Monday, February 15, 2010
Best Ever Pizza Dough
I first saw this recipe at My Kitchen Cafe, (yes I go there at least once a day). Melanie adapted this recipe from Savory Seasonings and I could tell by the pictures on both blogs that it was a recipe I had to try. I made a few changes to the original recipe with complete success. Our pizzas ended up with a crispy exterior and a nice chewy center, exactly how we like it.
Best Ever Pizza Dough
Adapted by A Cooks Quest from Savory Seasonings and My Kitchen Cafe cooking blogs
**Cook's Note-The recipe does take some time to prepare so plan accordingly**
1 1/4 C warm water (approx. 120° F)
2 3/4 tsp. dry active yeast
2 T sugar
1 T honey
1 T olive oil or vegetable oil
2 tsp. salt
3 cups (16oz.) all purpose flour
In a stand mixer with a dough hook attached, mix water and yeast in bowl and allow it to proof for 5 minutes. Mix in sugar, honey and oil. Add 1 cup flour and the salt. Continue mixing in all the remaining flour until you get a nice, soft dough. When the dough comes together allow to knead in the mixer about 5-8 minutes. Remove from mixer and continue to knead by hand for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. (You can do all the kneading by hand if you want, but I like to let my mixer do some of the work for me). Shape into a ball. Place in the refrigerator in a covered container coated with olive oil overnight (or make this dough first thing in the morning and place in the fridge until dinner that evening).
3 hours before baking: Remove from fridge and either divide dough in half for two 12” pizzas or leave whole for one somewhat thicker 16” pizza. Work each piece of dough into balls. Allow the dough to come back to room temperature (this process generally takes 3 hours). I actually forgot this step and left the dough in the bowl without dividing.
45 minutes before baking: With your pizza stone on the bottom rack of your oven, preheat your oven to 500 F* to allow the stone to get hot enough (this process generally takes 40-50 minutes).
15 minutes before baking: Reduce oven heat to 475 F. Shape dough into desired pizza crust, sprinkle pizza peel, wooden cutting board or upside down cookie sheet (this is what we used with great success) with corn meal. Place pizza crust on top, then add toppings. Gently slide pizza onto the hot pizza stone and bake for 9-11 minutes.
Another tip I got from My Kitchen Cafe is to use fresh grated cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is coated with something to prevent clumping in the bag and it doesn't melt very well.
*Don't be afraid of the heat. If you are cooking on a baking stone, you will end up with a perfect crispy crust just like the brick ovens in fancy pizzerias.
**Just discovered that I can bake this crust until it is just set, remove from the oven cool then wrap in plastic and freezer. Then you will always have fabulous pizza crust ready for a quick dinner meal. Remove the crust from the freezer, allow to thaw then top with favorite toppings and bake until the cheese melts and the crust browns.