzaiolo-quality crust with personality to spare. 

1. Mix the dough, let it ferment, and portion it according to this recipe. Using one floured hand and a bench scraper (or both hands), transfer a ball of dough to a well-floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough and your hands with more flour.

2. With your hands spaced a few inches apart, begin stretching the dough, starting at the edges, while moving it in a circular motion (what Lahey calls the “hurricane method”). Resist the urge to flatten the dough too much; you want to retain as many small bubbles as possible. Continue gently rotating and stretching the dough across the work surface until it’s roughly 8″ in diameter.

3. Transfer the dough to your knuckles. Slowly rotate the dough while gently stretching the edges–letting gravity do the work–until you’ve got a 10″-12″ shape. Don’t worry about making a perfect circle; the pie will have more character if it’s oblong.

4. Flop the dough onto a lightly floured pizza peel or baking sheet and gently pull the edges outward. Timing is critical here: Top your dough immediately so that it doesn’t stick to the peel, then slide it into the hot oven.

“This dough is light, gooey, and fermented. The instinct is to make it clean and neat. fight it. you should try to screw with, molest, and potchke it as little as possible.” –Jim Lahey, Chef and owner, Co. pizzeria and Sullivan Street Bakery, New York

Ready the full story: 3 Steps to the Best Pizza Party Ever


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