Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pizza Dough

 Tonight I made an entire pizza homemade. I'm talking fresh, homemade dough for the crust and sauce cooked on the stove.  So I didn't grind the cow meat myself or make the cheese fresh, but I'm still pretty proud.  I'm ashamed to say that this was my first pizza dough experience.  The dough had excellent flavor and texture.  I had some issues trying to shape it at the end (it wouldn't stretch or roll) so I went with the "rustic" look =).

I'm still playing around with the sauce recipe.  While it was pretty good, it needs some fine tuning. Stay tuned for that recipe.
As for the crust, let me show you...(it's important to note that the recipe I used involved a stand mixer with a fitted paddle.  I do not have one of these so I just did it by hand.)

 The recipe calls for your warm water to be around 110degrees.  I couldn't quite get it up to that without making it jump to 120.  105 was fine.  (If your water is too cold, the yeast won't activate. If it's too warm, it can kill the yeast. Yeast and I have such a love/hate relationship, but I won't bore you with it.) Save yourself the time and just use a thermometer. 

Add your yeast to the warm water.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes so that the yeast can dissolve and swell.  The recipe did not say to stir before letting it sit, but I couldn't help myself.  I totally stirred it first. 

While your yeast water is sitting, mix the salt in with the flour.

Once your yeast has sit for a while, it will start to get bubbly.  This is a good sign it is activated and working.

To the yeast water, add your oil and room temperature water.

Pour into the flour

Mix until it starts to form a cohesive dough. 

Dump on a floured counter

Knead the dough until it's no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic

Put into an oiled bowl. Turn over once to coat both sides.
The original recipe says to cover with plastic.  I have always been taught to lay a warm, wet cloth over the top.  My thinking is if the plastic sticks to the bowl, it will prevent the dough from rising and we do not want that. 

Let sit for one and a half to two hours

Two hours later....

Punch dough down and divide into two.

 This is where I had my trouble.  I tried rolling the dough.  I tried stretching it into shape.  It either bounced back at me and wouldn't hold the shape or it ripped a whole in the dough.  Finally I just put it on the pizza pan and did the best I could praying it would fix itself in the end. .
After going back and reading the recipe and doing some research, I realize that I forgot to let the dough rest after it rose. This is important because if the gluten doesn't get a chance to rest, the dough will "bounce back".  Lesson learned!

Layer on your toppings and cook

The dough rose perfectly in the oven and had an amazing texture.

It made two crusts:

A bit of warning for parents out there:  Make sure you are keeping a close eye on your child while you're all wrapped up trying to shape the dough.  If your not careful you might end up with this:

Yes, that's crayon...all over my couch.  Oiy!
Mommy Fail!

The Recipe

Yield: enough dough for 2 medium pizzas or 4 calzones

½ cup warm water
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ cup water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Measure 1/2 cup warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Sprinkle the yeast over the top. Set aside for about 5 minutes, allowing the yeast to begin activating.   In a bowl combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend.  Add the olive oil and room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture.  Slowly pour the yeast-water mixture into the flour.  Mix until a cohesive dough is formed.  Pour unto a floured work space and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with a warm, wet towel and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.
Press down the dough to deflate it.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball.  (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.)  Cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.
To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone (if you have one. I used a normal pizza pan)  to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes.  Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Shape the dough with lightly floured hands.  Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil.  Top as desired.  Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

Source: adapted from annies eats

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