This dough recipe can be used for any size or shape of pizza
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
3/4 cup water, almost hot to the touch (about 1258)
2 tablespoons dry yeast or 1 1/2 ounces fresh yeast
2 2/3 cups sifted flour or cake flour
1/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
olive oil for oiling the bowl
1. Proof the yeast: In a small bowl or coffee cup mix together the milk and water. Sprinkle in the dry yeast, or crumble the fresh yeast in your hand and mix it into the liquid. Stir once, and let sit in a warm place until there is considerable foam on top, about 10 to 20 minutes. (If your mixture doesn't foam up at least a little, the yeast wasn't fresh. Buy more and start over.)
2. Mix the yeast with the flour: In a large bowl combine the sifted flours with the salt. Mix well. Spill the foaming yeast mixture into the bowl and, working with a wooden spoon, mix together rapidly. Smooth out as many yeast clumps as possible during this stage. Your dough at this point will be very wet.
3. Knead the dough: Dust a work surface with flour. Add a little flour, about 1/4 cup, to the dough in the mixing bowl. This should enable you to scrape the dough together and place it on the floured surface. Add more flour if necessary. Begin kneading the dough on the work surface with your hands and adding tipo 00 flour or cake flour, 1/4 cup at first, less and less as you proceed. While you're kneading, at first the dough will probably stick to the work surface and your hands. Don't worry. Keep kneading and adding more flour. But don't lose patience and add too much. Add slowly. The goal is to create a dough that is just past sticky; in fact, when it's finished, it should be threatening to stick to the work surface. You may even want to work with a spatula to remove the dough from the surface if it sticks slightly. All together, kneading time should be about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth, silky, and just past stickiness. Do not end up with a very dry, very stable dough.
4. Let the dough rise: Lightly oil the bottom of a large bowl with the olive oil. form the dough into a ball. Place the dough in the bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a spot that's room temperature, neither warm nor cool. In 2 hours or so, the dough should double in size.
5. Shape the pizza: Cut the dough into 4 quarters. Place 1 quarter on a floured surface, pulling it gently into a round as you place it on the surface. Your goal is a round pizza that is 6 to 7 inches in diameter, approximately 1/4 inch thick, except at the rim where it should be about 3/8 inch thick. Use one of the following means to achieve this:
ï Pull it from the outer edges until the desired shape is reached.
ï Working it with your fingertips, push the dough away from the center toward the rim, until the center is 1/4 inch thick and the rim has built up to 3/8 inch thick.
ï Do it pizzeria style by placing the dough on your two fists, and revolving it on your fists until it has widened to the desired shape (be careful not to tear the dough at the center).
ï Use these techniques in combination.
Do not roll your dough out.
Don't worry if your pizza isn't perfectly round; there's much to be said for rusticity. If your pizza doesn't have much of a rim, use your fingertips to crimp the dough and build a small one around the circumference; this is called the cornicione. If your pizza dough has a tear in it, transplant a small piece of dough from the remaining dough, smoothing it in. Run a wide spatula under the pizza to make sure you'll be able to move it easily off of the surface later; add extra Flour underneath if it's sticking.
Repeat this process until all 4 pizzas are shaped.
6. Let the dough rise a second time: Place towels loosely over the pizzas as soon as they're shaped. Let each pizza rest for at least 10 minutes and up to 60 minutes before cooking. The pizzas should puff very slightly.
This dough recipe can be used for any size or shape of pizza that you wish to make. Our favorite, most manageable pizza for the home is round, approximately 6 to 7 inches in diameter -- exactly the size you're likely to find at pizzerias in Naples. This recipe makes enough dough for 4 such pizzas. When cooked, these round pizzas can be cut into appetizer slices, or each pizza can be served whole as a main course to one diner. Makes enough dough for 4 pizzas