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Makes 1 3/4 Pounds of Dough
Now let me get you started on making pizza with a cresciuta. Use fresh, active dry yeast. I buy it loose in bulk; it is cheaper and fresher, and I use a lot of it. Store it in a jar in the refrigerator.
I use filtered water in this recipe because it is purer than tap water and I do think it makes a difference in taste, especially if your water is heavily treated with chemicals and high in sodium. I also spoon the flour into my measuring cup instead of scooping it from the bag or flour bin. This ensures that I have 4 ounces to my cup instead of the 5 for the scooped method.
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115F.)
1/2 cup King Arthur Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115F.)
3 1/2 to 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the cresciuta: In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let it rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the flour with a spoon and blend well. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 3 to 4 hours.
For the second dough: In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the cresciuta to the second dough and mix well with your hands.
In a separate bowl, mix 3 1/3 cups of the flour and the salt and add to the large bowl. Mix with your hands until you have a ball of dough. Add up to 2/3 cup additional flour as needed to make a dough that is soft and slightly sticky. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding additional flour as needed, to make a smooth and elastic ball.
Grease a large bowl lightly with olive oil; add the dough, turning it in the bowl to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a small orange, roll it into a ball, and place it in a small jar that has been lightly brushed with olive oil. Cap the jar and store in the refrigerator. This is your cresciuta and next time you make pizza you will only need to make the second dough and add the saved cresciuta. Make sure you always tear off a piece of dough and save it for the next time you make the dough.
Knead the remaining dough for 3 to 4 minutes. Divide the dough in half and use as directed in pizza recipes.
Note: Wrap the dough well and freeze for future use.
This recipe is from NELLA CUCINA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1993.