PIZZA DOUGH (MAKES 3 MEDIUM PIZZAS)
This crust was perfectly golden, crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Perfection! Finally a crust we can all agree on. This recipe was taken from The New Best Recipe cookbook (p 662). This recipe book is fantastic and gives great step by step illustrations.
Even if you're baking just one medium pizza, make a full dough recipe. After the dough has risen and been divided, place the extra pieces of dough in separate airtight containers and freeze them for up to several weeks. Defrost and stretch the dough when desired.
- ½ C Warm water (about 110 degrees)
- 1 Envelope (about 2 ¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
- 1 ¼ C Water - at room temperature
- 2 Tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 C (22 oz.) Bread flour, plus more for dusting the work surface and hands
- 1 ½ Tsp. salt
- Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl
Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room-temperature water and oil and stir to combine.
Process the flour and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine. Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube. If the dough does not readily form into a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.
The dough will be a bit tacky, so use a rubber spatula to turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Kneed by hand for a few strokes to form a smooth, round ball. Put the dough in a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate: it is now ready to use.
USING A STANDING MIXER (what I have thank goodness!)
Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough through step 1. Omit step 2 and instead place the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Kneed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and proceed with the recipe.
WHOLE-WHEAT PIZZA DOUGH
Whole-wheat flour gives the dough a hearty flavor but slows down the rising process a bit. Because this dough has more flavor and is a bit more dense than our pizza dough made with bread flour, it works best with lighter toppings such as vegetables rather than heavier toppings such as meat.
Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough, replacing 2 cups of the bread flour with an equal amount of whole-wheat flour. The dough may require an extra 30 minutes to double in size while rising.