Monday, January 17, 2011



I've been making my own pizza dough for a good while now.  First, I made it in the bread machine, but then something turned and I don't know if the machine broke or what, but it wasn't turning out right.  Then, I found a super fast dough that was great for me, intimidated by bread making.

But the time has come for me to look for something better.  Annie often posts about different breads and her post about "Perfect Pizza Crust" sparked my fancy.

Oh how glad I am to have tried this recipe.  First, I got to use the dough hook for my Kitchenaid for the very first time.  But the real reason is that this is awesome.  I was busy doing something with the baby, so BAJ was the one who took it out of the oven... a little too early probably, but this crust was so much like pizza crust.  It was soft and chewy on the inside but a little crispy on the outside. 

One note about this recipe is that it's very elasticy.  I couldn't get it to form a circle after rolling, it stuck to the pizza peel going into the oven, and then it puffed up a LOT.  So, not the prettiest pizza, but a tasty one.

Annie's right.  This is, indeed, perfect pizza crust!

Basic Pizza Dough
½ cup warm water (about 110°)
1 envelope (2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast
1 ¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ tsp. salt
olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl

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.  

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  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, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Press the dough to deflate it.

To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven.  Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.

Working with one piece of dough and keeping the other covered, shape the dough and transfer to a pizza peel or round of parchment dusted with semolina or cornmeal.  Top as desired.  Slide the dough onto the pizza stone.  Bake until the crust edges brown and cheese is golden brown in spots, about 8 to 12 minutes.  Repeat with remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use.
Source: adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, originally from Baking Illustrated by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine

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