New York-style pizza at home, v2.0


This recipe is sponsored by Audible. Start
listening with a 30-day free trial by using my link in the description. This is an update of a video I posted a year
ago about how I try to make New York-style pizza in a home kitchen. I’m going to show
you how my technique has evolved over the last year, and also try to explain things
a little better than maybe I did the first time, including what this style of pizza actually
is. Start with the dough. Yes, I normally make
my pizza dough in a stand mixer, but I will never cook in a stand mixer on the internet
again, because I don’t want people to get the impression that they need something so
expensive to make good food. You don’t. All you need is a bowl — ideally a big bowl
with a wide base. These days I start by putting in all my water
— about two and a half cups of warm water. Then some sugar — a tablespoon. Some people
might say that’s a lot. I don’t think that it makes the dough taste sweet. It does, however,
help the crust brown at home-oven temperatures, which are gonna be lower than professional
oven temperatures. That’s our main challenge here. In goes a teaspoon of active dry yeast. Mix
that up, and let it sit for five minutes. Give the yeast a chance to rehydrate and to
eat some of the sugar in there and to be fruitful and multiply. This is called blooming, and
it is not necessary. The dough will rise regardless. The reason people do this is to check to see
if their yeast is still alive, and guess what — this was dead. Look: no change. I’ve been
working from this jar of yeast since my first pizza video year ago, and this yeast is no
more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker. So let’s try this again with fresh yeast.
You wait a few minutes and then here’s my favorite part, I am not speeding up this footage.
This is real-time. I love that. OK, now I am speeding it up. Gonna put in a some olive oil. Maybe that’s
two tablespoons or something? Some pros don’t use oil in their dough. Again, I think that
it helps the crust brown in a home oven. Then in goes a tablespoon of salt. Some people
say that will kill the yeast. That is a myth, as you shall plainly see. Certainly with enough
salt and enough time you will kill the yeast, but this will not. Now flour. I use bread flour, which has a
higher protein content than all-purpose flour. You can use all-purpose, it just won’t be
quite as chewy and stretchy. There’s even higher protein flours that you can buy on
the internet, but this is in every American grocery store. I start with five cups, by
volume. Sure, that’s not an accurate way of measuring flour, but this is just a starting
point. I’m gonna add more flour by feel as we knead. I usually just bring that together with a
spatula or something, then get my hand in there and knead. You can take it out and knead
on the table, of course, but with a nice wide bowl like this, you can keep the mess entirely
contained in the bowl. I’m just gathering it together then pushing down with the weight
of my body behind my palm. When it gets so sticky that I can’t really
work with it, I’ll sprinkle on a little bit more flour — as little as possible, though.
I really prefer wetter doughs these days. They bake up lighter and crisper. The only
downside is they’re sticky and hard to work with. So, I’m adding the minimal flour to
keep it workable. The test to see if it’s ready is to see if
you can stretch out a patch of it really thin without it tearing. That is not ready yet.
By the way, some pros would say if you’re gonna use oil in your dough, you should add
it at this stage, rather than at the beginning. They say you gotta let the flour hydrate first
before you introduce the fat. The problem with that is that it’s hard to kneed oil into
a dough that’s already gone smooth and elastic like this, especially when you’re kneading
by hand. I’ve done it both ways, and I think the texture of the finished product is virtually
indistinguishable. I just don’t think it makes a big difference in a dough this lean. Alright, I’ve kneaded this for 10 minutes
and I can stretch it thin without it tearing. This is enough dough for four home-oven-sized
pizzas, so I’ve got four containers here, big enough for the dough balls to double in
size. I’m pouring a little olive oil into each. Then you could use a scale to divide this
into four equal balls, or you could do what I usually do these days which is to tear the
ball in half, then heft each ball for weight. If one feels heavier, transfer some dough
to the other ball. One of those goes back into the bowl, then we do the same to this.
