Pizza experiment: Cook’s Illustrated dough, two sizes

From left: Crust not stretched thin enough, and one stretched just about right.

Having finally found a couple dough recipes that yield great at-home pizza with no “hacks,” I kinda don’t need to experiment anymore. But what fun would life be without futzing with something that works?

See, I’ve been using both the Kenji Lopez-Alt NYC-style pizza recipe and the Cook’s Illustrated thin-crust pizza recipe more or less equally at home. Though, truth be told, I turn to the CI version a little more often because it’s not as hydrated and is easier to work with. (I often end up making my doughs around 11 p.m. and put a premium on the nonsticky, easier-to-clean version.)

Anyway, the problem I’ve had with both these doughs is that they call for you to stretch the round out to 13 inches. My (round) pizza stone is … exactly 13 inches in diameter.

So I either have to stretch to 12.5 or 13 inches and be super careful about placing the pizza on the stone or have to make smaller pizzas, which, of course, end up being too thick (left-hand photo, above).

So tonight I made two batches of the Cook’s Illustrated dough. The first batch I prepared and divided as directed — in half to make two rounds.

The second batch, however, I decided to divide in thirds.

Batch 1: Two portions, each 396 grams
Batch 2: Three portions, each 265 grams

I’m going to try a couple things with the smaller portions. First, I’m going to stretch them out to a size I’m comfortable with on the stone — usually around 11 inches.

Second, I’m going to stretch one of them to near 13 inches and see just how thin I can get this pizza. We’ll see.

The nice thing about not having to experiment with the dough (this is pretty much foolproof pizza) is that now I can concentrate on sauce and toppings. I’ve been taking topping requests from the wife now. This coming Pizza Night, we’re going to do brussels sprouts à la Motorino. But I’ll be marinating them in olive oil first; I’m hoping that helps me avoid burning them as I have been. More on that another time.