Our Little Book Company / Rocco’s famous pizza dough recipe


Craig “Rocco” Marocco is an old friend of mine and lives for the art of pizza. He discovered his passion over 40 years ago when he began making pies using Chef-Boy-ar-Dee pizza in a box. By the time he was 16 he had gained considerable notoriety by tossing a baked and sliced pizza from the cutting board, high over his head and catching it in a serving pan at Shakey’s Pizza in Tacoma. He continues to perfect his art years later using this gorgeous outdoor oven (pictured below).

The key to perfect pizza starts with the dough. Like bread baking and a lot of Italian food recipes, the way pizza dough turns out has less to do with specific ingredients than what you do with them. The method is critical, as is learning what the dough is supposed to look and feel like. The consistency of pizza dough is influenced greatly by time, ambient temperature and humidity. That is why the amount of water called for in the following recipe has a range. While there are undoubtedly a number of methods that will yield very good results, this one has been tried and adjusted for a number of years. It works very well and at times, brilliantly. A stand mixer is essential to make the dough; it is initially too moist to knead by hand.

High Heat Dough Recipe

High-heat Pizza Dough (700°- 800°F baking temperature)

Makes four 9.5 to 10oz. balls of dough (may be doubled)

5 cups unbleached white flour, preferably Italian 00 pizza flour, do not use bread flour
2-21/4 cups water, room temperature
2 tsp dry yeast (or one packet)
1 T salt

Mix 2 cups of water and dry yeast together in the bowl of a mixer. Add the flour and mix on low speed with the flat blade until all of the flour is moist and the dough comes together in a shaggy mass adding a little more water if it looks dry. Some dough should stick to the sides of the bowl. Turn off the mixer, remove and clean the blade and cover the bowl with plastic film. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes. This allows the flour to absorb the water and ultimately influences the texture of the finished pizza.

Place the dough hook on the mixer and add the salt. Knead the dough on medium speed for 10 minutes. You want the dough to stick to the sides of the bowl, but it should form a rounded mass that rises partially up the dough hook as it mixes. If the dough appears flat in the bowl or if the surface glistens it is too wet and you should add a tablespoon or two of flour. If the dough clings to the hook and clears the sides of the bowl, it is too dry and you should add additional water in dribbles.

After 10 minutes the dough should be smooth and relatively moist. it should stick to your fingers when you touch it but it should release cleanly.

Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and seal with a lid or plastic film. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until doubled in size. This should take about one hour. Deflate and turn the dough and replace the cover. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill for four to eight hours. If your bowl is small you may need to deflate the dough again after an hour or two.

About one and one-half hours before you intend to bake your pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Dust your work surface with sifted flour and deflate the dough mass. Place the dough ball on the floured work surface and divide it into four equal pieces using a metal bench scraper. The dough pieces should weigh between 9.5 and 10 ounces each. Gather each piece into a tight ball, place in a floured dough box and cover. You can also place the balls on a floured work surface, with ample space between them, dust the tops with additional flour and cover them with plastic film.

Allow the dough balls to rest at room temperature until they become soft and puffy. This should take about 45 to 75 minutes depending on temperature.

To prepare the dough for baking do not use a rolling pin. Flatten the dough gently with your hangs and press it into a round shape that is thicker in the middle than it is on the edges. Flour it liberally on both sides if it is sticky. Pick up the dough round and, holding it by its edge with both hands, gently pull your hands apart about 3 or 4 inches stretching the edge of the dough. Move your hands and repeat the pulling action around the outside of the dough round. This will make the diameter of the pizza increase. Once you have worked your way around the perimeter of the dough round, drape the middle over the tops of your hands and gently draw the thicker middle out by pulling the tops of your hands apart and turning the round. You can see where to stretch the thicker portions if you hold the round so that light passes through it. Set the round down and dust with additional flour if it becomes sticky.

Place the stretched dough on a floured peel and gently push and relax it into a round shape about 12″ in diameter. Top the dough judiciously and slide into the oven placing the front edge of the peel on the oven floor, angle the handle of the peel upward and slide the pizza off the peel using brisk, backward jerking motion.

If you’d like the new pizza postcards just e-mail our social media gal Annie Malarkey (social@armstrongphoto.com) and she will be happy to add you to the mailing list!

About the author: EJ Armstrong is the chief art and cookie addict at the Black Building. She has thirty years of experience in the visual world, making her the lead nagger, design junky and advice columnist. You can find her on Instagram @avisualist

Posted By: AP Studios
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