Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Before N left for Toronto, we made some delicious homemade pizza. N prepped the dough and then we shopped for toppings together, because we both typically like very different things on our pizzas. The pizza in the picture was his - pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers, etc. Whereas I topped mine using this recipe for asparagus and cherry tomato pizza. N did his research and discovered the best tip for making pizza dough - to give the dough time. It is the secret ingredient if you will. So N made the dough early in the day for us to use to make the pizzas in the evening. And let me tell you, this dough was fantastic. It made perfectly crispy, thin pizza crust. Just remember to make the dough in advance, and you'll be on your way to a delicious homemade pizza!
Also for those interested in making their own homemade frozen pizza, Love & Olive Oil just did a great post on that with some tips on how to make your pizza come out of the oven like it was freshly made instead of frozen. The dough recipe below could be used in that case as well.
From Fine Cooking
1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) active-dry yeast
1-1/2 cups very warm water (110°F)
18 ounces (4 cups) all-purpose flour; more for dusting
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Making the dough: Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside (a 2-cup measure makes for easy pouring; be sure the cup isn't cold). Meanwhile, put the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade; process briefly to mix. With the machine running, add the water-yeast mixture in a steady stream. Turn the processor off and add the oil. Pulse a few times to mix in the oil.
Scrape the soft dough out of the processor and onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, quickly knead the dough into a mass, incorporating any bits of flour or dough from the processor bowl that weren't mixed in. Cut the dough into four equal pieces with a knife or a dough scraper. Roll each piece into a tight, smooth ball, kneading to push the air out.
If you want to bake the pizzas as soon as possible, put the dough balls on a lightly floured surface, cover them with a clean dishtowel, and let them rise until they almost double in size, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, turn your oven on, with the baking stone in it, to let the stone fully heat.
If you want to bake the pizzas tomorrow, line a baking sheet with a floured dishtowel, put the dough balls on it, and cover them with plastic wrap, giving them room to expand (they'll almost double in size), and let them rise in the refrigerator overnight.
To use dough that has been refrigerated overnight, simply pull it out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before shaping the dough into a pizza.
Shaping your pizza: Put the proofed or thawed ball of dough on a lightly floured wooden board. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the ball. Using your fingertips, press the ball down into a flat cake about 1/2 inch thick.
Lift the dough and lay it over the back of the fist of one hand. Put your other fist under the dough, right next to your first fist. Now gently stretch the dough by moving your fists away from each other (see Video). Each time you do this stretch, rotate the dough. Continue stretching and rotating until the dough is thin, about 1/4 inch, and measures about 9 inches across. Unless your dough is still cold from the freezer, it will be so soft that its own weight will stretch it out. Alternatively, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough thinly on a floured board. If you like a very thin pizza, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round. Be careful not to make it too thin, and remember that the thinner the pizza, the less topping it can handle.
Rub a bit of flour onto a wooden pizza peel (or the back of a baking sheet). Gently lift the stretched dough onto the floured peel. Top the pizza, scattering the ingredients around to within 1/2 inch of the border.
Cooking the pizza: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Once you've stretched out your dough and placed it on a non-stick cookie sheet, top it any way you'd like. Bake the pizza until the edges turn crispy and golden brown (sorry I don't have a time for you, I'd estimate it was about 10-12 minutes - if you use a pizza stone, it will go faster). You can take the pizza off the cookie sheet and place it directly on the rack about half way through to ensure that the bottom is cooked thoroughly.