Aired February 22, 2013
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
About 15 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 3 1/4 cups)
About 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
Put the yeast in a small, heatproof bowl. Warm 1/4 cup water in a small pot over medium heat and pour it over the yeast. Stir with a fork and let proof for 10 minutes.
Put the flour, water, salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the yeast and paddle on low speed until the mixture comes together. Switch to the dough hook attachment and continue mixing, on medium-low speed, until the dough comes together in a ball, another 3-4 minutes. Check the dough: If its too dry, mix in a bit more water. If too sticky, add more flour.
Lightly flour a clean work surface. Turn the dough onto the surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5-7 minutes. Form the dough into a ball. Grease a medium mixing bowl with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, set the ball of dough in the bottom of the bowl and rotate to coat with the oil top the bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a slightly damp kitchen towel. Let rest in a cool, dark place until the dough increases by about half its size, 30-45 minutes.
Clean and re-flour your work surface and transfer the dough to the surface. Press down on it to deflate it. Cut the dough into thirds (or desired portions), and form into tight balls to press out the excess air.
At this point, you may place the balls of dough on a floured baking sheet covered with oiled plastic or a damp towel, and let rise for 1 hour if you plan to use the dough on the same day. Alternatively, you may place the dough on a lightly floured sheet, cover with a piece of plastic wrap moistened on the underside with oil, and refrigerate overnight. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before shaping/baking.