Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Perfect recipe?

Where to get the perfect recipe? If you give me 10 different "perfect" recipes, they are actually no difference to me. The perfection doesn't lay with recipe itself but my hands (or KitchenAid in your case) in making it over dozens or hundreds times! No recipe can see how your kitchen different from theirs, neither tell your weather, you flour, your mood nor your experience but all of which directly affect the final result. We just have to keep doing the same recipe until we recognize every single key that is important to us leading to the perfection. So once you get a recipe that suits you, please stick with it (for 10 times at least), then play with it (a bit), fine-tune it (for another 10 times), and master it, then you'll get your perfect recipe :D

Recipe of "my" perfect pizza dough (yield 6 - 7 extra-large thin crusts)

  • Sponge: 7g or 2 1/2 tsps instant dry yeast, 3 cups lukewarm water, 4 Tbps olive oil, 4 1/2 cups unbleached/bread flour (Must be King Arthur brand if in America)
  • 4 cups unbleached/bread flour (not more than 4 1/2 cups), 5 tsps salt


  1. In a large mixing bowl, well combine everything from Sponge's section with a mixing spoon. Cover, and let it ferment until more than double in volume.
  2. Combine the sponge with the flour and salt ... if your dough needs water more likely because you didn't let the sponge ferment enough, anyway, add water. Knead until the dough smooth and elastic. Let it rise in 85F room until it double in volume. Divide it into six (or seven) portions. Use your hand (no rolling pin!) to stretch the dough to your desire thickness, add topping(s), and bake in 475F oven (preheat for half an hour at least with a baking stone in) until it turns golden brown.
  3. The dough can be frozen... from step 2, after finishing the kneading, wrap well, freeze. When you want to use it, thaw (covered) and let it rise according to the spec.


Anh said...

Gattina, will try this recipe out real soon! Pizza is on my list! :D

Anonymous said...

Very good advice... if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Anonymous said...

That's simply perfect Gattina!! You can almost taste it--and I wish I could. I love the photo of you kneading the dough. That really captures what it is to make bread--to love making it!

Unknown said...

The thin crisp crust is to die for!

Pooja said...

I love Pizza, and yours is looking so crispy and nice in color.
You are true - any recipe is not perfect until we try it, get used to it by our experience. for me it always depends on my mood :) .
thanks for sharing this. I will try it sometime your way :)

Anonymous said...

I think you're right, once you find a recipe that you like you should just use it and work at it to perfect your technique and flow :) Beautiful pictures, as always!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Dear Gattina,

Are these photos wonderful or what? :D

I love seeing your hands kneading the dough. It really shows us how much you're connected to the food you make.

LittleHands said...

Gattina I fell in love with yr yummilicious pizza!! *droolingggg*

FH said...

Oh my!!! Looks so good.Crisp and perfectly baked.I will try this for sure.We love Pizza!:))

Gattina Cheung said...

Ang, I've tried quite a few recipes, this one suits my schedule (besides of its better taste), but please plan accordingly as there are two rising time.

Kristen, how true!

Sher, my husband took that pic, after that, he loves taking photos *lol*

Angie, I'm fine with either thin or thick crust (like silician pizza), the real thing I'd die for is the unique flavor which can only be done by wood oven... I dream to have one when we have our own house, hehee.

Pooja, exactly! For me, no mood, no cooking :D

Ellie, a compliment from another great pizza baker, thanks *hug*

Pat, Once you told me how you enjoy making bread (and by hand), I feel we connected right away!!! Thanks for your sweet comment darling!

Jolene, what's up to at your kitchen these days huh? "no sound no shallow" from you at kc, or you "play" at somewhere, heheheee...

Asha, you're a great cook/baker, I'm sure your pizza will be terrific!!!

Lis said...

Your dough looks so flaky and wonderful! I especially love that it's thin crust.. there is nothing better than a good thin crust pizza. :D

Between you and Ellie - I've got multiple recipes to try and so much inspiration!

Brilynn said...

I like your idea of perfection!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Isn't it interesting that so many of us foodie bloggers lust after all these great cookbooks. Do you think it's because we many have totally or even only partially missed out on cooking with all the family women when we were little. It gives you pause when you think about cooking with your own children. It is extra work.
You are oh so right about working with a recipe more than once and how even something as extraneous as the cook's mood or the humidity can change things.
Lovely looking pizza my girl.

Bong Mom said...

Very good advice Gattina, whenever I post a recipe I am afraid, what if it doesn't turn out right for who is making it. When I am familiar with a dish, like in my case "my kind of Indian food", I know how it should look like, smell, feel but someone who is new to that cuisine won't have those instincts to fall back on.
So only by trying several times can it be achieved.

But I applaud you for your patience and skill set, see that's why you make such masterpieces.. Trying 10 times !!! I would give up half way :)

Katie said...

All of those lovely baked things. I love your recipe for pizza dough. I do have a kitchen aid but don't use it for bread...kneading is great fore-arm exercise

Meena Kandlakuti said...

very very nice work and hard work too.And I I completely agree wit u gattina abt the gaining perfection day by day, cooking again and again the same dish:-)Thanks for thsi recipe dear.Really enjoyed

Shah cooks said...

Wow! A pizza dough.. now I want to see what all u cook up with it.U are right abt getting it right by trial and error. Nothing else is fool proof.

LittleHands said...

Gattina, I'm quite busy nowadays so I quickly read thru but seldom post. Tho' my blog has finally 'hoi cheong', hehe.

Anonymous said...

Hi--I tried your recipe for pizza dough the other night, and my partner agreed, this was the best I ever made. The sponge idea is a good one, adds more flavor and provides better texture, and the salt portion was just right (too often pizza dough recipes are under-salted for my taste). The only thing I did wrong was to only divide the dough in two, so it the crust was too bread-y. (Next time I will divide by four). But hey, it was delicious bread, so thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Gattina - nice photos! Am a bit of a novice with pizza dough, and am trying your recipe now...how long do you leave the sponge sit before you add the rest of the flour and the salt? Also - do you cover it with a towel so it can still breathe, or with saran wrap?

Gattina Cheung said...

Hi Anonymous,

thanks for your interest in this recipe. To answer your questions:
1. For how long it really depends the weather, even rising in room temperary (ideal is 75F to 85F... the reading follows Amercian system). Summer and winter there will be a big difference. For me, in summer in the city I lived, it took me about 2 hours. In winter can be 4 hours (my house didn't have a very good heating system). So please use your eye to judge instead of the clock.
2. Yes :) I always prefer cling wrap (guess same as saran wrap?).
This recipe will yield quite many pizza dough (as my family loves eating many). Since it is your first try, may I suggest you halve the recipe? Happy baking!

Anonymous said...

why is it not crispy, when i bake the pizza dough???
what should i do?

Anonymous said...

For a crispy crust, try a pizza screen instead of a pan or a stone, as Gattina said a stone needs to be heated in the oven for some time before using it to bake a pizza on, a screen is a good alternative, at least I prefer it so I don't have to have the oven on so long.

Gattina, I just found this blog today and I'm just blown away by the recipes. Thanks for talking about making the same recipe repeatedly until getting it right, I became obsessed with pizza a few years ago and I made a lot of bad pizza before finding a good NY crust that I just love, but I'm going to try yours next week. (I make my dough on 3 or 4 days in advance and it sits in the fridge getting bigger and yummier).