Sep 30, 2018
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Perfect Pizza Margherita

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  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
    2 cups warm water (90° to 105°)
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
    2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    Extra-virgin olive oil
    One 14-ounce can peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
    1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
    2 pounds buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced
    32 large basil leaves, torn into pieces


Step 1
  • In a large bowl, mix the yeast with 1/2 cup of the warm water and the sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of warm water, the 4 cups of flour and the kosher salt and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead, adding flour as necessary until a silky, but soft dough forms. Use a pastry scraper to help knead the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and brush all over with olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.
Step 2
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface; punch down and divide into 4 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Rub each ball with oil and transfer to a baking sheet. Cover the balls loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place for 1 hour.
Step 3
  • Meanwhile, set a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500°, allowing at least 45 minutes for the stone to heat. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill set over a medium bowl or pulse them in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Stir in the oregano and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
Step 4
  • On a lightly floured surface, stretch one ball of dough into a 13-inch round; transfer to a floured pizza peel, adding flour where the dough sticks. Spread 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce over the dough to within 1 inch of the edge. Spread one-fourth of the cheese over the pizza and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with sea salt and pepper and slide the pizza onto the stone. Bake until the bottom is charred and the cheese is melted, about 8 minutes. Scatter one-fourth of the basil on top and let stand for 3 minutes before serving. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.
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