01/12/2008



Homemade Pizza

For my birthday, Pranas got me a book called Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and it is amazing! I highly recommend it if you’re at all interested in breadmaking.

artisan bread in 5 minutes a day

With it, I decided to make my first pizza with dough from scratch. You can use any number of their dough recipes to make pizza crust, but I chose to use the Olive Oil Dough recipe because I had olive oil on hand. The recipe below makes four one-pound loaves, and you can refrigerate the dough and use it whenever you need it, but I halved the recipe to make two pounds’ worth of dough rather than four. This recipe is for the full four pounds, feel free to half it or double it as needed.

pizza

Olive Oil Dough
Prep Time: Approx. 5 minutes, not including rise time
Yield: 4 one-pound loaves—you’ll only need one for the pizza, refrigerate what you don’t use for future pizzas or bread

2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1) Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with the water in a large bowl.

yeast, salt, sugar
Yeast, salt, sugar…

olive oil and water
…then olive oil and water. Mix until just combined.

2) Mix in the flour without kneading. I kind of like kneading bread so I had to resist the temptation. This is very wet dough and therefore it does not need to be kneaded. You can just use a spoon (like me) or a 14-cup capacity food processor with a dough attachment if you happen to have one, or a heavy-duty stand mixer with a dough hook. Don’t try it with a puny hand-mixer or a light-duty stand mixer—you’ll never get the dough off the beaters and you may even break it. If any of the flour gets left behind, work it in very gently with wet hands.

before mixing
Before mixing…

after mixing

…after mixing. Note: You will have about twice this amount of dough if you are using the full recipe. Again, mine is halved.

3) Cover it (not airtight—I just place a clean dishtowel over it. You can use anything that’s not going to seal in the air) and let it rise for approximately two hours at room temperature until it collapses or flattens on top.

You can use the dough immediately or refrigerate it and use it as needed within the next 12 days. Again, make sure whatever you store your dough in is not airtight.

————————————————

Now for the pizza! First, preheat your oven to 500 or 550 degrees, depending what your oven’s highest setting is. Mine only goes to 500, so that just means it has to cook a little longer. I used my dough immediately, but you can refrigerate before using. With wet or lightly floured hands, tear off a 1-pound ball from your dough. This will be roughly the size of a grapefruit, or 1/4 of the given recipe.

The book has this whole baking stone thing where they say you need a baking stone for almost everything. I don’t have one, so I took a chance and used a pizza pan (you can also use a cookie sheet without sides). Grease it up or put parchment paper down on it.

Then, roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface and shape it into something that resembles a pizza. Resist the urge to add a bunch of flour and take all the stickiness out of the dough. A little stickiness is good. Then transfer this to your baking surface and fix whatever imperfections may have occurred during the transfer. This isn’t a looks contest, though. It just has to taste good.

Now, the toppings. I used standard marinara sauce, good mozzarrella cheese, and pepperoni as that is my perfect pizza. You can use whatever you want! Go crazy. Put down a healthy layer of sauce—as much as you like on your pizza.

Lots of cheese (put on a bit more than you think you’ll want—it looks like a lot of cheese until it’s melted).

And pepperoni (or your toppings of choice).

To really bring out that olive oil taste and add some extra zest, I drizzled the top lightly with olive oil and then sprinkled garlic powder over it. Now put it in the oven for 8-12 minutes. Fast, right? The cook time really depends on your oven temperature and quality. Mine had to cook about about 12 minutes. Just watch your pizza to see when it’s done. Note: Don’t rely on the crust to tell you when it’s done. This is an oil-based dough, so it’s not really going to crisp up very much on the edges. The crust is going to stay nice and airy and tender, but it will brown a little bit. The important thing is to watch the toppings. It’s done with everything is nice and golden-brown and cooked through. Just bake it to your desired level of doneness (I like my chese all nice and brown on top—some people prefer it to be melty and gooey. Work with your preferences.)

Let cool, cut, and serve!

Awesome. So much better and cheaper than frozen pizza. I loved this dough, it has a great olive oil flavor and is so moist and delicious when baked. Next time I think I’ll try one of the book’s other suggested pizza doughs and use one that will get really crispy when baked to see how that works out. I’m really looking forward to experimenting with this book! You’ll definitely be hearing about my results. :)

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