I was a little tired when I got home last night, but the thought of handmade dough sounded comforting. And it's really so much easier than you might think. I don't even break out the mixer for this one (and I am notoriously lazy about handmixing as a rule), just stir it all together with a wooden spoon and then knead it well and leave it to rise in the warmest place I can find.
TJ's sausage, red onions, roasted bell peppers (also from TJs), cheese
These are our standard pizza toppings because I always have this stuff on hand. We both prefer cheeses other than mozzarella. Parrano is our usual standby - it's a little like gouda.
I like a super thin crust, so I roll it out accordingly.
I pre-heat the oven as high as it will go (500F) with the pizza stone inside. Then I pull the pizza stone out, quickly lay out the dough and the toppings and get it back inside the oven as quickly as possible. Make sure you have good oven mitts.
My go to pizza dough recipe is adapted from The Practical Encyclopedia of Baking, which I randomly picked up on sale at some point. It has step by step photos for lots of basic recipes, which I've found helpful.
Pizza Dough (makes enough for 2 thin crust pizzas or 1 thicker crust pizza)
|3/4||cup lukewarm water (just barely warm to the touch)|
|1/2||tsp sugar or honey|
|2 1/4||cups flour (I use a blend of white and whole wheat)|
|2||tbsp olive oil|
- Mix the water, yeast and sweetener together and allow to stand for 10 minutes. The mixture should be bubbly by the time you come back to it - if it isn't, your yeast isn't working. This is called proofing and you can skip the step, but I usually at least do a quick check. The yeast needs warmth and a little bit of sugar to be active, but water over 110F will kill it.
- While the yeast proofs, measure out your flour, salt and olive oil.
- Mix everything together until it forms a dough. I often have to add just a little bit more water at this point, but you don't want to get your dough too wet.
- Knead your dough. If you used a mixer for the previous step, you might not have to knead for very long, because the mixer has done some of the work for you. I like to do this by hand, and I usually end up kneading the dough for about 10 minutes. It's a good arm workout. The dough should be nice and smooth when you are done. Form it into a ball and put it back in bowl. Cover loosely with either plastic wrap or a damp kitchen cloth and place it in the warmest place in your house.
- Let it rise for 45 minutes or so, or until doubled in size. If it's cold, sometimes my dough barely rises and it still works out. It's pretty forgiving. Roll it out to your desired thickness on a lightly floured surface.
It takes just a little bit longer than calling out for pizza, and it feels about a million times more satisfying.