Homemade Pizza Dough

imageWe LOVE pizza!  Homemade pizza dough is another thing I’ve been meaning to make for years now.  I think a lot of people feel that bread/yeast dough recipes can be intimidating, so I thought I’d share this post with you all to demystify the process.  It’s actually something anyone can do, and it’s really cost effective, so keep reading to check it out.

-Viv

PREVIEW:

Place all your dry ingredients (flour, salt, yeast) in the bowl of your mixer.  I’ve made this a few times now, both with all white flour and with a combination of white and whole wheat flours.  The photos in this post are cobbled together from various occasions, so even though my food processor is pictured here, I found I actually prefer using my stand-up mixer with a dough hook.  I’ve also decided that I like the dough MUCH more when it’s made without any whole wheat flour–the texture is better because of the gluten content.

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Add oil and most of the warm water called for in the recipe.  Mix until you get a ball that sticks together, but doesn’t stick to the bowl too much.  Add the rest of the water (and more), only if needed.  Keep mixing so the dough gets kneaded for a few minutes, then remove it and coat the bowl with nonstick spray before shaping the dough into a ball putting it back in.

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Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise on the counter for 1-2 hours, or until it’s doubled in size and/or passes the “ripe test,” which just means that it doesn’t spring back when you poke holes in it with 2 fingers up to the second knuckle.

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GENTLY “punch down” the dough, just to let the big air bubbles out.

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Shape the dough into a ball again and let it rest on the counter, covered loosely, for 15 minutes.

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Then, roll it out to the shape and thickness you prefer, and add your favorite toppings.  I tried two different combinations and loved them both!

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Whole wheat / all-purpose flour dough covered in pesto, waiting for cheese, chicken, and broccoli.
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Dough made without whole wheat flour, ready to bake with tomato sauce, cheese, and Italian sausage.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden and starting to blister in places, and the cheese is melted and starting to brown.

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RECIPE:

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups (190 grams) flour (I prefer it with white all-purpose flour only, but you can replace up to half of this with whole wheat flour)

1 teaspoon (6 grams) table salt

3/4 teaspoon (about 2 grams) active dry yeast

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

1/2 cup (120 ml) lukewarm water (may need more or less depending on the humidity where you are)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine dry ingredients by hand in bowl of stand-up mixer with the dough hook attached.
  2. Add the oil and most of the water.  Turn mixer on low.  Add more water as needed until the mixture forms a ball that sticks to itself.  (A little sticking to the bowl is ok, but not too much.)
  3. Turn the mixer up to medium and knead for a few minutes.
  4. Remove the dough ball, and coat the bowl with nonstick spray.  Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  5. Allow to rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.  You can complete the “ripe test” by sticking two fingers in the dough to the second knuckle.  If the dough doesn’t spring back, it’s ready.  If it’s not ready, let it rise a little longer.
  6. “Punch down” the dough gently to release the large air bubbles.  Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest on the counter for 15 minutes, loosely covered. (I just use the same plastic wrap from step 4.)
  7. Preheat your oven to 550 or the highest temperature it will reach, with a pizza stone or cookie sheet on the lowest rack.
  8. On a piece of parchment paper, roll the dough to the shape and thickness you prefer.  Add toppings of your choice.
  9. Carefully remove the pizza stone or cookie sheet from the oven and use the parchment to lift and transfer the pizza onto it.  I leave the paper underneath, as it’s easier, it prevents sticking, and that way I don’t have to mess with a pizza peel and cornmeal.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden.  Be careful not to overbake, because your pizza can quickly burn at such a high temperature!

By the way, I’ve read that you can refrigerate or freeze the dough at pretty much any step  of the process.  (I recently put mine in the fridge after #5 so I could come back to it when I was ready, but you might also find it convenient to put things on hold right after #4 or #6.)  When you’re ready to finish up, just make sure you remember what step you did last, and let the dough come to room temperature before picking up where you left off.  We’d definitely recommend trying this out.  It’s a lot easier than you’d imagine, it’s inexpensive, and it’s buckets of fun to do, which is why WE LOVE THIS STUFF!

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