Pizzeria Paradiso’s bready and robust pizzas rise from this dough. Both crispy and chewy, it can star in a pizza of few toppings or perform the supporting role for your elaborately topped pie. While you can make this dough in an electric mixer, food processor, or bread machine, this is the simple method of hand mixing using only your fingers and a dough scraper as your tools.
Makes Dough for two 12-inch (30 cm) pizzas
1) Mound the flour on a clean countertop and make a large well (about as wide as your outstretched hand) in the center of the flour. Add the water and yeast to the well and let stand for 5 minutes to dissolve the yeast. 2) Using the index and middle fingers of one hand, mix the salt and oil into the water. Again using the index and middle fingers, gradually begin to draw the flour from the inside wall of the well into the water, being careful not to break the flour walls. Continue mixing the flour into the water until a loose dough is formed. Using a dough scraper, continue gradually mixing in the remaining flour until the dough forms a ball. 3) Using even pressure, begin kneading the ball of dough by pushing down and away with the heel of your hand. Next, take the far edge of the dough and fold it in half onto itself. Turn the dough a quarter turn. Push down and away again with the heel of your hand. Again fold the dough in half and turn. Continue kneading (pushing, folding, and turning), adding flour as necessary, until the texture is smooth and springs back when you press the dough with your fingertip, or upward of 10 minutes. 4) Place the dough in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. 5) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut it into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. 6) Place the dough balls on a floured plate and cover them with plastic wrap. Let them rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour at room temperature for room temperature dough or 2 to 3 hours at room temperature for cold dough. Or let rise in the refrigerator for 6 hours or up to overnight. (At this point, you may freeze the dough. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. ) Allow refrigerated dough to stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.