A wise man once told me that pizza is like sex: “even if it’s not that great, it’s still pretty good.” I’d add that as long as you start with homemade dough, you can chuck any old thing on top and it’s still pretty amazing.
The best part of this recipe is the two-minute, a-one-armed-monkey-could-make-it dough, based on Jim Lahey’s infamous no-knead bread. Its only secret is you have to start it the night before. As my friend (I wish!) Mark Bittman says about it, “let time do all the work.” I’ve stirred up this dough exhausted after an 18-hour day, almost-drunk with only one eye open, even in the middle of the night on a pee break from sleeping. A digital scale makes the process even faster.
- 500g flour (I prefer 200g whole wheat + 300 g white) (about 3 ¾ cups total)
- ¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 350g water (cool is fine) (about 1 ½ cups)
- Choice of toppings
- At least 12 hours before pizza time, stir the flour, salt and yeast together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the water until it’s well incorporated (I start with a wooden spoon then switch to a one-handed stir/knead). It should look tacky and damp. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave it alone for at least 12 hours, ideally 18 hours, and as much as 36 hours give or take.
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Grease or spray a large rimmed baking sheet. Generously sprinkle the counter with white flour then scrape the whole sticky mass of dough out of the bowl and onto the counter. Sprinkle the top with flour and gently shape the dough into a round. If, like me, you have a small person who insists on having His Own Pizza, cut off a small portion of dough and make it in a separate pan.
- The dough will be magnificently wobbly. Use the tips of your fingers to assertively press the dough into a vague rectangular shape (or the shape of your baking sheet). I usually switch to a rolling pin for the final shaping. Then transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and continue to press, squish and pull it into shape so that it fills the entire baking sheet but doesn't have any holes in it.
- Top as the mood suits you. I tend to start with a simple raw tomato sauce (canned tomatoes drained then pureed with some salt) then add lots of grated mozzarella and finish with any mix of sliced onion, cooked mushrooms, raw asparagus, olives and fresh herbs.
- Bake about 15 min (this will really depend on your oven) or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Let it stand 5 min before devouring.