Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pizza Dough

The first time I successfully made pizza I was thrilled, overjoyed even. You see, my first attempt was dismal and scarred me for quite some time. It ended in a saucy doughy mess that tasted okay, but was ultimately a disaster. I'm not even going to show you a picture - it was that bad. Imagine a volcano that just exploded and you get a pretty good idea. For a long time after that I stuck strictly to making calzones. However; I overcame my fear a few months ago and have been making pizza regularly ever since. Enter: thrilled, overjoyed. So, if you have failed before, fear not, go try again!

Some of the blogs I frequent give step by step instructions to their recipes. I enjoy it most of the time so I thought I would give it a try.

Combine 1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees - should feel hot to the touch) with 2 1/4 tsp yeast. Let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells - about 5 minutes.


In the mean time, mix together 1 1/4 cups of room temperature water with 2 tbsp olive oil in a small or medium bowl.


In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of bread flour and 1 1/2 tsp salt.


Once your yeast has swolen, mix it in with the water and olive oil.


Then slowly add to the bowl with the flour. I use my handy dandy Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, but you can also do this by hand (I did many times before I got my stand mixer) or food processor. It's the same idea - just make sure your dough looks like it should in the end.


Process until the dough is smooth and elastic and forms into a ball.


Next step (not pictured): turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few strokes to form a nice ball. Seriously, 3 or 4 strokes is all you knead. I am a big fan of no kneading.

Then, place in a deep bowl coated with cooking spray (or olive oil).

Allow to rise for 1 1/2 -2 hours.


Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and press to deflate it.


At this point, you can take a number of courses with your dough. The one I chose here is to divide it in two and freeze it for later use. You can also turn it into a pizza or calzone right away.


To freeze, wrap each half in clear plastic wrap...


...and place in airtight container for storage in the freezer. To use later, allow the dough to thaw in the fridge for about 24 hours before it is needed, then allow it to come to room temperature - about 30 minutes.


And there you have pizza dough! I will be posting more specifics on certain types of pizza and calzones at a later date (one coming soon!). But, if you just can't wait to get your pizza cooking on, here are some basics: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees with your pizza stone in it. Then, allow the pizza stone at least 30 minutes in the heated oven before cooking on it. Cook pizzas for 10-12 minutes and calzones 15-18 minutes. If you have any more questions, see this tutorial on Annie's Eats. I learned everything I know about pizza dough from her blog.


Recipe:
Yield: 2 medium pizzas or 4-6 calzones

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
1 1/2 tspsalt
Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl


Combine 1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees - should feel hot to the touch) with 2 1/4 tsp yeast. Let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells - about 5 minutes. In the mean time, mix together 1 1/4 cups of room temperature water with 2 tbsp olive oil in a small or medium bowl. In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of bread flour and 1 1/2 tsp salt.

Once the yeast has swolen, mix it in with the water and olive oil. Then slowly add to the bowl with the flour. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic and forms into a ball. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few strokes to form a nice ball. Place in a deep bowl coated with cooking spray (or olive oil) and allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and press to deflate it. Divide dough in two and use to make pizza, calzones or freeze for later use.

Source: slightly adapted from Annie's Eats

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