A Daily Dinner: Pizzas With Ricotta, Summer Squash, and Scallions
When I posted about making pizza at home back in March, I mentioned that I hadn’t yet attempted to make my own pizza dough. Fortunately, that has changed.
Bon Appétit does a great series on their blog called “Fake It or Make It,” in which they compare store-bought items to homemade and evaluate what is worth the cost and time investment. So far, I’ve learned that making butter and potato chips at home isn’t worth it, but homemade granola and pizza dough are must-makes.
Armed with that knowledge and baker Jim Lahey’s recipe for a no-knead pizza crust, I whipped up a bowl of flour, yeast, salt and water in no time flat and I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited some more.
Lahey’s no-knead recipes, while easy, take a lot of time since the dough must ferment in order to rise.
I personally like to speed up the process by using lukewarm tap water and letting the dough rest in my closed, unheated oven. (It protects the dough from drafts and is slightly warmer than room temperature.)
No-Knead Pizza Dough
Adapted from Jim Lahey
3 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1. Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 1 1/2 c. water; stir until well incorporated.
2. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours.
3. Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 3 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions.
4. Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour. Wrap each dough ball separately in plastic wrap and chill. Unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap, for 2–3 hours before shaping.
Like I wrote in the last pizza post, the key to the perfect pizza crust (regardless of whether or not you made your own dough) is taking time to heat a very hot oven and a hot pan, so don’t skip those steps for this one.
The beauty about having fresh dough in the fridge at any time means that you instantly have a fresh, easy dinner as long as you can scrounge up a few toppings.
For this pizza, we sliced some zucchini and scallions, tossed them in some olive oil, salt and black pepper, and then topped the pizza with the mixture before baking. (A good salad on its own, but even better on pizza.)
Once the crust seemed nicely crisped (about 12 minutes), we added some fresh ricotta from Murray’s to the pizzas and ate them with a fresh radish and arugula salad.
I wrote about homemade ricotta last summer, but Murray’s store-bought rivals mine. That might be one case where faking it actually is better!