Friday, September 4, 2009

Pizza Dough

I have been making my own pizza pretty regularly for nearly a year. It has become something of a Sunday tradition for our family. We all look forward to it. We've taken a bit of a hiatus from pizza making through most of the summer, since the warm weather and hot hot oven do not go well together. I have been asked by a few people if I have a favorite recipe for pizza dough. As it turns out, I totally do. I posted previously on my personal blog, about making pizza (and having an oven fire). I gave my mom's pizza sauce recipe there.

Here's a link to the dough recipe I use. Since I'm not really sure how recipes and copyright and the internet work/don't work together and I try to respect people's property rights, I'll let someone else give you the dough recipe that I use. I got it from this book: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. It has a chapter on pizza and flat breads. So go get the recipe and come back here and I'll tell you what I do with my dough for the rest of the instructions.

So, after I've made my dough and let it rise and chilled it, I turn on the oven to 550 degrees with my pizza stone inside, then I dust the top of the dough with a little flour, and then cut of a grapefruit sized piece of dough with a serrated knife. After that, I fold the dough inside out by taking a bit from the middle and folding it over and tucking it under the bottom all the way around to make a nice smooth ball. There's no kneading here. Then I use a fair bit of flour since it's so sticky to work with and shape a nice flat pizza shape. I don't make huge pizzas, but I do like the crust thin, so aim for 10-11 inch diameter pizza. Before dressing the pizza, I put it on my pizza peel that's covered with a good sprinkling of cornmeal (to help it slide off). I bought mine at my local Italian Market; I feel so cool when I use it. Then I dress the pizza with my mom's pizza sauce, some fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. The kids like pineapple on their pizza and D likes some meat; I'll occasionally indulge them. Even if the oven hasn't fully heated up, I gently wiggle the pizza off the pizza peel onto the pizza stone. Close the oven, let it cook for about 5-10 minutes. I usually cook it for 10 minutes and turn it around half way through to get it to brown evenly. Take it out, let it cool a bit and serve. Delicious!

Here's my second favorite recipe, given to us by some friends along with pizza pans for our wedding:

Traditional Pizza Dough

2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
3/4 cup warm water (or more depending on how dry your climate is)
1 tbsp olive oil

Mix flour, salt, yeast, sugar in medium bowl
Add water & oil
Mix to a soft dough, knead on a floured surface 10 minutes, until smooth (or 2 minutes in KitchenAid mixer).
Place in greased bowl and cover with cloth. Let rise in a warm place 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Punch down and knead briefly. Shape dough into 2 thin crust pizzas or 1 thick crust.

 For thick crust, put on favorite toppings and cheese and cook at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until done and cheese is bubbly.

For the tastiest, cripiest crust, dress your pizza without the cheese. Then cook at 500 degrees for about -4 minutes until the crust firms and the toppings start to cook. Remove from oven and then remove from pan. Top with cheese and fresh herbs. Place back in the oven carefully and cook ntil the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly ans starting to brown (about another 3 minutes). You have to watch this and you need lots of space, but it's worth it.

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