Every beginner cook needs some basic recipes in their repertoire. Those easy, go-to recipes that can be used for numerous dishes. If someone asked me which one of these recipes is most important to have on hand, I would have to say pizza dough.
I like pizza. I like it in the morning for breakfast, cold. I like it in the afternoon crunchy from the oven. I like it in the evening for dinner, grilled and slathered with pesto. I couldn’t imagine life without pizza. Who would be okay with that kind of life? I guess people who are gluten intolerant. Or Lactose intolerant. But that’s beside the point, almost everyone loves pizza. Well to all those pizza lovers out there, I have a secret to share with you.
Pizza is even better when you make the dough yourself. And its really super easy. Gasp!! I know. I know. I’m talking like a crazy person. But its really true. You haven’t had good pizza at home, until you’ve made the dough yourself. And its fun to make.
Here’s what you’ll need.
Pour a 1/4 cup of warm water into a small bowl. We’re waking up the yeast, you remember this step from the cinnamon bread. Right?
Give a good squeeze of Mr. Honey Bear. Oh…I’d say about 1 tbs.
Next sprinkle in a package of active dry yeast. The magic ingredient.
Give it a gentle stir, or you can just shake the bowl. Either works well. I’m a shaker, why dirty another utensil?
Allow the yeast to waken up from its slumber. Let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes until frothy and foamy.
Not quite there yet. Let it sit there a little longer. You can do it yeast. You can do it!
You make my pizza dough taste so yummy. I owe you. Coddle it, its okay.
Told you. Its magic.
Attach the dough hook to your mixer. You can mix the dough by hand, but if you have a mixer, why would you do all the work. Let the mixer work hard, that’s what its there for.
Add the flour.
Add some salt. It looks like a lot, but really its not. Camera trick.
Some olive oil would be oh so very nice.
How about the rest of the water? Sure. Of course. I don’t know why I’m writing like this. Maybe I should stop? Okay, I’ve stopped.
Last but not least, our proofed yeast mixture.
Turn the mixer on low, and mix away. Watch out for the flying flour. It likes to jump out of the bowl and make a mess, just for fun.
After mixing on low for a few minutes, dough will look like above. Turn mixer on medium high, and continue mixing until dough forms a ball and comes aways from the sides. Just like this.
Continue to knead dough on medium-high for 10 minutes. See, the mixer does all the work for you.
In the meantime, pour yourself something to drink. Sit down, put your feet up. You deserve it. Its hard work making pizza dough.
After ten minutes the dough will be soft to the touch and smooth. Slightest hint of stickiness.
Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface.
Continue to knead the dough just to form a smooth ball.
And we’re kneading.
And we’re forming.
And we’re kneading and forming.
Did someone call for a smooth dough ball?
I sure did.
Remember that hot water warming bowl tip? Well now is the time to use it. After its warmed and dry, grease the bowl with some canola oil.
Place the smooth dough into the bowl.
Turn dough over to grease both sides.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Cover with a damp cloth. We have to keep it snug as a bug in a rug.
Place the bowl in a warm place and allow to double in size, about 1-2 hours. Times may vary, depending on your warm place. Use that oven warming tip I shared last time! It works every time. Just make sure the oven is off when you place the dough inside.
If you don’t remember these tips, check out the cinnamon swirl bread post.
Bye bye. See you when you’ve doubled little dough. Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the….singing to your dough helps too.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a floured surface. I use a plastic cutting board but you could use a counter top.
Tip: Place a sheet of wax paper on the counter for easy clean up.
Using a dough scraper or sharp knife, cut the dough in half.
Cut the dough in half. I needed to say this twice.
And then in fourths.
Roll each quarter piece of dough into a tight smooth ball.
At this point you can allow the dough to rise for the second time. Loosely cover with plastic wrap, and a damp towel. Place in a warm place to double in size about 1 hour.
Or, if you are not using the dough right away, you can refrigerate them at this point as well. Just wrap each dough individually in plastic wrap, not tightly. Place in the fridge for up to two days. Allow to come to room temperature, 1-2 hours prior, when you are ready to use.
And there you go. Now you are pizza connoisseurs. You have no more excuses for buying pre-made dough from the store. Skip the local pizzeria, and make your own.
Invite the kids, friends, or family to make their own individual pizzas. Have them select their toppings. Its a fun activity that gets those you love in the kitchen with you.
Sounds like fun to me! Enjoy!
Here’s the recipe:
Basic Pizza Dough
- 1 Package active dry or fresh yeast
- 1 tsp Honey
- 1 Cup Warm Water, 105 to 115 degrees F
- 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for brushing
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4 cup warm water.
In a food processor, combine the flour and the salt. Add the oil, the yeast mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and process until the mixture forms a ball. (The pizza dough can also be made in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed until the mixture comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and starts to climb up the dough hook).
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer. The dough should be smooth and firm. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a cool spot for about 2 hours. (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled).
Divide the dough into 4 balls, about 6 ounces each. You can also make two larger pizza balls. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times. Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest 1 hour. At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.