Saturday, January 14, 2012

Scratch-Made Pizza Dough

I'll tell it like I did on Facebook - when I told Buppy I was making pizza for dinner on Friday night and not using the bread maker to 'cheat' to make the dough, his response was, well, not real positive. The first words out of his mouth were, "Do you want me to stop and pick some up? You know, just in case." No. I don't. C'mon now - I'm usually pretty great in the kitchen. Have a little faith man!

Now I'll admit, the crust was a bit thicker than I'd hoped for. I'm definitely a thin crust kind o' gal, so next time I think I'll divide the dough and simply make 2 pizzas. What's not to love about that? I used a rectangular baking sheet as opposed to the round 12" pizza pan the recipe suggested, which might account for a bit of the thickness. Maybe not; what do I know? Whatever the case though, I didn't even mind the crust being a little thicker; it was tasty-o! Plus, the thickness seemed a bit more balanced because I loaded that puppy up with toppings. Have I mentioned I love pizza lately? 'Cause I do. Good thing I work ooouuuuuutttttt!

Basic Pizza Crust
The Taste of Home Cookbook, p. 449
Beverly Anderson, Sinclairville, NY

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp. from a jar, which is what I used)
1 c. warm water (110F - 115F)
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 - 2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
Pizza toppings of your choice

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add the oil, sugar, salt and 1 1/2 c. flour; mix until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough; I ended up using 2 3/4 c. flour total to achieve this. Turn onto a floured surface, cover and let rise for 10 minutes; I used these 10 minutes to chop my toppings. Multi-tasking!

Roll the dough into a circle or rectangle depending on the pan you plan to use. I just noticed the recipe says to grease the pizza pan and sprinkle with cornmeal. Apparently I missed the "grease the pan" part last night; my pan only got cornmeal and the dough still released perfectly. I guess either way works! Oh, and side note: instead of rolling the dough next time, I might just use floured hands to press it into the pan, which is kind of what I had to eventually do last night anyway. I'm not sure rolling is necessary, although I suppose it helps to make it all a uniform thickness. I'll let you know . . . 

Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. The recipe suggests building up the edges slightly, but I didn't do this. Since the dough was thicker than anticipated at this point, I just pressed it to fit into the pan and made it all the same thickness. You make the call though - thicker-edge crust or not? Ah, decisions. Either way, do not let the crust rise while you hash this out with your inner self. Good luck.

Bake the crust (no toppings yet!) for 12 - 15 minutes in a preheated 425F oven; it should be a little brown when you pull it. Add your choice of toppings and bake for 10 - 15 minutes longer. Viola - pizza success! After Buppy's lack of confidence in me, I had to post a picture on Facebook to assure everyone (fine, myself, I admit it!) that I can, in fact, successfully make dough from scratch. And to be honest, it was so good, I don't see myself using anything else in the future. I love that feeling.

As for toppings, my 'za has chopped onion, sliced mushrooms, chopped black and green olives, sliced deli ham, crumbled bacon, pepperoni, sauce (which I still need to try to make from scratch) and an Italian cheese blend. Yes, it's as good leftover today as it was last night for dinner, possibly better. Enjoy!

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