Homemade pizza dough is easy and delicious. The ingredients couldn't be simpler: all-purpose flour, water, olive oil, and active dry yeast. That's it. Can you say the same about store bought crust or chain delivery places? Don't be afraid to try. It takes about 3 1/2 hours start to finish. Three of those hours are just waiting for magic to happen.
The first thing you do is add tepid water to yeast in your mixer's bowl. Stir and leave it alone for 5 minutes.
Stir in olive oil and then some flour. You are going to make a sponge.
Cover your bowl and let the mixture rest in a warm place for about an hour and a half. Look at all the bubbles! Magic. Pure magic.
Use your spatula to deflate that sponge. Hear it squeak and protest the intrusion.
Fit the dough hook on your mixer. Add the rest of the flour and the salt. Mix on low speed.
Betty Crapper learned the hard way to cover the mixer with a towel for the first few minutes.
After about about 8 minutes, your dough looks like this
Shape it into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Turn to coat. Cover and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours until doubled in volume.
Turn out onto a floured surface and divide into 2 or 3 balls. I like my crust thin and crispy, so I make 3 dough balls. Wasn't that easy?
(Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking with Julia)
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water (about 80F)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Place yeast in your mixer's bowl. Add water and stir to dissolve yeast. Let yeast rest for 5 minutes, until it turns creamy. Stir the oil into the mixture. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula. Scrape down sides of bowl. Cover and let sponge rest in warm place for about 1 1/2 hours until the sponge is very bubbly and has doubled in volume.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp salt
Deflate the sponge with a rubber spatula. Fit your mixer with the dough hook. Add 2 cups flour and salt to the sponge. Mix on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium. If the dough is not coming together, slowly add flour by the spoonful. Knead dough on medium for about 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a lightly oiled large bowl. Turn ball of dough over to moisten with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, until double in volume.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 or 3 pieces. Shape the piece into a ball and then flatten into a disk. Pull and stretch to shape pizza or use a rolling pin. Have patience. If dough springs back, allow it to rest a few minutes. Work the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick, or thinner. Transfer dough to a pizza peel. Top with your favorite toppings.
Bake pizza on a stone in a preheated 475F oven. Stone should be in lower third of oven. Bake 13 to 15 minutes if you made two dough balls. If you made three dough balls, and your pizza is really thin, bake 11 to 13 minutes.
- Preheat your oven as long as possible. You want that stone hot, hot, hot.
- Sprinkle a light dusting of cornmeal on your peel to make the dough slide easier.
- The crust tastes better if you make the dough the day before. After the second rise, wrap your dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.
- Brush your crust with olive oil before you add toppings.
- Pizza dough freezes really well. Wrap dough ball tightly in plastic wrap after second rise. Place in freezer safe bag and freeze. The night before you want to use it, place dough ball in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.
- Invest in a pizza stone and peel. Both can be obtained inexpensively. Betty Crapper's pizza stone was less than $20 and her peel was less than $10 at Bed Bath & Beyond.
I'm currently loving my pizza with pepperoni, red onions, ricotta, fresh mozarella, and homemade marinara sauce. What do you love on yours?