Tear it in half, heft the balls for weight, then it’s time to shape them reasonably smooth
and round. The shaping doesn’t really matter so much with a wetter dough like this, because
it’s just gonna kinda go bleeegh into the container no matter what we do. Then what I do is use the ball like a paint
brush to oil the inside of the bowls. In the process, the balls themselves get good and
covered in oil too. Very efficient system. The oil helps to keep the balls from drying
out, which is especially important if you’re gonna keep these in the fridge for up to a
week, as I do. It also helps you get them out of the containers later, and the thick
coating of oil on the surface, again, helps the crust brown at home-oven temperatures,
because oil is such an effective thermal interface. Cover them up, and then you could either rise
them for a couple hours and bake them, or what I do is throw them straight into the
fridge. Some people rise them at room temperature for a bit before refrigerating, I think that
makes almost no difference, and this way you can just throw them in and forget about them.
I make my dough when I’m not hungry, and then after at least 24 hours cold rise, these are
ready and I can bake one super easily and quickly whenever I want. They’re already portioned. Though, I do think these basically get better
as they age in the fridge up to a week. I have a whole video about that, which is linked
in the description. OK time to bake. You need a hot surface to
bake on, and I have recently switched from a stone to a steel. I have video that systematically
compares the two; it’s also linked in the description. The steel is simply more thermally
conductive. It would be too thermally conductive for a 1000-degree wood-fired oven, but for
a home oven it’s perfect. I’ve recently started putting it on the second-highest rack position.
I find that’s best for browning the top, but every oven is different. You wanna get your oven as hot as it goes,
though. For me, that’s 550 Fahrenheit on the convection roast setting. And I will pre-heat
my steel for a full hour. You could do less, but this gets me a noticeably browner, crispier
crust, and electricity is absurdly cheap here in America. OK, now cheese. One of the things that makes
this style of pizza different from say Neapolitan pizza is low-moisture mozzarella. If you use
fresh mozzarella, you can only use a little bit of it, otherwise your pizza will become
soaked in whey. That’s why Neapolitan pizza only has splotches of cheese. New York pizza
has a solid layer. Part-skim low-moisture mozz is very easy to
find, but the whole milk version tastes a lot better, and it’s much harder to find.
I used to be able to get it molded into sticks — Galbani string cheese. That was a pain
to unwrap, but it was a good cheese. Now they only have the part-skim kind at my
store, so I’m struggling to find a replacement. There is this whole-milk, low-moisture mozz
from Walmart. It is not a great cheese, but it’s the right style. I will say, beware of
this cheese from Polly-O, which a lot of people like for pizza, but this cheese they sell
retail is not what I would call a true low-moisture cheese. It’s basically medium moisture. Look how much smoother the Polly-O is compared
to this Walmart cheese. Look at how much squishier it is. When I taste them, not only is the
true low-moisture cheese on the left noticeably drier, it is also tangier, which is key. Polly-O does make good whole-milk low-moisture
cheese for pizza, but only in these big 7.5-pound loafs for commercial use. This is a different
cheese from what you’ll find in the grocery case, though they might have it at your deli
counter. Honestly, if you live in a bigger city you’ll probably have plenty more good
options than me. This Walmart cheese is what I’ve got today. It’s one pound. I tend to do about 7 ounces
on my pizzas, so this is a little more than what I need for two pizzas. And then, crucially,
I’m gonna put it back in the fridge after I grate it. I have found that, in my oven
at least, if I keep the cheese cold, it’s less likely to overheat and squeeze out an
orange grease layer before it’s had the chance to brown in the oven. OK now, sauce. The New York-style pizza that
I’m talking about here is a street food. It’s cheap. It’s generally made with canned sauce
products — a popular one with New York joints is Full Red, which only comes in #10 cans
for commercial use. That’s almost 7 pounds of sauce. This right here, far and away, is the closest
thing to that stuff that I can find in U.S. grocery stores: Pastene Kitchen-Ready crushed
tomatoes. Really good. It’s very strong — I don’t have to supplement it with tomato paste.
I do put in a pinch of sugar, some dried oregano and a lot of olive oil. I love fresh oil in
pizza sauce, but you do you. There’s enough for like four or five homemade pizzas in a
28 ounce can. I’ve just mixed up enough sauce there for one pizza. The key thing is to not cook this sauce before
it goes on the pizza. Canned foods are already cooked a little — canning requires heat.
