If you have ever done a Google search for “how to make homemade pizza” then you have no doubt stumbled across the bible-esque tome that is the Jeff Varasano pizza recipe. The recipe, which is in itself very simple, tips the scale at a hefty 22,000+ words. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve read almost every single one of those words on the Varasano pizza recipe, but it took me months to get up the courage to sit down and plow through it all!
What I’ve prepared for you here is a condensation of the Varasano pizza recipe; a reduction, if you will, of the simple steps minus all of the asides and fascinating science behind his pie’s creation detailing the Varasano pizza recipe. What we’ve got here is a recipe you could have open on your laptop in the kitchen (I prepare exclusively from my computer) and actually follow the steps without hours of scrolling looking for the next step. If you ever want more explanation as to WHY you are doing the steps below, please grab a cup of coffee and sit down for a nice bit of reading at Jeff Varasano’s Famous NY Pizza Recipe. And Jeff, if you’re out there, thanks for publishing all of your findings on the Varasano pizza recipe for the rest of us to benefit from. Enjoy!
Things to know before you begin:
- This recipe assumes you have an active sourdough culture.
- Prep time on the dough is at least one day.
- This recipe makes one pie.
- This recipe is only given in weights. You’ll need a scale that can measure grams.
- If any of this sounds a bit much, check out my simpler thin crust recipe here.
The Varasano Pizza Recipe
2. Measure according to weight (in grams) the following.
- Filtered Water – 110 grams
- Bread Flour (Jeff likes King Arthur) – 168 grams
- Kosher or Sea Salt – 6 grams (This is roughly one teaspoon – my scale doesn’t do well with such small amounts, so I use a tsp)
- Sourdough Yeast Culture – 15 grams
- Instant Dry Yeast – 0.5 grams (equivalent to a pinch – optional)
3. Pour everything except for about one quarter of the flour into your stand mixer.
4. Use the standard paddle attachment and mix on the slowest speed until your dough is evenly mixed. You should be aiming for the consistency of a thick batter. It shouldn’t look like dough yet.
5. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. THIS IS IMPORTANT, DON’T SKIP THIS.
6. Put the dough hook onto your mixer and start kneading your mixture. After five minutes, bein to gradually add in the remaining flour. Aim to have all the flour in by about the eight minute mark or so. If you reach a point where the dough looks good but you still have more flour, just don’t add it.
7. After about 8 minutes, click your stand mixer up to the next highest speed. Kneed until you see the dough form a wet ball. Always err on the side of dough that is too wet, and never “be a slave to recipes” as Jeff would say. If the dough needs a bit more flour, put some in.
8. Cover the bowl and rest for 20 minutes. THIS IS IMPORTANT, DON’T SKIP IT.
9. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top, sprinkle the top of it lightly with flour, and use your hands to form it into a nice round ball. It should be wet enough so that it sags when you form your ball. If it’s perk, your dough may be too dry. For photo examples of how wet your dough should look, go to Jeff Varasano’s Famous NY Pizza Recipe of course!
10. Place the dough in a container, cover it with plastic wrap or a nicely fitting lid, and stow it away in your fridge for 1-6 days. The 3-4 day range is best, I’d say.
11. Take the dough out about an hour to an hour and a half before you want to bake it.
12. Heat your oven to as hot as it will go. Jeff broke the safety off of his over and bakes pizzas while it is running on it’s cleaning cycle. Of course, he doesn’t suggest you follow his example… If you are using a pizza stone, make sure it is in when you begin to heat the oven.
12. Spread the dough out on a floured counter (Jeff says it isn’t great for tossing), put a small amount of sauce on. I stick to one ladle full.
13. Top the pie with mozzarella and the toppings of your choice and slide it onto your super hot pizza stone, or if you are using a pan, just slide the pan onto a baking rack.
14. My over doesn’t have a cleaning mode, so I top out around 500 degrees. My pizzas take about 5-7 minutes to bake. Keep an eye out on yours.
15. Pull it out and cool it on a wooden surface if you can. Wait about 3 minutes to cut into it. Serve it and brag that you now know how to make the Varasano pizza recipe!
Now if you are dying to know why or how, or want to see examples of what certain stages should look like, or want to know what your options are as far as flours, cheeses, sauces, yeasts, mixers, etc, or just want to read a more in depth explanation of how to make homemade pizza, check out Jeff Varasano’s Famous NY Pizza Recipe for Pete’s sake!
Hope you found this helpful!
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