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"Today, I'm going to show you how to make pizza in a wood-fired oven, but the recipe works great in a home oven, too," says Frankie Celenza, the Emmy-winning host of "Struggle Meals" on Tastemade. He shares three of his favorite types of pie—Margherita-Style (shown in photo), Hearty and Summer-Style—but you can play with the toppings as you like. Just keep his philosophy in mind: "Don't do an insane amount of ingredients," he says. "Less is more!" (That also applies to his very simple raw tomato sauce, which contains just two ingredients, canned tomatoes and salt.)
Pro Tip from Frankie: When stretching the dough, here are two key tips to remember. First, don't stretch cold dough; it will always shrink back. Second, don't stretch dough that's just been kneaded; the gluten is way too tight, and you'll never get anywhere. It's best to let the dough come to room temp, undisturbed for at least 2 hours, before stretching.
For two other classic Italian dishes from our Italy episode, check out Missy Robbins and Talia Baiocchi's Homemade Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Antonia Lofaso's Eggplant Parmesan.
For the dough, combine the flour, salt and yeast in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add the water and mix on low speed for 10 minutes. The dough will be tacky, but not sticky. Transfer the dough to the counter and lightly knead a couple of times until you have a smooth ball.
Place dough into an oiled large container with a tight-fitting lid (you want to limit the air flow touching the dough) and let rise, covered, at room temperature for about 4 hours.
When the dough is ready, knead for 30 seconds. Return it to the container and let rise, covered, in the fridge for at least 18 hours and up to 3 days.
Two to three hours before you plan on making the pizzas, remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into three 340-gram balls. Place each ball in its own oiled small container with a tight-fitting lid and let sit, tightly covered, until it reaches room temperature, at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes and salt and set aside.
If using a home oven, to mimic the heat of a wood-fired oven, place one pizza stone on the bottom third rack and a second pizza stone on a rack 6 inches higher. Preheat the oven to its highest temperature setting for at least an hour.
If using a wood-fired oven, light your wood off to one side and allow it to burn until the black soot on the top of the oven has burnt off, usually about 45 minutes. When an instant-read thermometer guns says the floor is 750°F, you're good to go.
Working with 1 dough ball at a time, flatten it on a well-floured surface, then stretch it until it's about 16 inches wide (see Tip). There are multiple ways to do that, but here's my favorite 2-step process: Pick up the dough by the "crust" and let gravity stretch it while you continue to rotate it. Think of this method as similar to turning a steering wheel in a never-ending left (or right) turn. Once the dough is at least 10 inches across, place 2 fists under it and pull them apart while rotating the dough and letting gravity pull it as well. It takes practice, but is very rewarding. Place the stretched dough on a well-floured surface. (Flour is your friend when working with pizza dough.)
Prepare and bake 1 pizza type at a time, topping each stretched ball of dough with the ingredients.
Slide a pizza paddle under the pizza, then stretch the dough to the edges of the paddle and give it a little shake to make sure it doesn't stick.
Transfer the pizza to the oven. Keep an eye on the color of the crust. The pizza will be done in about 5 minutes in a regular oven and about 2 minutes in a wood-fired oven. If using a wood-fired oven, rotate the pizza several times so it cooks evenly. If using a regular oven, that is probably unnecessary. I like to also do a drizzle of olive oil and some kosher to finish.
Repeat with the remaining balls of dough and toppings.