I'm no stranger to homemade pizza, I actually make a really good one with prosciutto, pancetta, lots of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and fresh basil; but I've never made the dough. I was lucky enough to have a pizzeria not too far from me that would sell me balls of dough for a few dollars-so I never felt the need to venture off into pizza dough making. Unfortunately, the pizzeria lost their lease. So, there I was, stuck with a pizza craving out of this world and no dough. What is a Get ‘Em Girl to do? Well, I kicked off my stilettos and pulled out my KitchenAid mixer and went to work.
I started by dissolving a packet of yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) into 1 1/3 cups of warm water. I'm kind of scared of making yeast dough, for fear that I'll kill the yeast because the water is too hot-warm is relative, you know? But, for recipe's sake, let's say warm is between 105° to 110°F.
While the yeast dissolved- it took about 5 minutes or so-I prepared the rest of my ingredients for the pizza dough: 3 1/2 cups flour, a tablespoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Once the yeast was dissolved, I added these ingredients to the bowl and, using my dough hook, began mixing the ingredients together on low speed.
Now if you don't have a stand mixer, you can use your hands for this as well-just mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
At this point, I decided to use my hands to knead the dough. Nothing against using the dough hook-but I like to feel the dough just to know how far I've gone. It took about 8 minutes to get the dough where it needed to be, elastic and smooth.
At this point, it's time to let the dough rest. I placed the dough in a bowl that I added olive oil to, and I covered it with a clean kitchen towel to let it rest (and rise) for an hour. In the mean time I made the sauce for my pizza.
If you don't have a good pizza sauce recipe that you'd like to use, you can use your favorite marinara sauce. For mine I added two small cans (8-ounces each) of tomato sauce, 1/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of fresh oregano, 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, 1/4 teaspoon dried basil, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice to a small saucepan and let it simmer while the yeast rose; about 45 minutes or so.
Once the dough rose, I cut it in half -the dough makes enough for two 12 inch crusts-and rolled/stretched one half on a lightly floured work surface into a 12 inch round. I had a hard time with this part; no fault of the dough. I just watched too many pizza competitions on the Food Network and got a little carried away. I wrapped the remaining half of dough up in plastic wrap and placed it in a resealable freezer bag to freeze for later use.
So here is the pizza right before baking. Right before topping with the sauce and cheese, I drizzled additional olive oil over it and, using my fingertips, pressed dents into the dough. Oh, I also lightly salted the crust-but that's just my preference. Note: I'm using a large pizza pan-I'm not sure of the maker, but I got it from Target and it has small holes in the bottom that are supposed to make for crispier dough.
I put the pizza in the oven for 10 minutes before topping with the pepperonis and cooking for an additional 2 minutes or until the crust was golden and the cheese fully melted. The dough turned out delicious and chewy, a little thinner than I usually like, but good nonetheless-I enjoyed it with a salad and glass of white wine.
Live. Life. Deliciously.