Recipe: basic pizza dough
Whoa, it’s been a while! But I’m finally back to my Daring Bakers Challenge, this time with pizza thanks to our awesome hostess, Rosa of Rosa’s Yummy Yums. I was thrilled that she picked a nominally savory (you could make it sweet, and I’m sure Tartelette did!) recipe.
the daring bakers: we knead to bake!
The only pizza dough I’ve made is the recipe out of the KitchenAid recipe book. You know the one I’m talking about – the book that comes with the KitchenAid stand mixer. It’s a good recipe and we have taken to making thin crust pizzas with it. This month’s challenge was a little different. For one thing, it required cold water instead of warm water.
That’s because it called for instant yeast instead of active dry yeast. What’s the difference? Funny you should ask. There is indeed a difference. I know this because I used active dry yeast the first time, thinking it was the same. It is not the same.
pouring olive oil
When I made the pizza dough with active dry yeast, the yeast never activated and we didn’t get that lovely aroma when the dough baked, or those nice pockets of air in the bread… Since it was thin crust, we could overlook the mistake and it was fine, just not delicious.
The second time around, I had instant yeast in hand. See, I’m trainable. I noticed that this dough wanted to jump out of the mixer, so I took it out and kneaded by hand – which is a really therapeutic activity.
chopping into 6ths
brushing with oil (i had no spray thingy)
The dough balls went into the refrigerator overnight. The next day after they had been out for 2 hours, it was time to toss the dough. Problem with that is I’ve had tendonitis in my wrist for over a month and it was nearly impossible to toss the pizza and get a shot of it. I asked Jeremy to try it, but I could see that was going nowhere fast. I stretched the dough on my fists, but no tossing. They turned out well enough.
favorite toppings: mushroom and pepperoni
I kept the toppings simple since this was our second go of it. I also used sauce from a jar because my patience was wearing *this* thin. We don’t have a pizza stone and my pizzas were small enough that they worked just fine on a baking sheet (right side up). I let ours bake for 10 minutes instead of 8. I’m not sure if that is because I like my pizzas more bubbly or because our altitude requires more cooking time.
right outta the oven
The crust was beautifully crispy with that wonderful yeasty flavor of fresh bread. Jeremy ate two of the pizzas in one evening. I had a good time of it and now I have two pizza dough methods to choose from when I want to make pizza. Thanks so much to Rosa for hosting. Be sure to check out the rest of the Daring Bakers’ creations this month and pay homage to our beloved founders Lis and Ivonne
Basic Pizza Dough
Original recipe taken from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
Makes 6 pizza crusts, about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter.
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 tsps salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 cups water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 tbsp sugar
cornmeal for dusting
Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer). Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water. [NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.] Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas). [NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.] Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball. [NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.] Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days. [NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.]
On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C). [NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan. Jen used a regular baking sheet, not the back of it.] Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss. [NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.] During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping. In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again. You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter – for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes. [NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.] If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.