September 22, 2009

The Perfect Pizza Dough

I recently acquired a baking stone, a stand mixer and an immense sense of satisfaction from making yeast-based doughs. Successfully combining simple ingredients in just the right way so that the wonders of fermentation transform them into bread is just too satisfying for me to forgo.

My first attempts at making pizza dough sans proper preparation (i.e. proofing and resting), equipment (baking stone) and time, resulted in crust that was lacking in flavor, texture and satisfaction. However now that I have all three, I can finally indulge in tasty, crispy homemade pizza--whose crust is good enough to eat without the toppings.

I found the pizza dough recipe through Foodgawker (my new-found and preferred go-to site for recipes) and decided to try it because it was simple, straightforward and relatively quick. I've included said recipe below, but you can also find it here. This recipe produces enough dough to make two medium sized, relatively thin crust pizzas. Accordingly, I take advantage of the opportunity to make two varieties of pizza. Below you will find my latest pizza recipes. Enjoy!

Perfect Pizza Dough

Pizza or baking stone
Pizza paddle
Baking sheet (or second pizza paddle)
Rolling pin
Stand mixer (optional)

  • 1 package (approx. 2 1/4 tsp), active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water (I like to use a combination of boiling water that I heated on the stove and cold tap water...cuts down on wasting water while waiting for the tap to heat up.)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbs salt

Mix the yeast and water in a mixing bowl. I like to use the mixing bowl of my stand mixer, because it reduces waste and the number of dirtied dishes. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes in a warm place, like in a sunny spot.

Ideally the yeast should proof into a nice foam, but I've found that some bubbles and "strands" of yeast when you swirl the mixture are good enough for proper fermentation.

Then add the flour, salt and olive oil.

Mix ingredients by hand or on low speed until thoroughly combined, about a minute. Sprinkle a good amount of flour onto your kneading surface (if using your hands, do this before you mix the dough) and turn the dough onto the surface.

Knead the dough by repeatedly turning and folding the dough in half with the press of the palm of your hand for 7-10 minutes, adding flour in small increments until the dough is soft and no longer sticky.

Next, form the dough into a round, smooth ball and place in a large bowl.

Cover the bowl with a towel, and let rise in a warm area, such as a sunny patch near a window, for one hour. Try your best not to peek.

Take advantage of this hour by prepping the ingredients for the pizzas: cut the veggies and other toppings, shred the cheese, etc.

After about one hour, the dough should double in bulk and look something like this:

Preheat the oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Punch the dough (my favorite part) and turn onto a well floured surface.

Knead lightly, but firmly, for about a minute, adding flour to the dough and the surface as needed. Break the dough into two evenly sized portions, and form each into a smooth ball. Beginning with one ball, work the dough into a flat disk using a lightly floured rolling pin. Flip the dough and re-flour your surface periodically in order to prevent the dough from sticking.

Once you have rolled the dough to your preferred thickness or the size of your pizza stone, transfer the dough to a pizza paddle that has been seasoned with a tablespoon of flour and 1 -2 teaspoons of cornmeal.

Add your toppings:
When transfering the pizza to the oven, pull the rack that the hot baking stone is resting on half way out. With the front end of the paddle positioned near the far edge of the stone, angle the paddle slightly and slide the pizza onto the stone using short, jerking forward motions. Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on dough thickness and crispness preference. While the first pizza is baking, roll out and top the second ball of dough on the pizza paddle.

Remove the baked pizza with a cookie sheet. Feel free to use an ovenmit clad hand to help transfer the pizza to the cookie sheet. Place the second pizza onto the stone and bake until done. Transfer pizzas to a cutting board and let cool for a few minutes. Cut, serve and enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. That looks yummy, Alicia. My favorite crust so far has been from Peter Reinhardt, but I'm always open to new recipes. Thanks for stopping by my blog!