Welcome to Gaining Elevation, a column dedicated to kicking your kitchen game up a notch. We’ll explore classic and often-used recipes, and get professional insight into how to get great results every time. From desserts and cocktails to mains and sides, nothing’s out of bounds!
Few meals invite more flexibility and creativity than pizza; almost any flavor profile can be mixed, matched, reinvented or discovered anew on a warm, cheesy pie. Sweet, spicy sausage or pepperoni is classic, of course. But there’s plenty of room for chicken, bacon or meatballs. Almost any veggie you like makes a great addition: bell peppers, onions and mushrooms representing the traditional cadre. Roasted broccoli, spinach, or sliced tomatoes bring a fresh and healthy twist. Even fruit isn’t out of bounds; grilled peaches tango perfectly with prosciutto or arugula.
But there is one bedrock element that can make or break a pizza. Put whatever you like on top – red sauce or white, any kind of cheese, meat or veggie – great crust is key. Too soft or soggy, and you’re doomed to droopy, gummy slices. Too crisp, and the crunch overwhelms your masterpiece of toppings.
Pizza dough (and by extension, crust) is both beautifully simple and deceptively complex. Though the ingredients are few, the list of factors that can influence how the dough behaves and turns out is lengthy.
The staff at Pinky G’s Pizzeria shared some insight into starting your own journey to the perfect pizza crust. Yes, journey. “We made hundreds and hundreds of batches, tweaking each one just a little bit, until we finally got it right,” explains Cameron Hartman. And that’s his top slice of advice for home chefs: “Don’t be afraid to fail.” In other words, keep trying and you’ll get the crust of your dreams. Eventually.
Each batch of dough will behave differently based on many factors: elevation, humidity, temperature, and more. So, the recipe that you get perfected in Jackson Hole might not work as well at sea level.
Though the exact recipe for Pinky G’s excellent crust is a closely-guarded secret, the team suggested a simple recipe that’s perfect for home chefs to try, tweak and enjoy. The full recipe is available below, but here are the basics. Mix bread flour, sugar, salt and dry instant yeast well – the Pinky G’s team recommends a stand mixer for the process. (Yes, they have one, and it is as giant as you’re imagining. The dough hook is nearly the size of your arm.)
Once the dry ingredients are well incorporated, add the olive oil and warm water. Mix until it’s a tight ball – but don’t over mix it. Spritz with cooking spray, and bundle it in plastic wrap. Then, pop it into the fridge. It needs to chill for longer than you think. Something that many home chefs skip is proofing the dough – letting it rest for a few days before pizza night rolls around.
Retrieve it from the fridge after a few days, and give it an hour to warm to room temperature before shaping and tossing. (Great video tutorial here.) Top it as you like, then pop it into a 500 F oven for about 12 minutes.
Some nights, though, you need pizza on a much shorter timeline. If you require a hot, cheesy slice, but didn’t start your crust a few days back, don’t fret. The team at Pinky G’s has you covered. Their ovens are always hot, the toppings are tasty and creative, and the crust is always just right.