If you cook your sauce any more than that, you’re likely to loose the brightness that
is key to this style. You end up with a flavor that reminds me more of lasagna than of pizza. Here is my pizza peel. You need something
big and flat to shimmy the pizza out onto the steel. I used to do it with a sheet of
cardboard back in college. You need a granular matter to keep it from sticking, and I’m back
to using cornmeal. I know I said that I don’t like the grittiness, but, I dunno. It’s traditional
in my mind and for some reason I just like that, even though I don’t really like that. Now what I do is put a plate on there, and
then some flour on the plate. I pull the dough straight out of the fridge. I do not warm
it up before I work with it. This is a very wet dough, and the cold helps keep it workably
stiff. I take it out while deflating it as little as possible, and then get it coated
in flour. I didn’t used to do this step, but again, wet dough — gotta keep it from sticking. And yeah, I know how to toss pizzas in the
air. I still prefer to just do the gravity-stretch method. I just go around the edge forming
the thick cornice while letting the rest of the dough fall and stretch out naturally.
This is, most significantly, cleaner than tossing it in the air, I think it gives you
a little more control, and no, it does not give you a perfect circle like centrifugal
force does, but guess what, I don’t want a perfect circle. I want an oblong. A characteristic of New York-style pizza is
that it’s wide — wide enough to give you foldable slices. And it’s basically as thin
as you can get it. In a home oven, I can bake a wider, thinner pizza if I just let it be
shaped like an oval. Sauce goes on, smoothing it out with the back
of a spoon. I generally feel that if I’ve put on a little less sauce than is my instinct
to put on, then it’s gonna taste perfect. You gotta remember how thin this is. For flavor
I think it’s key to sprinkle on a little grated parmesan under the mozz layer. Some New York-style
places do this, others don’t. I think it adds a lot, and you can still put more on top later
if you want. Then the mozz. I find if I start by sprinkling
it around the edge first and then work my way in, that gives me the most even distribution.
Again, if it feels like not quite enough to me, that ends up being just right. Then very quickly, before this dough bonds
to the wood, bring it on over the oven. A little shimmy just to make sure it’s gonna
release, and then shimmy it out onto the steel. A pizza this thin in an oven this hot cooks
really fast, 6 or 7 minutes. It’s a game of chicken with the cheese. I want to wait until
I’ve got as much color as possible but right before it starts to over-heat and squeeze
out its fat. Rather than taking the pizza out with the
peel, I usually grab it with tongs and pull it straight out onto a cooling rack. The main
reason I do that is so that I can be building the next pizza on the peel while this is baking,
but I also think this is a little cleaner, and I definitely like to rest the pizza on
the rack. It keeps the crust crispy. When it’s cooled down a bit, it’s solid enough
to cut cleanly. I honestly don’t think pizza cutters are good tools for the home, because
when you use them on a little home cutting board like this, they’re likely to fall off
the edge and hurt your table. For a pizza this size, a good ol’ chef’s knife
is a perfectly adequate tool and it’s safer — it gives you more control. Now, look at
how brown the bottom is. You can even see some leopard-spotting there, like they get
in the wood-fired brick ovens. I’ve never achieved that with a pizza stone in a home
oven; only with a steel. That’s really tasty. It’s the taste I grew
up with, and if you make your dough in advance, it’s a pretty easy weeknight family meal.
Now if, after all that, you’ve got pizza on the mind, might I suggest going on Audible
and listening to Sasheer Zamata’s comedy special Pizza Mind, which you can do for free. “At first she was like, ‘I want you to bring
home a God-fearing man.’ And then years went by, and I didn’t bring anyone home. And she
goes, ‘I want you to bring home a man.'” No, it’s not about making pizza — she uses
pizza as a metaphor. But anyway, I love her, and I love how Audible allows me to make fun
or productive time out of lost time — like when I have to do the dishes after a shoot. Whether it’s comedy specials or books, Audible
has the world’s largest selection of audio entertainment — including Audible Originals,
which are stories created exclusively for audio. Whether you’re driving around, or hitting
the gym this time of year as I am, Audible can keep you entertained, informed and inspired.
Anytime you can’t read, you can listen with the Audible app on any device. Start listening
with a 30-day Audible trial. Choose one audiobook and two Audible Originals absolutely
free. Visit audible.com/adamragusea or text adamragusea to 500-500. And get Pizza Mind.
Will my pizza process continue to evolve? I’ll let you know in a year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *