Stuffed crust pizza, from Lauren Morrill's 'It's Kind of a Cheesy Love Story'

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***RECIPE***

For the dough, makes enough for three 13-14 inch stuffed crust pizzas.

2 1/4 cups (530 ml) warm water
1 tbsp sugar (12g) sugar
1 tbsp (9g) active dry yeast
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 tbsp (18 g) kosher salt
5 cups (600g) bread flour, plus more for working the dough

For the sauce, prob makes more than you need for all three pizzas. Sorry. The can is the size that it is. Freeze the rest.

1 28 oz (828 ml) can crushed tomatoes (I like Pastene 'Kitchen Ready')
2-4 tbsp (30-60 ml) olive oil
1 tsp (4g) sugar
dried pizza herbs to taste (oregano, basil, marjoram, etc)

For the cheese, I like Galbani whole milk low moisture mozzarella string cheese

4-5 1 oz (28g) string cheese sicks for the crust of each pizza
6-7 oz (170-200g) cheese for the top of each pizza (I use the same string cheese)
grated parmesan for dusting (maybe 10 g per pizza?)

For the seasoned outer ring: maybe an ounce (28g) of butter per pizza, and some dried pizza herbs and salt.


Combine all the dough ingredients. The flour quantity is just a baseline — keep kneading in more until the dough is just barely sticky. (A low-hydration dough will be sturdier and more secure for sealing the cheese ring.)

Divide the dough into three equal balls. Put each one in its own bowl to rise — do not lube the surface with any oil. Cover tightly and let rise — either about two hours at room temperature, or 1-7 days in the fridge. If you do a quick rise, consider putting it in the fridge for a bit before you bake — it's easier to work cold.

Preheat a pizza stone or steel in your oven at its maximum temperature (ideally convection) for an hour before baking.

Mix the sauce ingredients. Prep the cheese by cutting all of the sticks you plan to use for the crust in half lengthwise. Grate or cut the remaining cheese for the top. Prep the seasoned butter by melting it in a pan, seasoning with pizza herbs and enough salt to make it sandy.

I advise building and baking this pizza on parchment paper or on a metal pizza screen.

If you're doing it on parchment, put a piece big enough for the pizza on your counter. Peel the dough ball out of its bowl and put it on the middle of the paper — no flour dusting. Use a rolling pin to roll it out as thin and perfectly round as you can. You'll need at least 3 inches (7.6 cm) of excess all the way around to wrap the cheese ring. It's OK if you roll it off the paper and onto the counter — you'll peel it off the counter when you wrap the ring.

If you're doing the pizza screen, peel the dough ball out of its bowl and put it on a clean countertop — no flour dusting. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out as thin and perfectly round as possible, letting it stick to the counter so that it won't snap back. Peel it off the counter, then transfer it on top of the screen. Re-roll the skirt of dough that hangs off the edge of the screen, to get it as thin as possible. You'll need at least 3 inches (7.6 cm) of excess all the way around to wrap the cheese ring.

Where you want the finished diameter to be, lay down your halved cheese sticks end-to-end to form a ring. Wet your finger and rub water along the dough surface in a circle just inside your cheese ring, to help form a seal. Wrap and crimp the excess dough around the cheese ring. Brush the seasoned butter all over the ring — top and sides. Get your fingertips greasy in the butter, then use them to press a firm seal all the way around your cheese ring.

Put down a thin layer of sauce, dust on some parmesan, then put on your mozzarella. Transfer the pizza to your stone/steel and bake. If you're baking on parchment rather than a screen, I recommend trimming the excess paper off around the pizza before sliding it onto a pizza peel and then onto the stone/steel.
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