Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Favorite Pizza Dough
I've been searching for the perfect pizza dough for a long time. I've found many that I like, but none that have two crucial elements: practicality and taste. I love Lidia Bastianich's recipe for pizza dough, but you have to let it raise overnight and that's just rarely going to happen. I also like Martha's pizza dough o.k., although that 70+ minute raise time is still beyond me. For awhile I just bought dough at Stew Leonard's and froze it for later use. The taste is really great (you can now get a whole-wheat version that is surprisingly yummy), but I never thought ahead enough to get it thawed in time for dinner! I've found really quick recipes with little to no raise time (like in Better Homes & Gardens), but the crust always ends up tasting like a cracker or worse. So here it is! The perfect pizza dough. You can do it all in the mixer, let it sit for 10 minutes while you prep toppings and you're ready to go. If you are a do ahead kind of person you can bake the crusts (w/o toppings) then refrigerate or freeze them for later in the week. It turns out a really great thin crust, but if you like a thicker crust you can either roll it thicker or let it sit for about 10 more minutes after you've topped it. For tomato sauce I open a can of crushed tomatoes (with or w/o Italian spices) and add a generous amount of salt.
Easy Pizza Dough (from Always in Season)
4 to 4 1/2 c. flour
2 envelopes fast-rising dry yeast (I use 2 T. active dry)
1 t. sugar
2 t. olive oil
1 3/4 c. warm water (110 degrees)
1 t. salt
Put water in mixer bowl. Add yeast and sugar, stir with fork and let sit until creamy. Add oil and half flour and mix with kneader hook. Add remaining flour and salt, knead for 8-10 minutes. Let rest, covered with towel for 10 minutes. The dough may be punched down, placed in a sealable plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator for 12 hours or frozen at this point; return to room temperature before proceeding.
Divide the dough into 8 portions for 6" crusts or 2 portions for large crusts (we sometimes make 3-4 thin crust pizzas). Top with sauce, cheese and other toppings. Bake on pizza stone or cookie sheet at 450-500 degrees for 15-20 minutes.