29 Oct, 2008
Pizza dough recipe – the best thus far
Posted by andrea tomkins in: - iKnead
I have to admit, I always feel a ping of excitment when this happens:
I used to buy my own pre-made pizza crust, but you know what? It was, meh, okay, not great, just okay. Sometimes it was stale. Sometimes it would crack and break on the way home. And I was annoyed by how much sodium was in it. Does pizza crust really need so much sodium?
I’ve been experimenting with recipes for homemade pizza dough for weeks. I think I finally have it figured out. This recipe is from my old Joy of Cooking. It’s probably my favourite standby cookbook. If you like DIY pizza, I recommend trying this one. It’s really easy to make your own pizza. This ones doesn’t take that long to prepare and makes a lovely crust too.
Recipe for Pizza Dough!
You will need:
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water
3 1/2 – 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour* (unbleached bread flour worked well for this recipe)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs salt (Optional. I add a pinch of sea salt.)
1 tbs sugar (Optional. I usually make it without. Use sugar if you like a puffier crust.)
* I normally use 1 cup Robin Hood multigrain flour and 2 cups (plus a bit) unbleached stone ground white flour.
Combine the yeast and the warm water in a large bowl. Let stand for 5 – 10 minutes until yeast is dissolved and is starting to foam up.
Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Mix until it’s all holding together. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Don’t skimp on the kneading! The dough should be smooth and elastic, tacky, not sticky, when you’re done.
Transfer it over to a bowl that you’ve lightly coated with additional olive oil. Turn the dough over to coat completely. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean and floured dishtowel and let rise in a warm place. I like to put mine in the oven, which has been preheated for about a minute (then turned off). Keep it in there for about 90 minutes until it’s about doubled in volume. (See pic at the top of this post. Wee! Who knew baking could be this exciting?)
Punch the dough down and divide it in half. At this point you can use all the dough to make one large thick-crust pizza, two smaller pizzas, or just use the one half to make one large thin crust pizza. (And freeze the other half for next time! This is my preference.)
Regardless of the path you have chosen, roll your dough into a ball and let it rest, loosely covered, for about 10-15 minutes. While it’s resting, preheat the oven to 450F. Dust your baking stone or baking sheet with cornmeal (don’t skip this step!), flatten the dough and roll it out flat. Brave? Let your kids have a go. They might surprise you by not dropping it on the floor.
The dough will be fairly elastic, so you’ll have to stretch it out with your rolling pin. Place the dough on your baking sheet. To prevent the toppings from making the crust soggy, brush the top of the dough with a bit of additional olive oil. Use your fingers to push dents into the surface of the dough. This will prevent air holes bubbling up as it bakes. Let it rest for 10 minutes while you prep your toppings.
Now add the toppings – whatever you like. Sometimes I do the tomato sauce thing as a base, sometimes I’ll use BBQ sauce or pesto or just plain olive oil. Meat and veggies go on top, then the cheese.
Our faves topping combinations include:
- fresh pineapple and bacon (chop it in small pieces and fry before adding to the pizza), mozzarella
- pepperoni and cheese
- BBQ sauce, chicken, red onion rings, feta cheese.
When you’re ready, pop it in the oven. Depending on the thickness of your crust, it’ll take about 12 minutes (give or take) to bake. Broiling it for a couple minutes at the end will make your cheese nice and brown.
Let me know if you decide to try this recipe! I hope you do, because it beats everything else out there.