Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pizza! Pizza!

I wanted to learn to do it myself. I tried many dough recipes looking for one that had a yeastiness and baked through in my oven (pizza ovens cook at an intensity rarely found in home ovens, especially rental ovens). I found a basic recipe I liked and then kept making pizza until I got consistent results. Confession time: I have a problem with doughs. I'm working to improve my technique. The first big step was buying a digital food scale which I am learning to trust. (I always think the dough is too wet and keep adding flour, resulting in brick hard breads). Dough needs to hydrate on it's own (part of what's happening during rising/resting phases) and you must trust the recipe! Maybe you don't have this same hang-up, buoy for you.

Pizza Dough
2 1/4 t. yeast (1/4 oz.)
1/2 t. brown sugar (2 g)
1 1/2 c. warm water (110 deg. F)
1 t. salt
2 T. olive oil
~5 c. flour (400-600 g)

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast the brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 min.

2. Stir in the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 c. (300 g) flour.

3. Sprinkle counter with flour, turn dough out onto a clean surface and knead in more flour (100 g - 300 g) (about 2/3 c.- 2 1/2 c.) until the dough is no longer sticky. (Trust the numbers!)

4. Let rise until double in a well-oiled dough and covered with a cloth (about 1 hour). Punch down the dough, divide in 2+ and form tight balls. Allow the dough to relax before rolling out.

5. Preheat oven to 425* deg F. (I actually do 500 deg. F, but my oven runs cool). When heated, bake rolled crust for ~5 minutes. Remove from oven and add toppings. (Tip: you may not need as many toppings and you think). Use pizza sauce (I like to make homemade and let it simmer throughout rising), a few toppings (artichoke hearts and shallots) and a light sprinkling of cheese. Cook with toppings until cheese is bubbling (about 10-15 minutes). [Internal temp should be 160 deg. F].

6. Remove pizza from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Bon appetite!

Yield: 2 large pizzas (8 servings). Dough can be kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen.

*Time and temps will differ depending on your cooking method. If you use a heated pizza stone it will cook faster than if you use a cookie sheet.

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