I swear to you, I would not lie to you, this pizza dough is so easy and cheap to make that you will become addicted to it! I love it so much because you can make a big batch (which hardly takes anytime), and then freeze the dough into separate Ziploc bags to take out and use for an easy weeknight meal. Plus, it’s way better than the canned kind. I have been known to start a batch of this pizza dough at very odd times, like at the start of a movie, or after a movie, or in the middle of listening to a lecture (I love muli-tasking). But I find this to be the beauty of this dough – you can make it WHENEVER you want, and it will still taste great later!
This pizza dough is what I use with my Spinach and Ricotta Pizza that I posted about a week ago.
One thing I’d like to mention, GET A PIZZA STONE! I can’t tell you what a difference a pizza stone makes in homemade pizza! They are not that expensive, but if you don’t want to buy one, I’ve heard of people using clay tiles from a gardener’s shop as a cheap alternative. The pizza stone is crucial because as it preheats in the oven, it holds the oven’s heat. Then when you transfer your pizza onto the stone using parchment paper, the bottom of your crust gets cooked directly. This causes the crust to come out firm and crispy, even if you have a lot of watery, or heavy toppings (like vegetables).
- Makes enough for 2 pizzas (about 13 inches each)
- 1/2 Cup warm water + 1 1/4 cups room temperature water
- 1 Packet Yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons (I use quick rise but I’m sure any would work)
- 4 cups (22 ounces) Flour* (Again, food scales are great for flour!)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Cooking Spray
*Bread flour is best for this recipe because it made from a high-gluten flour with barley added, which is specifically formulated to allow the yeast to work effectively. It gives a loftier texture and a certain softness. However, I often substitute all-purpose flour if that is what I happen to have on hand.
1. Combine the 1/2 cup warm water with the yeast in a 2 cup measuring cup and let sit for 5 minutes. You should see the yeast dissolving as it becomes activated.
2. Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups room temperature water to the yeast (I usually just add water from the faucet until the measuring cup reads a total of 1 3/4 cup). Also add the 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to the water.
3. Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachement. With the mixer on low add the water mixture and stir until the flour has become moist. Then switch to the dough hook attachment.
4. Knead the dough on low (kitchen aid setting 2 or 4) until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes.
5. Oil a large bowl using cooking spray. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place in the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap.
6. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes or until doubled in size (I usually put mine on top of the stove, but depending on how warm your kitchen is it could take a little over 90 minutes).
7. Punch the dough down and then either…
- Freeze it: It is really important that you double wrap the dough with plastic wrap, and then put it in a Ziploc bag. The dough continues to rise even after you put it in the freezer – so if you don’t double wrap it, dough ends up leaking out of the plastic and gets exposed to the cold. When you want to use the frozen dough, put it in the fridge up to a day before, or put it out on the counter for few hours before you are ready to start cooking.
- Use it several hours or a day later: I recommend still wrapping it and putting it in the freezer. The yeast is really active in this dough and if you put it in the fridge it doesn’t slow the yeast down enough, so your dough continues to rise, and rise, and rise! The colder temperature of the freezer is enough to “hibernate” the yeast, and then after it has cooled sufficiently you can put it back into the fridge.
- Use it immediately: All you have to do is flour your work surface and roll it out into a circle. I do this on parchment paper so that it is easy to transfer to the oven. I will show you my rolling method when I make a pizza soon!
8. To Cook it: Preheat the oven with your pizza stone to 475 degrees for 30 minutes. Top your pizza as desired. Brush the outer crust with a little olive oil in order to help it brown. Bake for 10-15 minutes.