Pizza Dough

by byn on August 14, 2011

in Bread

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One of the blog-olutions I made in February on my 1st Blog-iversary was to finally tackle my issues with yeast this year. Something about it has always made me nervous, and it’s always been one of the things I’ve been reluctant to take on in the kitchen. 

I started with something relatively simple: pizza dough. I’ve tried this recipe over the last couple years, but it’s never worked out for me, and it basically confirmed all my fears, because it never really rose. So it was time to move on, and I started with this post from Julie, and also these tips from Annie. (Note: I haven’t tried Annie’s recipe because it calls for bread flour, which I never have around. However, Danielle makes this recipe with regular all-purpose flour and says it’s still great!) Update 12/3/11: Julie’s recipe has proved inconsistent for me. The next time I tried it, the dough was super wet, and the time after that it was super tough. So I’ve moved on to Annie’s recipe, which worked out very well. This is reflected in Steps 2 & 3 below; everything else is exactly the same!

I’m going to write out this recipe a little differently, mostly so I can remember what I did, and do it again the same way!

1. Preheat your oven to 170° (this is the lowest my oven will go), then turn it off. (You’re going to use it to get the dough to rise once it’s ready.)

2. In a large measuring cup add 1/2 cup warm water. (This would usually stress me, because recipes say if your water is too hot it will kill the yeast. So if you want to be super Type A about your dough, the water should be about 110°. Yes, I tested my water). Sprinkle 2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast into the warm water.  Set aside until it’s foamy (5 minutes); if it doesn’t get foamy, your yeast was dead, or you killed it. womp womp. Start again with new yeast!

3. In a big bowl, add 22oz all-purpose or bread flour (you have to weigh it – this is 1lb, 6oz), and 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Add 1 1/4 cups room temperature water and 2 tbsp olive oil to the yeast mixture, and stir to combine. Add it all to the flour and salt, and stir until the dough comes together.

4. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough gets sticky, just add a bit more flour.

5. Grab a big oven-safe bowl, and oil it up with a paper towl. Add the dough, and turn it around to coat it with oil. Cover with a clean tea towel, and place in the oven for 30 mins – 1 hour until doubled in size. (I like to use this oven trick, because I never know if my condo is warm enough to get dough to rise.)

6. Take the dough out of the oven, and press down to deflate it. Divide it into two equal portions (I would say half this recipe makes a very generous pizza for one person, or enough for two people with a salad or something.)

6a. If you’re going to eat pizza right away, put a pizza stone or baking sheet (upside down) in the cold oven, and crank it up to 500°, to get the oven and the stone/sheet really hot (leave it in about 30 mins).

6b. If you want to freeze the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and then put into a ziploc bag, and put it in the freezer. To use frozen dough, move it to the fridge the morning of the night you want to use it, then take it out of the fridge 30 mins before you’re going to cook it to get it to room temperature. Then join right back in at the next step 7.

7. Spread out a big piece of parchment paper on the counter, and dust it with cornmeal. Press or roll out the dough on the parchment paper, using a little flour on your hands or rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking. (The pizza in the picture above was pressed out dough – it was a little thick for me. The second one I rolled out quite thin with a rolling pin, and it was perfect!). Spread with sauce and toppings (above we have peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, cheddar and feta, in the next one I did pesto, caramelized onions and cooked turkey bacon. Pretty much like this).

8. Slide a cutting board or cookie sheet under the parchment paper for support, and carefully transfer the pizza and parchment paper onto the pizza stone or upside down baking sheet. Bake for about 8-12 minutes, but keep an eye on it. The parchment paper will turn very dark brown, but don’t worry. When it’s done, use tongs to grab the pizza and slide it back onto the cutting board or cookie sheet. Finally! Homemade pizza!

I know this is a lot of detail, but this is what worked for me from reading about 5 different blog posts. I’m sure experienced pizza dough makers would roll their eyes at this, and say that it’s really not that complicated. I’ll get there!

P.S. Danielle I know you’re laughing at that salad right now.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Danielle August 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm

You know me too well!! Looking forward to the next post, I know there will be a salad in the background somewhere.

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