Thursday, August 9, 2012

Perfect Pizza Dough



For a long time, I have been on the hunt for the perfect pizza dough recipe. One of my requirements for the perfect dough was that it couldn't take too long to rise. Usually, I make pizza on a whim, and I don't really have time to wait 8 hours for dough to rise. 

So you can imagine my excitement when I found this dough recipe on Annie's Eats, complete with a list of tips and tricks for the perfect dough. (Click the link and check it out! It's really helpful!)

If you don't have a pizza stone, you can also use a foil-lined cookie sheet in its place. We've used this method before, and it worked well enough. However, pizza stones can be quite inexpensive (Got mine at Walmart for 12 bucks!) and TOTALLY worth it. The hot stone allows the bottom of the crust to begin baking first so it becomes crispy without burning the rest of the pizza!



Perfect Pizza Dough 

Yield: enough dough for 2 medium pizzas or 4 calzones

Ingredients:



  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2¼ tsp. instant yeast
  • 4 cups (22 oz.) flour (preferably bread flour), plus more for dusting
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 1¼ cup water, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil



Directions:

  1. Measure the warm water into a bowl.  Sprinkle the yeast over the top.  Stir until combined and allow it to sit for about five minutes, or until yeast begins to foam.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend.  
  3. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture.  With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil.  
  4. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed.  
  5. Switch to the dough hook.  Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.
  7. Press down the dough to deflate it.  
  8. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  
  9. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball.  (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.)  Cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.
  10. To bake, preheat the oven  to 500˚ F.  Place your pizza stone in the oven and allow it to heat up for 15-30 minutes.
  11. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Shape the dough with lightly floured hands.  Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil.  Top as desired.  
  12. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.



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