Wednesday, January 30, 2008

pizza dough!


1 cup warm water
1 package yeast
1.5 tbsp sugar
0.5 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2.5 cups flour


yes, i know it's lengthy, but i've worked hard to make this dough awesome, so i wanted to share everything i could remember!

"proof" the yeast. (mix water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl and let sit for about 10 minutes. it should be foamy and stuff afterwards, indicating your yeast is alive. if it's not foamy or bubbly, chuck it and try again with new yeast.

add in the salt, oil, and flour till it's all or mostly in the mix, and turn onto a floured surface. knead it well with floured hands for about 10 minutes. don't tire yourself out right away, because 10 minutes can be a long time, but don't be lazy either! work the dough well. if it seems too "sticky" work in a little more flour at a time (you may need to add up to a half cup more), and if it's too hard and stiff, you can try wetting your fingertips and working in some water a few drops at a time. eventually this blob of flour, yeast, and water will magically transform into pizza dough. it will just kind of become sticky-tacky and smooth and lovely. it'll be like you've created a masterpiece. form your masterpiece into a little sphere.

in a bowl (i use the same bowl because i hate doing dishes, but a clean bowl actually works better), roll your ball in a couple teaspoons of olive oil (this is not necessary but it makes it more tasty and delicious, i promise, and it also makes it easier to get out of the bowl later), cover the ball in the oily bowl with a wet cloth, and sit it someplace warm for about an hour. if your kitchen gets really cold in the winter like mine does, you can turn the oven to 200f and set the bowl on the center of the stovetop, or put it on top of your fridge, or just risk it and let it sit for 90 minutes instead.

when you come back, your dough should have doubled in size. roughly. don't go nuts over exact proportions, because you're just going to do the best part ever at this point:

make a good strong fist, haul back, and *punch* your dough ball to deflate it. seriously. put energy in it. it's great stress relief. and while you've destroyed something awesome, it's all in the name of making something more awesome: pizza dough.

turn your deflated dough onto a floured surface (or not-- it's pretty greasy), and knead it for about a minute or so to get it back to being "dough-like."

now it's ready to use, or ready to store. cut your ball in half to make two roughly 12-14" pizzas. you can store the dough in an airtight container (i use zippered plastic bags) in the fridge for a few days, or freeze it. i rarely do either-- usually when word gets out there's fresh pizza dough made, we're having pizza RIGHT NOW.

to turn your dough into a pizza, flour the counter top, flour your fingers and a rolling pin, and take your half-ball of dough and start molding and stretching it into a little circle. if you're really hardcore, you won't need a rolling pin, but i am not that hardcore. once you've got a good circle started, start rolling it onto the counter in all directions, spreading it out evenly until you get to your desired thickness. the dough isn't going to rise too much more in the oven, so go ahead and make it as thin or thick as you like. i like mine really really thin, so i go until i worry about it stretching apart.

sprinkle some corn meal on your baking pan-- i HIGHLY recommend a pizza stone for this, but if you don't have one, a baking sheet or cookie sheet will do fine-- and lay your dough out on that. if you don't have cornmeal or dont want to use it, a little bit of flour will do fine too. technically spray oil will also do, but you may not want the extra fat and grease.

top with toppings, and bake at 500f (or as high as you're comfortable making your oven go) until the crust is browned.

ps: your pizza may not be round. don't worry. it'll still taste delicious!

potential futures for this dough:
breadsticks (cover with garlic salt and olive oil!)


Andrew said...

If it is cold I will put the bowl on top of the TV/Cable box to rise, its always nice and warm there!

Jennifer said...

that's an awesome idea!

shweetpotato said...

Gotta try this, I used another recipe for my pizza and it was just ok, I like that this one has a lil sugar in it :D I like my dough kinda sweet, will use this next time, can you do other breads with it besides pizza?

Jennifer said...

hi shweetpotato! thanks for your comment.

the sugar helps the yeast rise better, but the amount used does make the dough a little sweeter. i've never made other breads with it, but it does make great breadsticks to go with spaghetti or lasagna. If I try to make other bread with it, I'll let you know!