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Pizza Dough

01/11/2010

As predicted, these past weeks have proven to be full of baking. Unfortunately, I bake and no one eats–that was the sad case of the Mexican Chocolate Cookies, the Pear Bread, and the Sparkling Ginger Chip Cookies, anyway. So I decided to divert my need to play with flour into something that didn’t involve sugar–namely, pizza dough.

Homemade pizza has long been a favorite of mine–the vegetables never have the same cripsness in restaurants. But we’ve always used a store-bought dough. Clearly it was time to change that. This recipe was fairly easy and very fast (in terms of active cooking time). While my dough did not rise at all, it tasted good, but was a very thin crust pizza. However, the doughy edges would suggest that if you wanted, it could definitely be a thicker, chewier crust.

Taking a page from my uncle’s book, I decided to play with toppings and made a little pizza with sauteed leeks and caramelized onions. It was really tasty. This was my first time cooking with leeks and, wanting to get a feel for the flavor, I found myself repeatedly picking at the pan and eating the little medallions plain and with crusty bread while I waited for the rest of the meal to come together.

Pizza Crust
Adapted from the New York Times

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
3/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1. The morning or ideally the day before cooking, prepare the dough. Using a hand whisk, combine the flours, yeast and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in 1 1/2 cups cold water and olive oil until a rough dough forms. Set the bowl on the mixer and, using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and beat for 4 to 6 minutes, until it becomes a wet and vaguely menacing mass. (If it forms into a ball, lower the mixer speed to medium-high. If not, stop the mixer to scrape down the sides once.)

2. Scrape and pour the dough onto a heavily floured work surface. Keeping your fingers, the countertop and the dough well floured, fold one dough end over the other so that half the floured underside covers the rest of the dough. Let rest for 10 minutes.

3. Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Place each ball on a well-oiled plate, generously dust with flour and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it is at least doubled in size, about 3 hours.

4. Punch the dough balls down, shape into rounds and place each in a quart-size freezer bag. Refrigerate dough between 1 and 24 hours. Makes 2 balls.

5. Take dough out of bags and shape into desired shape by stretching and using a rolling pin. Be sure to flour the work surface, pin, and hands. Spray pizza pans with Pam. Place dough on pan and continue shaping. Bake for 10-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

6. Pour desired sauce on to crust (my personal favorite is Don Pepino’s pizza sauce), place toppings, cover with cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes more until desired done-ness has been achieved.

Pizza Dough on Foodista

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