Monday, October 25, 2010

How to Make Homemade Pizza, Part 1: The Dough

Pizza dough can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. I've made pizza dough in 5 minutes and I've made pizza dough over a few hours. You can really use any bread recipe you like as your pizza dough. Just shorten or skip the rise unless you like a thicker, breadier crust, then by all means let that baby rise!

I think the easiest way to make pizza dough is just to use a hunk of Artisan Bread in 5 minutes A Day Master Recipe. I almost always have this dough in my fridge and in a pinch, I scoop out a hunk, roll it out and go. The crust is FABULOUS!

My current favorite dough is Camille's (nope, not me!) Best Ever Bread Dough. While this dough requires a few more ingredients and steps than most pizza doughs I've used, it is truly impossible to mess up. It also has a magnificent flavor. I love that there is no need to let the dough rise. At all. I make 4 pizzas out the recipe.

The basic pizza dough recipe below is the one that started it all for us. We still use this recipe on a regular basis and I love it.

The best thing about pizza dough is that you can freeze it! I always make a double batch (or in the Best Ever Bread Dough, I just freeze half that single batch) and freeze. I wrap the dough in plastic wrap and tuck it way back in the freezer so that it freezes quickly. I then put the frozen dough in a freezer bag. I'm not perfect at thawing it and I'm trying to pin down a precise thawing process. I like to give it enough time to thaw and warm up and rise just a bit so I know the yeast is good to go. How long that takes just depends on the time of year. But I usually let it sit out on the counter all day long.

Basic Pizza Dough
1 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons oil (I like olive oil)
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour (you can substitute some whole wheat)

In a bowl, mix yeast, sugar, and water. Add in olive oil, salt and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mix to combine. Keeping adding flour by 1/4 cups until the dough is smooth and tacky, but not too sticky. Bread dough should almost always have a little annoying stick to it. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, covered, up to 2 hours.

Do you have a favorite pizza dough? I'd love to try it out!

2 Thoughts From Others:

Sarah Kay said...

I made homemade pizza the other day using storebought french bread dough from the Smiths bakery (I was in a pinch for Ava's birthday). It was GREAT! So good that I intend to try MY go-to french bread recipe for our next batch of homemade pizza. I'll let you know how it turns out. (But I also want to try the artisan bread recipe; my SIL loves it too!)

Camille said...

That's how my mom would make them when we were younger. She'd get the frozen bread dough and use that. Fresh and Easy also sells three different types of fresh pizza dough -- and they freeze really well!

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