Best Pizza Dough Ever

perfect pizza dough

Perfect pizza starts with perfect dough. I have tried the store-bought pizza’s and well lets just say they are blah! I also tried a few store-bought crusts and still was not happy with the cardboard texture. I made homemade crust before but lets face it that takes time and who has time on a weeknight when you are running around playing supermom.

Ah! Alas my friends the answer is at hand. Perfect pizza dough that is better than takeout. Pizza dough that you can make ahead and freeze for those aforementioned supermom weeknights. Your family’s gonna love this.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend.
  3. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture.
  4. With the mixer on low-speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil.
  5. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed.
  6. Switch to the dough hook.  Knead on low-speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.
  8. Press down the dough to deflate it.
  9. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.
  10. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.
  11. 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.
  12. To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes.
  13. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.
  14. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands.
  15. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil.  Top as desired.
  16. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

Tips & Tricks

Measure your ingredients by weight.  This is a much more accurate way to measure flour, and will eliminate the guesswork of mixing up your dough.

If you don’t plan on using your dough immediately, freeze it.  To do this, mix up the dough as usual and let it rise as normal.  After dividing the dough into two equal portions, wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and store inside a freezer-safe bag, and transfer to the freezer immediately.

The day you plan to use the dough, transfer it to the refrigerator in the morning to thaw in time for dinner that evening.  (If using the dough for lunch, transfer to the refrigerator the night before.) It seems logical that you could simply refrigerate it immediately after the rise and use it the following day.  However, I have tried this and it didn’t go well.  The refrigerator is not cold enough to stop the rise quickly and the result is an over-risen, crazy puffy monster dough.  My solution?  I still use the freezer initially to completely stop the rise, and then I transfer the dough to the refrigerator until it is ready to be used.

A pizza stone is an integral part of really good homemade pizza.  Why?  The stone is preheated with the oven, producing a very hot surface for baking the pizza.  When you slide the assembled pizza onto the stone, the bottom of the crust starts baking immediately, producing the perfect crisp bottom that provides the slices structural integrity, while the top portion is still soft and chewy.

Before making the pizza, take the dough out of the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes to take off the chill. Preheat the oven and the pizza stone at 500˚ F for 30 minutes as well.  During this waiting period, I like to get all my toppings ready.

After the dough has been at room temperature for 30 minutes, it is ready for shaping.  You have two options for your shaping surface – a pizza peel or a piece of parchment paper.Whichever surface you use, sprinkle it lightly with cornmeal.  Shape the dough using lightly floured hands.

If the dough springs back a lot while you are trying to shape it, let it rest for 15 minutes and try again. This allows the gluten in the dough to relax and should make shaping easier.  Sometimes my dough requires multiple resting periods for gluten relaxation, other times it shapes perfectly right off the bat.

Brush the outside edge of the crust lightly with olive oil.  This gives it a nice golden sheen after baking.

Transfer your pizza to the heated pizza stone.  If you are using the parchment method, slide a cutting board underneath the parchment for transfer (the parchment itself is not sturdy enough to transfer alone.)

Bake, and voila!  With all the endless topping combinations available you can get rid of those carry out menus.

Source: adopted from annies-eats.com. thank you.

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Posted in Breads, Recipes

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NaBloPoMo May 2013

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