June 9, 2010

Easy Pizza Dough


Let's try some pizza dough...

{Pizza topping recipes are coming soon!}

Pizza is a fun food to make. Everybody can participate in adding the toppings. Pizza is especially fun to eat. Rather than ingest the extra calories, fats, and oils associated with pizza chain pizzas, many people will design their own pizzas, using purchased pre-made pizza dough or pre-formed crusts. That's great! But why not try making the entire pizza yourself?

Pizza dough isn't hard to make. This recipe includes only 7 ingredients. Preparation is minimal. You'll "knead" the dough with a spatula at one point, and at another point, you'll press it out onto the pizza pan. The rest of the time involves allowing the yeast to proof, the dough to increase in volume, and the pizza to bake. Go ahead--try it.

About kneading: When combining all the ingredients to form the dough, use a good-sized rubber spatula. You'll start out by stirring the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, going slowly to avoid poofs of flour all over the counter and cabinets. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl frequently. Eventually, the mixture will resemble a somewhat crumbly dough, and you'll suspect that in no way shall those unruly lumps all come together into one ball of dough. Keep kneading the dough with the spatula. Use a bit of elbow grease, and really press the spatula into the dough as you turn it and fold it. It will come together, and you'll find before you a nice, semi-smooth, undivided lump of pizza dough. Congrats.

About covering the dough: When you cover the ball of dough, use a fabric cloth. A kitchen towel or a large wash cloth will do the job.

About the room's temperature: The dough will rise more quickly if it is in a warm area. Placing the bowl on top of the preheating oven (don't put it inside the oven) may help. Don't bump the bowl while the dough is rising.

About the rising dough: The last time I made this dough, I let it rise for 40 minutes, and it tripled in volume. Thus, it was quite easy to spread the dough out on the pizza pan. The time needed for the dough to rise sufficiently will depend on many factors (the yeast, the other ingredients, the room temperature, etc), but you may find that it is ready after just 20 minutes (enough time to assemble the pizza toppings). The dough may be rather dense if it did not increase in volume significantly, but, with patient effort, you should be able to spread it out on nearly any pizza pan. If you'd like the crust to be a bit deeper and fluffier, allow some time for it to rise on the pan before you add the toppings. It will also rise as it bakes.


Easy Pizza Dough
Estimated dough preparation time: 30 - 90 minutes
Estimated time for adding toppings: 5 minutes
Baking time: 15 - 20 minutes
Serves: 4 - 6 (makes one pizza crust)

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2-1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a pizza pan.
2. Combine the water and milk and warm the mixture in the microwave for 25-30 seconds. The liquid should be just warm, not hot.
3. Pour the liquid into a medium bowl. Stir in the granulated sugar. Then add the yeast. Let the mixture stand until it becomes foamy (about 10 minutes).
4. Once the yeast mixture appears creamy, measure the flour and add it on top of the liquid in the bowl. Sprinkle the salt on top. Then add the olive oil.
5. With a rubber spatula, stir then knead the mixture until it forms a fairly-smooth ball of dough.
6. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, or lightly oil the bowl you have been using. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let it rest for 15-45 minutes, until the dough increases in size. To speed up the process, place the bowl near (on top of) the preheating oven. The more the dough rises, the easier it will be to spread it out on the pizza pan. If you're using a large pizza pan, let the dough double or triple in volume.
7. After the dough rises sufficiently, gently deflate it by tapping the surface with a floured hand. Then transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.
8. Press the dough out into a flat, round shape with a diameter of six inches or so.
9. Transfer the dough, in that shape, to the lightly greased pizza pan. Knead and press it out towards the edge of the pan until it reaches the desired diameter and thickness.
10. Spread desired toppings over the crust.
11. Bake pizza in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
12. Let the pizza cool slightly before slicing and serving.


Enjoy!

2 comments:

Annie said...

I was just thinking I ought to try making homemade pizza dough. I'll let you know how it turns out! (it might be awhile before I get around to making it . . .)

Annie

P.S. I like the "printable version" option. :-D

abigail said...

Excellent! Do leave a comment when you try it, letting me know how it went.
Glad you like the print option. It's great to get feedback about that. Having a husband who knows how to code something like that sure is useful. :)