Friday, March 4, 2016

Pizza Dough

My husband and I love pizza.  It's kind of hard not to love, isn't it?  We like all kinds of pizza, and one of the best things about it is that you can put pretty much whatever you want on it.  Our typical is good old pizza sauce with mozzarella and pepperoni, but I've also made chicken bacon ranch pizza, taco pizza, buffalo chicken pizza, pizza with pesto for the sauce and leftover cooked turkey and roasted red peppers for the toppings.  You can do whatever you want!
I've made quite a few pizza dough recipes over the past 10 years or so, and although many of them look pretty similar, different recipes turn out very differently.  This one originally from Forkful of Comfort has become our favorite and I've made it a lot over the past year.  It's equally wonderful rolled out really thin, normal thickness, or made into a thick pan pizza baked in a pie dish.  It works great for Wrapped Hot Dogs, too.  The recipe also doubles well to make 6 dough balls.
Pizza Dough
for dough:
1 2/3 C lukewarm water (about 100 degrees, too hot will kill the yeast)
1 t sugar
1 packet yeast
5 C flour
2 t salt
1/4 C olive oil

for each pizza:
2 T melted butter
1/4 t garlic powder
grated mozzarella
grated parmesan
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together warm water, sugar, and yeast and let bloom for 5 minutes.  Add flour, salt, and olive oil, and stir until it becomes too difficult.  Knead with dough hook until dough comes together and looks smooth.  It should be tacky feeling, but not stick to your finger when you touch it.  If it's too dry, add additional warm water 1 Tbsp at a time, and if it's too sticky, add additional flour 2 Tbsp at a time, kneading between additions.  
Once the dough is the correct consistency, knead it for 10 minutes on low.  Cover and let rise until doubled in volume.  You can do this by heating your oven until warm (but not hot), turning off the oven, then putting the bowl of dough inside.
Divide dough into three equal balls (about 14 oz each).  Extra dough balls can either sit, covered, in your refrigerator for a couple of days before you use them (this actually improves the flavor and texture of the dough), or you can freeze them in small plastic bags. 
When you're ready to make a pizza, melt the butter in a small bowl and stir in garlic powder.  Brush part of it onto a baking sheet to grease it.  Preheat oven to 500.  Form one of the dough balls into a disc and press it into the baking dish, then roll it out to your desired thickness, anywhere from 8 to 13 inches.  Brush crust with melted garlic butter.  Put pizza sauce, toppings, and cheese on crust and sprinkle entire pizza (including crust) with parmesan.  Bake until golden, about 10-13 minutes. 
To thaw a dough ball, let the dough sit in the bag on the counter for several hours until it's room temperature and then roll it out and add toppings as written above.  If you need the dough quicker than that, you can place one of the balls in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place the bowl of dough in a warmed oven as described earlier.  This will speed up the thawing process.

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