Why oh why do people do everything they can to not make their own pizza dough? It is just so easy… you can do it.
They buy from the local pizza place… just buy the pizza and get it over with. They buy refrigerated roll out dough. They flatten biscuits. They buy precooked pieces of bread labeled pizza crust. I’m sure I’m missing some of other dodges. If you think of some, put them in the comments.
This is a recipe that I have used almost 40 years. (Did I just let my age slip a little?) It was on the side of a Gold Metal Flour bag and I’m sure I have modified it some over the years but the principles are the same. Start with warm water. Add some yeast, oil, salt and sugar. Add twice as much flour. Keep it warm and let it double in size. Spread it out and let it set about 10 minutes if you want thicker crust. If you want thinner crust (like my 4 cheese pizza) make a smaller amount and spread it thin and don’t let it set.
The easiest 5 I have even given. I suspect I have done this over 1000 times. Once a week when the kids were young. Twice a week when I was young. And still at least monthly.
Notes: You must “keep it warm”. Here are a few tips.
- “Preheat” your bowl with hot water.
- Use water of 100-110 degrees in the dough.
- Do NOT put the bowl on a stone type counter top. Put a wooden cutting board between it and the counter if that is where you want it to let it raise.
- Cover with a heavy towel.
- Don’t keep checking it. It will take at least 35-40 minutes to double in size.
- If it is really cold, then preheat your oven to it’s lowest setting then turn it off and use it as your warm spot to raise the dough.
A Note About Yeast: All baker yeast is the same organism (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). Old fashion active dry yeast is processed differently and has less live yeast so will work slower. Other wise consider quick, cake, fast or any other adjective use approximately the same. Yes, even that “special” pizza yeast. The amount of yeast in a packet is about 2 1/2 tsp. I use balk yeast usually and use a light tablespoon (3 teaspoon minus a little) as the same thing. I also like adding the yeast to the water first to be sure I have even distribution of the little critters. Many will mix the yeast with the flour and that works also. When I make a smaller amount, I still will use a pack of yeast. I do increase the yeast if doubling.
Posted separately for easy reference in future posts (like the next one).
In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups of warm water (about 100-110 degrees) with 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar and one packet of a rapid rising yeast. Mix well. Add 4 cups of AP flour.
Mix will with spatula and then finish with a little of hand kneading to get all the flour incorporated. Add a little more flour or water to make a relatively light but not too sticky dough. Usually you won’t need to add anything. Dust with a little flour on all sides when done.
Cover in a warm place until double in size. About 40-45 minutes.
Oil a large pan. A 15 inch round pan or this is a sheet pan.
Flour your hands and spread the dough. A little flour on top of the dough helps some. Let set for about 10 minutes if you want a real thick crust.
Top as you wish. (That post is coming up next). Cook for about 20-25 minutes in a preheated 425 degree convection oven.
September 28 2014