Cheesy Slow Rise Refrigerator Pizza

This time around I wanted to try pizza dough that would take more than just an afternoon to create. Cheeses and wines get better with age, and a slow rise sourdough imparts more sourdough flavor--so it stood to reason that the longer the yeast pizza dough proofed, the better it would also be. 

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The original recipe for this pizza comes from The Artisanal Kitchen: Perfect Pizza at Home, written by Andrew Feinberg and Francine Stephens. This dough is similar to a traditional NYC pizza dough due to its long refrigerator rise (48 hrs. in this case) and resulting thin crust in the middle. However, unlike a NYC pizza dough, this recipe uses no sugar (Sugar accelerates yeast, but the dough will still rise without it.) and requires no kneading. 

The resulting crust was phenomenal--light and airy--just a tad bit chewy. The toppings complimented it perfectly. Buffalo mozzarella is always wonderful, and the tang of the ricotta brightened the flavors of the dough. The fresh basil brought it all together.

Prep Time

-15 min. to make dough (+ 48 hours to rise and proof in refrigerator + 90 min or so to bring to room temp.)

-30 min. to shape dough and prep toppings

Cook at 500°F for 3 min; then 7 min. at broil

First, pour about 1 3/4 cup of warm water in a mixing bowl with about 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast. I let it sit for about 10 minutes or until foamy at the top. Technically, the water should be 100-110°F, but I just run the tap until the water is warm to the touch. 

After that, stir in about 4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt until everything is combined and the dough is slightly elastic (around 2 minutes of mixing). I don't weight my ingredients or add extra water or flour. I just go with however the dough turns out. 

Again, this dough requires no kneading. My assumption is that since kneading creates gluten structures, the slow refrigerator rise must somehow do this as well. Once mixed, put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap. Then put it in the fridge for roughly 48 hours.

48 hours later, remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into four balls. Each ball is enough for a 12-inch pizza. I kept one of the balls out, and the other three quarters I wrapped individually in cling wrap and put in a freezer bag so they could be stored in the freezer. They can be keep for about a month frozen. I actually made the dough on Tuesday night, then divided and put it in the freezer Thursday. Saturday morning I let one of the balls defrost and made pizza that night. It was perfectly thawed and incredibly malleable--really easy to work with. If taking the dough directly out of the fridge, give it an hour or so to reach room temperature.

(Check out my Breakfast Sausage Pizza post for one idea of what you can do with that frozen dough.) 

I shaped the dough on a lightly floured surface. I generally toss my dough, but this one seemed delicate, and I worried it might rip if I tossed it.

Lightly cover the surface of the dough with pesto, then put about four globs (about 1 Tablespoon each) of ricotta cheese spread across the top. Follow with a quarter inch slices of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese to fill the remaining space. I put the pizza on my pre-heated pizza stone (placed near the top third of the oven space to be within good proximity of the broiler) to cook at 500° for about three minutes. I then turned on the broiler for the remainder (about 7 minutes). I watched until my pizza had a lightly charred impression across the top of the crust. This made it appear like I'd cooked it in a genuine pizza oven. 

I don't have a pizza peel, so I just used tongs to grab the pizza when it was done and slid it on a cutting board I held ready. I then topped it with fresh basil. I let it rest until it was cool enough to eat, then efficiently cut it with my Robin and Field Pizza Blade. The result was absolutely delicious.


Ingredients for Dough:

-2 tsps Kosher salt

-1 3/4 cups warm water

-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

-2 tsps of active dry yeast

 

Toppings:

-one small bunch basil leaves

-1 Tbsp and a half of pesto

- 4 to 5 oz. ricotta cheese

- four slices of buffalo mozzarella cut 1/4 in. thick

 

Other Toppings to Try:

-mushrooms

-olives

-steak 

-ground beef