I love when classes sell out! It means there's going to be some good energy in the class. I had that last weekend in my sold out pizza and pasta class in my studio kitchen in SF.
On the first day, Saturday, I sent around the recipes and I saw a few of the students kind of laughing. "Weir dough?" they said. I proceeded to tell them where the term came from.
Years ago, my best chef friend Gary Danko was making pizzas at one of his restaurants using my recipe for dough. We were just fooling around in the kitchen working alongside each other. He asked one of his chefs to go get the dough from the walk-in. "You mean the Weir Dough?" he asked. I had to laugh. I've called it that since.
A few pointers about pizza making-
- Make sure to use dry yeast that is within the expiration date.
- To make your sponge, start with warm water. That's 110 F degrees. Mix the water with flour and dry yeast. Let it sit/bubble up and do it's thing for at least 20 minutes or up to an hour.
- Make sure you knead the dough (like really knead it to develop gluten) for at least 10 minutes. Don't cheat and do it for less. If you feel kind of lazy and aren't up for a work-out, use your electric stand mixer. Yup, you gotta buy a KitchenAid.
- Place the dough in a very well-oiled bowl and turn it over to coat the top with oil. Cover with plastic.
- Make the dough at least a day in advance and do a long slow rise in the refrigerator overnight.
- Use King Arthur bread flour. It has the most consistent protein content.
- Bring the dough out of the refrigerator at least 3 to 4 hours before baking the pizza.
- An hour before baking, form the dough into balls and place them on an oiled baking sheet. Cover with plastic and set a room temperature until ready to use.
Here's my recipe for Weir Dough and my next post will be the recipes we made on Saturday,- a delicious asparagus, pickled onion and prosciutto pizza, incredibly amazing gorgonzola and tomato pizza and a calzone filled with ricotta, oven-dried tomatoes and fennel sausage.
l/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water (110ºF)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups King Arthur bread flour
1/2 to 3 /4 cup lukewarm water (110ºF)
1/2 teaspoon salt
To make a sponge, combine 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, yeast and ¼ cup of the flour in a large bowl. Let stand for 20 minutes or up to an hour until it bubbles up Add the remaining 1 3/4 cup flour, ½ to ¾ cup lukewarm water and salt. Stir together with a wooden spoon to mix the dough thoroughly. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is soft yet still very moist. Oil a bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it over to coat it with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap tightly and a towel and pulace in the refrigerator overnight.
Makes 2 10 to 11-inch pizzas