Homemade Pizza Dough

Credit: Women’s Health Magazine

Ingredients

4 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

3 C. warm water (77-81°F)

6 1/2 C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

(Notice any weird, non-pronouncable ingredients up there?  Didn’t think so.)

Method

Proof the yeast in the water by pouring the water into a bowl and sprinkling the yeast on top.  Basically, you’re “looking for proof” that the yeast is still “alive.”  It should look a little frothy and bubbly by about 5 minutes. The amount of bubble and foam will depend on how warm the water is and how old the yeast is.  If absolutely nothing happens, your yeast may be too old.

Add the flour and salt to the yeasty water and combine it all into a rough dough.

Dump the dough onto a board and knead it by hand for 7-8 minutes.  Or dump it into a stand mixer (you could really do the whole process right up through the kneading part in a stand mixer) and knead it with a dough hook on the lowest setting for several minutes.

If you’re kneading by hand and the dough is so wet and sticky that you can’t handle it without most of it sticking to the board or counter, you can sprinkle on a little extra flour.  On very humid or rainy days, this is often the case.

Let the dough rest at room temp (not too chilly or drafty) for about 2 hours.  You’ll do this by oiling the inside of a bowl and plopping the dough in it.  Turn the dough over to coat the top, and oil or spray the underside of a piece of plastic wrap.  Stretch that over the top of the bowl.

(Note: If it’s the dead of winter and your kitchen is impossibly cold, turn the oven on low for a few minutes, just to warm it up a bit, and then shut it off.  Don’t leave it on like I’ve done and bake your bread or pizza dough while it’s still in lump form and covered in plastic.  Place the bowl in the oven and close the door.  If it’s too warm in there, crack the oven door open.)

After 2 hours, divide the dough into 4 pieces of equal size.  A bench scraper or knife will help with this unless you want to go all Hulk and just RIP it apart.

Shape the 4 pieces into 4 balls by repeating the stretching and folding process from earlier.  You’ll want to stretch and fold each piece to the North, South, East, and West – four different directions, and end by pinching together the folds.

Flip each ball over so that the seam is underneath.  Put the balls of dough into the fridge for another 2 hours.  At this point I usually only put one or two in, depending on what I’m making (one can be a flatbread or garlic breadsticks, etc in addition to a pizza).  The other two are frozen at this stage for later use. 

For each dough you’ll be using, flour the board or counter and the top of the dough, and let it rest for 5 minutes before shaping it.

Stretch the dough onto your choice of baking surface and top with Pizza Sauce.  My favorite is a preheated baking stone.  Second choice: metal pizza sheet with holes, greased with Crisco to keep the dough in place.  That works like a charm!

Bake

Ingredients

4 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

3 C. warm water (77-81°F)

6 1/2 C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

(Notice any weird, non-pronouncable ingredients up there?  Didn’t think so.)

Method

Proof the yeast…

…in the water…

…by pouring the water into a bowl and sprinkling the yeast on top.

Basically, you’re “looking for proof” that the yeast is still “alive.”  It should look a little frothy and bubbly by about 5 minutes. 

That’s not a ton of evidence, but it was enough.

The amount of bubble and foam will depend on how warm the water is and how old the yeast is.  If absolutely nothing happens, your yeast may be too old.

Before you start making a giant mess, take off your valued jewels and stash them someplace safe.  Pizza dough will gunk up your rings and dry like cement.

Add the flour and salt to the yeasty water and combine it all into a rough dough.

Dump the dough onto a board and knead it by hand for 7-8 minutes.  Or dump it into a stand mixer (you could really do the whole process right up through the kneading part in a stand mixer) and knead it with a dough hook on the lowest setting for several minutes.

If you’ve never kneaded dough by hand, here is what the process looks like:

Pull on the dough off to one side.

Fold the dough over on itself…

If the dough is so wet and sticky that you can’t handle it without most of it sticking to the board or counter, you can sprinkle on a little extra flour.  On very humid or rainy days, this is often the case.

Here’s another shot of the stretching:

and folding over:

If the dough is holding together enough, you should be able to push down and forward with the heel of your hand after each fold.

You can really get into a rhythm with this and get out some aggressions from, say, not getting enough sleep the night before, or having to discipline your child to within a centimeter of the end of your patience, or running out of chocolate right before you really really need some.

Your dough should begin to look like this:

…sort of holding its own shape and coming together into a ball.  Not a perfect one, so don’t freak out if it’s looking rather blobbish.

By the end of 7 or 8 minutes of solid kneading, the dough will have this appearance:

And your hands will be wonderfully messy.  Savor it.  Cuz later you have to clean up.

Let the dough rest at room temp (not too chilly or drafty) for about 2 hours.  You’ll do this by oiling the inside of a bowl and plopping the dough in it.  Turn the dough over to coat the top, and oil or spray the underside of a piece of plastic wrap.  Stretch that over the top of the bowl.

I had to dimple the top of mine with my fingertips halfway through…

…because it rose SO much, it was overflowing the bowl.  The yeast was good.  🙂

(Note: If it’s the dead of winter and your kitchen is impossibly cold, turn the oven on low for a few minutes, just to warm it up a bit, and then shut it off.  Don’t leave it on like I’ve done and bake your bread or pizza dough while it’s still in lump form and covered in plastic.  Place the bowl in the oven and close the door.  If it’s too warm in there, crack the oven door open.)

After 2 hours, divide the dough into 4 pieces of equal size.  A bench scraper or knife will help with this unless you want to go all Hulk and just RIP it apart.

Here’s my bench scraper, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal:

Shape the 4 pieces into 4 balls by repeating the stretching and folding process from earlier.  You’ll want to stretch and fold each piece to the North, South, East, and West – four different directions, and end by pinching together the folds.

Flip each ball over so that the seam is underneath.  Here’s four:

Put the balls of dough into the fridge for another 2 hours.  At this point I usually only put one or two in, depending on what I’m making (one can be a flatbread or garlic breadsticks, etc in addition to a pizza).  The other two are frozen at this stage for later use. 

Do whatever you like with yours.  I thought I’d show you how I store mine during this last resting phase:

Each storage bag is sprayed inside with PAM.  Olive oil would work too.  You just don’t want the dough sticking to the bag.

The one I put in the fridge last time was in a bowl, where it sat for the two hours.  For each dough you’ll be using, flour the board or counter and the top of the dough, and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Stretch the dough onto your choice of baking surface and top with Pizza Sauce.  My favorite is a preheated baking stone.  Second choice: metal pizza sheet with holes, greased with Crisco to keep the dough in place.  That works like a charm!

Top with sauce, cheese, or whatever you like.

Bake for 10-14 minutes at 500°F and enjoy!

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One thought on “Homemade Pizza Dough

  1. Pingback: Homemade Pizza | The Full Vine

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