For the pizza dough
5 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cups tepid water
1 packet of traditional Fleischmann's dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons or 8g)
For the pizza dough
Extra flour to harden the dough after the second rise
about 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
about 1 teaspoon salt
To make the dough
o Place the yeast in 1 1/2 cup of tepid water, stir, and then let it rest for about 15 minutes. If the mixture bubbles up, then the yeast is proofed and ready to be used to make the dough.
o Place the 5 cups of flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the bowl. Add the proofed yeast and a cup of so of water. Mix well. Add the remaining water and work into a pizza dough.
o Place the pizza dough on a lightly wooden board and knead for about half an hour, "punching" the dough as much as possible until the dough is shiny and malleable. Alternatively, a Kitchen Aid can be used.
o Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a large container and cover. To avoid drafts the dough can be placed in a conventional oven that is NOT turned on. Let the dough rest for three to four hours or until it doubles in size.
o After the pizza dough has doubled in size, knead the dough once again.
o Place the kneaded dough in a bowl, cover and let it rest for about 2 hours.
o After the dough has rested and increased substantially in volume, remove from bowl.
o Whatever dough is still left along the edges of the container -- the raratura (scraps) remove and then add extra flour to it. Obviously, for those who like this style of pizza, a portion of the pizza dough can also be used. In any case, the dough to make raratura is harder than the dough used to make regular pizza dough. Knead the dough that now contains extra flour and shape into a ball.
o Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
o Oil the tips of your fingers and stretch out the dough in a large aluminum baking sheet greased with Crisco (lard).
o Cut indentations into the pizza with a knife, scoring the dough diagonally.
o Add a touch of extra oil if necessary to the top of the pizza.
o Sprinkle a touch of salt to the top of the pizza.
o Bake the pizza in a 400 F degree oven for about about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pizza dough is golden.
o Serve warm or at room temperature.
Pauline Fresco noted that her mother always made large batches of pizza dough, so she always had enough scrapping to make raratura. It's possible that in the 1930s home cooks in Casacalenda may have seasoned the pizza dough scraps with more than salt (such as rosemary) but her own mother did not use any herbs for this particular style of pizza.... Photo: Mary Melfi.