Ruth GresserOwner and chef Ruth Gresser grew up cooking with her mother, who owned a catering business in Baltimore, Md. Ms. Gresser cooked her way through Grinnell College in Iowa before moving to San Francisco, where she cooked for several years at Friends a Cafe and at Le Trou Robert. In 1987, she graduated summa cum laude from Madeleine Kamman's Classical and Modern French Cooking School in Glen, NH. She then moved to Washington, DC, where she has helped open four popular restaurants: Pizzeria Paradiso Dupont Circle, Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown, Blue Plate and Obelisk. Ms. Gresser has been the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including the Women's Chefs and Restaurateurs Madeleine Kamman Scholarship and a guest chef appearance at Alice Waters' renowned Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA. She has also been profiled in The Washington Post Magazine, The Washington Business Journal and by Georgetown University Television. Ms. Gresser has been a chef demonstrator, contributor and panelist for The Smithsonian Institution and for FreshFarm Markets in Washington, DC. She is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs.
Hi, I am Ruth Gresser from Pizzeria Paradiso and we are making pizza today. Right now I'm going to show you how to make pizza dough by hand. So, the first thing I'm going to do, I have a pound of flour in this bowl, and the first thing I'm going to do is just dump it right on the counter. The best thing about making pizza dough this way is you hardly need any tools, and its just very simple, and its fun. So, you dump the flour on the counter and then you create a well in the center, and you pour in your water. I have got ten ounces of water here. You want water that is just over a 100, because the next thing that you're going to do is you're going to sprinkle the yeast on top, and you need water that is the right temperature so that its not too hot, so that it doesn't kill the yeast, but its warm enough for the yeast to grow. Then you just take your fingers and use them to mix the yeast into the water. As you do that you will see that some of the flour comes in, and that is fine, it gives the yeast a little something to feed on, because they're in there reproducing right now. You can see its starting already, you can see the bubbles on top of the water, and that's the sign that the yeast are alive and doing their job. So, you just let that sit for a couple of minutes and let the yeast start to work and grow. The next step will be adding the oil and the salt. So, we've got a teaspoon of yeast in with ten ounces of water in the flour, and its been sitting for a little bit to start to grow. Now we're going to put in a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of salt, and then we're just going to mix that in a little bit, into the water and the yeast. So, you can see that the yeast is gotten kind of creamy and its proofed nicely. So, now we're going to start to make the dough itself by working in the flour. You want to start gently because you don't want to break the wall of the flour and have the water and the yeast run all over the place. So, you slowly mix in the flour into the yeast mixture. As you're doing this you will start to hear the yeast actually proofing and growing, and it will sort of sound almost like rice crispies. So, you keep working in the flour, and as you can see over here it's starting to get less liquid. When we get around here, you can see at this point the mixture is not going to go anywhere, so you can start bringing in the whole wall of flour, and that's when you want to get your pizza dough cutter. The thing about using the dough cutter is that it keeps one hand clean so that you can actually use it to clean off the other hand, but the idea is that you have one hand actually working the dough and then you have the other hand working with the dough cutter. I think it was Julia Child who was reported to say that that's the best thing about using the dough cutter is that you can still answer the phone when you are making bread dough.