Peter Reinhart's Neo Neapolitan Pizza Dough

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This is the crust recipe I used for my most recent homemade pizza venture.  Besides the cheesesteak pizza, we made a marinara sauce based pizza with cheese, zucchini, sliced roast beef, peppers, and onions.  It, too, was quite yummy! 

I usually use Emeril's recipe for dough, and it serves me well, but I have wanted to try an overnight- rise dough for a while now.  I have two, so I chose to try Peter Reinhart's Neo Neapolitan Pizza Dough from his book, Artisan Breads Everyday.  I hate to say it, but as far as taste and texture are concerned, I didn't really notice much difference between Emeril's and Peter Reinhart's.  One thing I do like about this particular dough recipe is that it makes enough dough for five pizzas.  Last week we made three pizzas and I was able to store two dough balls in the freezer for later use, which is kinda nice. 

If you are newer to making your own doughs, this one is not hard to start out with, but in comparison to other doughs I've made, this dough was a lot wetter and more slack (as in, didn't keep its shape), and so I am left feeling like maybe I've done something wrong.  If you know, please post in comments or contact me!  Either way, the end result was pleasant, so I'm not complaining.  I'd definitely use this recipe again.

Neo Neapolitan Pizza Dough
from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday

5 1/4 cups (24 ounces by weight) unbleached bread flour
2 teaspoons (0.5 oz.) kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoons (0.14 oz.) instant yeast (or 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast dissolved in the water)
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) olive oil (optional)
1 tablespoons (1/2 oz.) sugar or honey (optional)
2 1/4 cups (18 oz.) room temperature water (less if using honey or oil)

You can mix this by hand with a big spoon or in an electric mixer using the paddle (not the dough hook).

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl and mix for one minute, to form a coarse, sticky dough ball.  Let the dough rest for five minutes, then mix again for one minute to make a smooth, very tacky ball of dough.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, rub a little oil on your hands, and fold the dough into a smooth ball. Let it rest on the work surface for 5 minutes and then stretch and fold the dough into a tight ball. Repeat this again, two more times, at 5 minute intervals. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and immediately place in the refrigerator. The dough can be used anywhere from 6 hours to three days after it goes in the fridge.

When ready to make the pizzas, pull the dough from the refrigerator two hours prior to when you plan to bake. Divide the dough into five 8-ounce pieces (if there is any extra dough divide it evenly among the dough balls). With either oil or flour on your hands, form each piece into a tight dough ball and place on a lightly oiled pan. Mist the dough balls with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or place the pan inside a large plastic bag. Give the dough at least 90 minutes before making the pizzas. If you don’t plan to use them all, place the extra dough balls inside of an oiled freezer bag and keep in the refrigerator (for up to three days) or in the freezer (for up to three months).

If using a pizza stone in your home oven, preheat the oven to the highest setting
one hour before you plan to make the pizzas. If using a wood-fired oven, you know what to do for your particular oven. If you do not have a baking stone you can bake the pizzas on a sheet pan.

Top with your favorite toppings--this dough can be stretched thin (12-13 inches) for Roman-style pizzas, or 10-11-inches for Naples-style.

Bake at the highest setting your oven will allow for 10-15 minutes until your pizza crust is golden brown and your toppings are nicely cooked.

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