Aug 17, 2010

My New Best Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough

As you must have noticed by now, we love pizza here! It’s okay to be a pizza fiend. No, really, it is. It’s by far our favorite junk food Friday meal. Since I usually top ours with not all too much cheese, my own pizza sauce and add loads of fresh veggies, I’m not quite sure just how junky it still is. Or maybe I have a different perspective on what really constitutes junk food.

I’ve tried lots of recipes over the years. Most recipes called for 3 cups of flour—sometimes even 3 1/2—on 1 cup of water, making the dough very tough to work with while it’s supposed to be incredibly supple. Maybe I just messed up but either way, it wasn’t working for me and the crust came out tasting like card-board. It was depressing.

What was even more depressing were all those times I couldn’t get the dough to rise no matter what I tried. A lot of crusts tasted kinda bland, so I upped the salt and think it really tastes better like this. Plus, I replaced the sugar with honey and that definitely worked to my advantage. Oh boy, I’ve tried and ate so many pizzas over the past few weeks trying to get the exact right recipe for us. After lots of tweaking I think I have the perfect crust for my family. This one is light, fluffy and exactly right.

Now, if you need me… I’ll be on the Stairmaster.


Ingredients:

1 cup warm water
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil 
1 1/2 tsp salt (2 tsp also works well)


Directions:

We’ll be needing yeast—I opted for instant yeast but feel free to use active dry yeast—salt and olive oil. Good pizza dough needs oil. Sorry, there’s just no work around or I would’ve found it.
Pizza Dough

You can either use your stand-mixer, food processor or hands for this. Combine the yeast and salt.
Pizza Dough

Add 2 tbsp honey. I really like the addition of honey. It adds something to the crust that I can’t really define but that I miss when it’s not there.
Pizza Dough

And add 1 cup warm water to it. Warm but still very comfortable to touch.
Pizza Dough

I let the machine spin to combine it all. Of course you can also just let it sit in a bowl for 5 minutes to activate it. Not really necessary with instant yeast but it can’t hurt either.
Pizza Dough

Add the oil and 1 cup of flour. Wait for the flour to be fully incorporated before adding the next cup. Then add the last 1/4 cup. I let the machine run until it was a supple dough.
Pizza Dough

The best pizza flour is, by far, Molino Caputo. In Holland that’s very hard to come by so I just use all-purpose flour. Gotta make do with what I have.

I took it out of the machine and kneaded it with my hands for a few minutes as well. What can I say? It works as an anti-stress formula.
Pizza Dough

Lightly oil a big bowl. Check out the timing on this shot! It’s harder than you might think!
Pizza Dough

Place the dough in the oiled bowl and spray a little oil on top of the dough as well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a draft-free place—I usually store it in my oven or microwave. I did forget about it once and turned on the oven. It was bad. Really bad.
Pizza Dough

If you’re using active dry yeast let your dough rise twice. If you’re using fresh yeast I assume you know what you’re doing and you don’t need my advice anyway! I’ll just shut up then. At least I’ll try.

 
Fast forward to 2 hours later.

My dough had risen beautifully. This makes for 2 medium or one really large pizza.
Pizza Dough

Punch it down and transfer it to a floured board. Make sure there’s flour on both sides of the dough and then only use more flour if the dough starts sticking to your hands.

Use the sides of your hands to create the border, push it down in the center and use your hand or finger tips to gently stretch the dough while turning it around.
Pizza Dough

Of course I had to get all carried away and stretch it on my knuckles as well. This does work, though, because you get to check the dough for really thin spots this way. I haven’t quite mastered the art of tossing the dough high up in the air. Well, I got the tossing part down but still have some work to do on the catching.
Pizza Dough

And there’s your pizza dough. Wasn’t too hard, was it?

The best part? It magically transforms itself into this during baking.
Pizza Dough

I’ve tried this dough several times now with fantastic results and rave comments every single time. I’m sold!

My New Best Pizza Dough
Ingredients
    1 cup warm water
    2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tsp instant yeast
    2 tbsp honey
    3 tbsp olive oil
    1 1/2 tsp salt (2 tsp also works well)
Directions
    Combine the yest, salt and honey with 1 cup warm water. Warm but still very comfortable to touch. Let he machine spin for a while or let the yest sit in a bowl for 5 minutes to activate it. Add the oil and 1 cup of flour. Wait for the flour to be fully incorporated before adding the next cup. Then add the last 1/4 cup. Let the machine run or knead until it’s a supple dough.

    Lightly oil a bowl, place the dough in the oiled bowl and spray a little oil on top of the dough as well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a draft-free place. I usually store it in my oven or microwave. If you’re using active dry yeast let your dough rise twice. Let the dough rise for a few hours, until it has doubled in size.

    Punch it down and transfer it to a floured board. Make sure there’s flour on both sides of the dough and then only use more flour if the dough starts sticking to your hands. Use the sides of your hands to create the border, push it down in the center and use your hand or finger tips to stretch the dough while. If you can, stretch it on your knuckles as well so you can check the dough for thin spots.
Meal type: pizza
Servings: 2 medium or 1 large pizza
copyright © kayotickitchen.com
May 10, 2010

Honey and Mustard Bread

This bread makes for one seriously yummy ham or turkey sandwich. But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself!