Perfect Pizza Dough

29 Apr

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Without a doubt, pizza is the couch potato’s meal of choice. Blame it on the easy delivery, wide selection of (mediocre) pizza joints in any town, or the fact it can be eaten without a plate (insert image of a giant box on your belly while you’re watching re-runs of Sex and the City). Taking pizza to a level beyond a lazy Friday night binge-fest can be challenging, but simply devouring Domino’s with a knife and fork isn’t gonna make it classy. It all starts with good presentation (hint: ditch the cardboard box) and fresh ingredients. But the key is to have a good foundation (ie a great pizza dough). Dough to pizza is like a canvas to Monet. It just has to be right or the entire pizza will be wrong.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups bread or all purpose flour (white)
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 packet active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • Enough water to knead dough into malleable mass (be careful not to add too much, the yogurt acts as a liquid in this recipe!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven 450°F.
  2. Using a large ceramic mixing bowl, or any suitable food safe bowl, add the flour, make a “well” in middle, and put in 1 teaspoon salt, stir to combine well. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the starter: In a liquid measuring cup pour in 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water, 1 teaspoon honey, and one package of active dry yeast. Stir and set aside for 5 minutes. Allow to foam up (or proof).
  4. Next, mix the starter (yeast water) and the yogurt in the bowl containing the flour with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir together using a wooden spoon or clean hands.
  5. