Tavern-Style Pizza Recipe

Proof a homemade pizza dough overnight, then top with a bright cherry tomato sauce and a savory cheese blend in this thin and crispy pizza recipe.
bar-pizza-recipe2
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Makes 3 pizzas 
Prep time: 40 minutes 
Total time: 2 days 

INGREDIENTS

for the dough:
1 ¾ teaspoons active dry yeast
3 ½ cups|500 grams all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 ½ teaspoons kosher salt 
2 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil  

for the pizza sauce:
12 ounces|340 grams cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt, to taste

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for the ranch dressing:
¾ cup|165 grams mayonnaise
½ cup|110 grams sour cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 garlic clove, grated
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

for topping:
3 ounces|85 grams shredded mozzarella cheese
3 ounces|85 grams shredded white cheddar cheese
¾ cup|187 ml pizza sauce 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Make the dough: In a small bowl, add the yeast to 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons|275 ml water heated to 115°F. Give it a stir with your finger and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and combine to form a large castle in the middle. Make room around the perimeter for a moat. Slowly pour the water and yeast mixture into the bowl, using a spoon to slowly incorporate the flour into the water in a circular motion. Once everything is incorporated, begin to knead by folding and pushing down. Work to leave nothing stuck to your bowl (less clean-up later!). Cover with a clean towel and let rest for 15 minutes. 
  3. Pour the salt over the dough and knead into the dough ball. It will begin to get smooth and once you no longer feel the granules of salt, slowly add the extra-virgin olive oil. Continue to knead until all of the oil is incorporated. (If you are having a tough time getting the oil to absorb you can sprinkle a TINY bit of flour into the dough to help the oil absorb.) 
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a clean work surface. Folding the dough towards you, begin to knead by folding then pushing it out. This will help to further smooth out the ball. Rest for 2 minutes, then repeat until you have a smooth dough ball. 
  5. Divide into 3 (9 ½-ounce|270-gram) balls, and knead with the same technique. Add a small amount of oil to grease 3 plastic pint containers. Place each dough bowl into its own container and cover with its lid. Place in the fridge to proof for 18 to 24 hours. 
  6. The next day, take the dough out for 1 ½ to 2 hours prior to baking. Heat the oven to 500°F. Alternatively, if using an outdoor pizza oven, heat it to 800°F.    
  7. Make the ranch dressing: Combine all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Season with the salt and pepper. This dressing will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks. 
  8. Make the sauce: Blend the tomatoes and oil together in a small food processor until smooth, then transfer to a small skillet. Cook the tomatoes in the oven until reduced and thick, about 10 minutes for the pizza oven or 20 minutes for the conventional oven. Season with salt and set aside. 
  9. Make the pizzas: Remove the dough from its container and onto a clean surface dusted with bench flour. Stretch the dough, then use a rolling pin to flatten it out. Grease a pizza pan with oil. Place the dough onto the pan, gently working it to the edge. Dock the dough with a fork, then add sauce, cheese, and toppings. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough and cook in a pizza oven heated to between 500°F and 600°F for 5 minutes (see notes below), or in a conventional oven at 500°F for 10 minutes. Cut the pizza into tiny squares and serve with the ranch dressing.

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NOTES FOR COOKING IN THE OONI KARU PIZZA OVEN

Using Wood: Your temperature will be very hot (900-1100°), tavern-style pizza normally bakes in a deck or conveyor belt oven at 550°F. In order to bring your temperature down, you will need to let heat out. Please be sure to open the vent in the flume as well as the vent above the door in the front. Add wood to the oven and the flame should be low when ready to bake (15 minutes). You will bake with the door open with a total bake time of 3. minutes.

Place pizza into the oven toward the front. After 1 to 1 ½ minutes and 3 rotations, your cheese should be bubbling and begin to slightly brown. Remove from the oven and, using a fish spatula, transfer to a screen, add toppings (if using any additional), and slide the pizza back onto the stone off of the screen. Give the pizza 3 to 4 more rotations until the toppings are cooked and the cheese is golden brown, about 2 minutes more.

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