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Pizza Dough

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Pizza Dough

 

MAKES ENOUGH FOR 3 MEDIUM PIZZAS

I find that the food processor is the best tool for making pizza dough.  However, only a food processor with a capacity of at least 11 cups can handle this much dough.  You can also knead this dough by hand or in a standing mixer.  Unbleached all-purpose flour can be used in a pinch, but the resulting crust will be less crisp.  If you want to make pizza dough in the morning and let it rise on the counter all day, decrease the yeast to 1/2 teaspoon and let the covered dough rise at cool room temperature (about 68 degrees) until double in size, about 8 hours.  You can prolong the rising time even further by refrigerating the covered dough for up to 16 hours and then letting it rise on the counter until doubled in size, which will take 6 to 8 hours.

For a quick tutorial on “Pizza Basics”, please click here

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 1 1/ cups water, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour, plus more for during the work surface and hands
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl

Directions:

Measure the warm water into a 2 cup liquid measuring cup.  Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes.  Add the room-temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

Process the flour and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine.  Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube.  If the dough does not readily form into a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms.  Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.

The dough will be a bit tacky, so use a rubber spatula to turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Knead by hand for a few strokes to form a smooth, round ball. Put the dough in a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Press the dough to deflate; it is now ready to use!

VARIATIONS

Pizza Dough Kneaded by Hand

Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough through step 1.  Omit step 2 and instead combine the salt and half the flour in a deep bowl.  Add the liquid ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine.  Add the remaining flour, stirring until a cohesive mass forms.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 7 to 8 minutes, using as little dusting flour as possible while kneading.  Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap.

Pizza Dough Kneaded in a Standing Mixer

Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough through step 1.  Omit step 2 and instead place the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixed fitted with the paddle.  Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed.  Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms.  Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap.

Pizza Dough with Garlic and Herbs

Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a small skillet.  Add 4 medium minced garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, oregano, or rosemary leaves.  Sauté until the garlic is golden, 2 to 3 minutes.  Cool the mixture and use in place of the oil in the recipe for Pizza Dough.

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough

Whole-wheat flour gives the dough a hearty flavor but slows down the rising process a bit.  Because this dough has more flavor and is a bit more dense than our pizza dough made with bread flour, it works best with lighter toppings such as vegetables rather than heavier toppings such as meat.

Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough, replacing 2 cups of the bread flour with an equal amount of whole-wheat flour.  The dough may require an extra 30 minutes to double in size while rising.

 

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