Our first "My Pizza" with thin-sliced ham, potato, béchamel sauce, and hot home-grown banana peppers.
Tom and Harriett recently visited us and brought with them a book called "My Pizza" by Jim Lahey. Mr. Lahey's pizza crust is very close to Tom's recipe, but is a little simpler in that it doesn't get kneaded. He says to put flour, water, and yeast in a bowl, mix it up, and let it sit covered at room temperature for eighteen hours. At the end of that time, he says to divide the dough, fold it over itself once or twice, and make your pizza. Naturally, you have to plan in advance. I start the dough at six in the evening so it's ready for the next day's lunch.
I tried it, and wow! Both Ken and I decided it's the best at-home crust we've had. It's tender and the outside crisps up very nicely in the oven. The crust develops those little charred blisters that are so delicious. I've made the recipe twice now. Each batch makes four individual pizzas; we each eat one for a meal, then refrigerate the remaining dough for another meal a couple of days later (the crust holds for up to three days in the fridge).
***UPDATE: Several readers asked for the recipe, so here it is (I've edited it a bit from the book's version).
18 Hour Pizza Dough
500 grams all purpose flour
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1. In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt.
2. Add water and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rise at room temperature for 18 hours (more when it’s cold, less when it’s hot).
When it’s time to bake: preheat the oven and baking stone to 275ºC (that's as hot as my oven gets).Take the dough from the bowl and cut it into 4 equal parts and shape them: pull and make 4 folds then shape each portion into a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour.
Use right away or wrap the balls in plastic and refrigerate up to 3 days. Let refrigerated dough rest at room temperature for 2-3 hours before using.
Roll a ball out and place it onto a peel. (I use a little semolina on the peel to keep the dough from sticking.) Sauce and top the pie quickly.
Bake the pizza on the stone until it’s done. Toss a couple of teaspoons of water onto the oven floor to make steam.
Take the pie out of the oven, slice it, and serve.