Monday, April 19, 2010

The Best Pizza Dough You Have Never Tried

One of my favorite magazines, Cooking Light, did a piece on pizza this month. With it, they came out with a fantastic recipe for homemade pizza dough. Reasons to love this dough:

1) It's cheaper than store-bought pizza dough, which can run $4+.
2) The bread flour gives it an excellent, tender texture; the olive oil and kosher salt add an incredibly flavorful nuance. It rises like a dream and browns beautifully.
3) It's so versatile - you can use it on the grill or throw it in the oven on a pizza stone or even on an ordinary cookie sheet (sans ridges).
4) It's incredibly convenient - just mix up the ingredients one night, stick it in the fridge for 24 hours, and it's ready to go for dinner the next night.

We had this pizza tonight, topped with sauteed bell peppers, red onion, mushrooms, and black olives. While it was setting for about 10 minutes after I removed it from the oven, I sprinkled it with freshly torn basil leaves and a little freshly ground pepper. Fantastico!

Basic Pizza Dough
Adapted from Cooking Light

1 c. warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
2 c. + 2 T. bread flour
1 package dry years (about 2 1/4 tsp.)
4 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Cooking spray
1 T. yellow cornmeal

Pour 3/4 c. warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and spoons; level with a knife. Add flour to 3/4 c. water; mix until combined. Cover and let stand 20 minutes. Combine remaining 1/4 c. water and yeast in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly. Add yeast mixture, oil, and 1/2 tsp. salt to flour mixture; mix 5 minutes or until a soft dough forms. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray; cover surface of dough with plastic wrap lightly coasted with cooking spray. Refrigerate 24 hrs.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Let stand, covered, 1 hour or until dough comes to room temperature. Punch dough down. Press dough out to a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured baking sheet, without raised sides, sprinkled with cornmeal. crimp edges to form a 1/2-inch border. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap.

Position an oven rack in the lowest setting. Place a pizza stone on lowest rack. Preheat oven to 550F. Preheat the pizza stone for 30 minutes before baking dough. Cover dough with sauce, cheese and toppings of your choice; bake for 11 minutes or until the crust is golden.

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