I recently had the pleasure recently of enjoying pizza at Specific Gravity, a great little restaurant in Salisbury that serves plenty of specialty, classic and custom pizzas. While enjoying the pizza with Kathy Hawkins of Maryland Life and our friend Kristen Conn of Wicomico County Recreation, Parks & Tourism, I wondered how I could make a better pizza crust at home.
The pizza crust at Specific Gravity is wonderfully crisp and chewy. So, I decided to ask their chef, Ian Ferguson, how to make a perfect pizza crust.
Here are his 4 easy steps to making perfect pizza dough (and a bonus tip from me):
Use high-gluten flour (condolences to those on a gluten-free diet) and avoid flours that are labeled “pizza flour” as they don’t perform as well. Chef Ian recommends the King Arthur brand.
Use unbleached and unbrominated flour. When flour is bleached and brominated, it’s treated for whitening and quickening. You don’t want such short cuts here with your crust.
Choose your yeast and treat it accordingly. Allow dry-active yeast to bloom in warm water; use only cold water for fresh yeast.
Make a “sponge” (this is key!). A sponge is a portion of your dough recipe – a quarter, a fifth – that’s made first and is allowed to rise overnight. This provides depth and helps the remainder of the dough. After you make the sponge and let it rise, make the rest of the dough and add it to the sponge. Allow it to rise and rest as per your recipe.
Bonus tip: If you don’t have the patience to make good pizza dough, no problem, head to Specific Gravity and let the Chef do the hard work for you! You can enjoy a craft brew while you wait.
What kind of pizza crust do you like best?
Dan Patrell is editor and publisher of Maryland Life.