Monday, May 18, 2009

pizza crust (from scratch!)

I did it! I did it! i finally made a good pizza crust - without the help of boboli or pilsbury!
i have been experimenting with some different recipes and different food blogs' techniques.
one site especially, smitten kitchen - she gave some great advice on her pizza dough. i think i have told you before, that i am not a baker. but i am realizing i want to be! pizza crust was one of those things that i was bound and determined to get right. i had absolutely no idea what dough should feel like, or not feel like. except that all of the recipes i have tried before turned out small, cause i couldn't get the dough to roll out - and they turned out puffy. so i guess i would tell you, if you have no point of reference as to what a dough should be, if a dough won't roll out - it's not right. if a dough won't stretch when you pull on it, it's not right.
follow her advice and you will get it right, just like i did!!
read below - and this recipe is all hers... my notes are italicized and bold
the picture below is my creation :)

Really Simple Pizza Dough
Makes enough for one small, thin crust pizza. Double it if you like your pizza thick and bready.
1 1/2 cups flour (can replace up to half of this with whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Stir dry ingredients, including yeast, in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can. Dump all clumps and floury bits onto a lightly floured surface and knead everything into a homogeneous ball.
(here's the great advice...) If you are finding this step difficult, one of the best tricks I picked up from my bread-making class is to simply pause. Leave the dough in a lightly-floured spot, put the empty bowl upside-down on top of it and come back in 2 to 5 minutes, at which point you will find the dough a lot more lovable.

Knead it for just a minute or two. Lightly oil the bowl (a spritz of cooking spray perfectly does the trick) where you had mixed it — one-bowl recipe! — dump the dough in, turn it over so all sides are coated, cover it in plastic wrap and leave it undisturbed for an hour or two, until it has doubled in size.

Dump it back on the floured counter (yup, I leave mine messy), and gently press the air out of the dough with the palm of your hands. Fold the piece into an approximate ball shape, and let it sit under that plastic wrap for 20 more minutes.

Sprinkle a pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal and preheat your oven to its top temperature. (my sister, elisabeth, also recommended cranking your oven to the very hottest setting - and i am now a believer!) Roll out the pizza, (i rolled out my dough on the counter and when i went to pull it off, it stuck to the counter. so i did as she suggested, i covered it back up with the plastic wrap, made my pizza sauce, came back, and it was as soft as ever! i was so happy!) toss on whatever topping and seasonings you like. (I always err on the side of skimpy with toppings so to not weight down the dough too much, or if I have multiple toppings, to keep them very thinly sliced.)

Bake it for about 10 minutes until it’s lightly blistered and impossible to resist.
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Nancy said...

Yay! I was wondering around the grocery store last week looking for some pizza dough.. but I really wanted to do it myself! So I put off making my goat cheese, tomato, basil.. who knows what creation I have been trying to make until I could figure out how to do it. Great minds think alike... thanks Jamie ;)

Cassidy said...

Yay. I am going to try your recipe and tips Friday. I was hoping you would blog your dough experience:) What I have trouble with is the center of the dough not coming out totally cooked, but the cheese is very brown! I will keep practicing.