Pizza Party

February 1, 2011

We love pizza.  I know I’ve mentioned that before, but it’s true.  I love making pizza myself.  I love trying different combinations or adding more of a certain ingredient that I like.  I love a margarita pizza.  My husband love pepperoni.  Meeshie is just getting warmed up to pizza in general.  She usually sticks with cheese.  We used to have to feed her something else when we had pizza but she’ll eat a slice now. 

This pizza dough recipe is so simple.  Even if you don’t like to work with yeast, you’ll love this recipe.  The only thing you have to do with this recipe is plan ahead.  The dough has to sit in the fridge for at least one day.  Trust me.  The flavor is great and it’s so easy.  You can add some flavored olive oil to the dough, I use about half garlic olive oil that I make and half regular.

Now go make some pizza.  You can even plan to have it for the big game this weekend.

Pizza Crust

  • 4 1/2 C unbleached high-gluten, bread, or all-purpose flour, chilled
  • 1 3/4 t salt
  • 1 package (1/4 oz)quick rise yeast or 1 t instant yeast
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 3/4 C water, ice cold (40°F)
    Semolina flour OR cornmeal for dusting

Stir together the flour, salt, and yeast in a 4-quart bowl  of  an electric mixer. Stir in the oil and the cold water until the flour is all absorbed using  a low speed.  Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn’t come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky.

Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper and misting it with spray oil (or lightly oil the paper). Using a metal dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you are comfortable shaping large pizzas), You can dip the scraper into the water between cuts to keep the dough from sticking to it. Sprinkle flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, dip your hands into the flour again. Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pan. Mist the dough generously with spray oil and slip the pan into a food-grade plastic bag.  Or place each ball into gallon-sized plastic bags-I prefer to place them in their own bag after I have floured and greased the dough.

Put the dough in the refrigerator overnight to rest the dough, or keep for up to 3 days. Note: If you want to save some of the dough for future baking, you can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag. Dip each dough ball into a bowl that has a few tablespoons of oil in it, rolling the dough in the oil, and then put each ball into a separate bag. You can place the bags into the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the refrigerator the day before you plan to make pizza.

On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before making the pizza. Dust the counter with flour, and then mist the counter with spray oil. Place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag and let rest for 2 hours.

At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone either on the floor of the oven (for gas ovens), or on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven as hot as possible, about 500 to 550 degrees. If you do not have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but do not preheat the pan. 

Stretch the dough to the desired size, making sure to keep your hands well floured to prevent sticking.  When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction (about 9 to 12 inches in diameter for a 6-ounce piece of dough), lay it on the peel or pan, making sure there is enough semolina flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide. Lightly top it with sauce and then with your other toppings.

Slide the topped pizza onto the stone (or bake directly on the sheet pan) and close the door. Wait 2 minutes, then take a peek. If it needs to be rotated 180 degrees for even baking, do so. The pizza should take about 5 to 8 minutes  or 8 to 10 minutes to bake, depending on the size of the pizza. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone to a lower shelf. If the bottom crisps before the cheese, then you will need to raise the stone.

Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Wait 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving, to allow the cheese to set slightly.

Makes six 6-ounce pizza crusts.

The pictures show a round pizza pan, I served the pizza on it, but cooked it on the back of a cookie sheet.


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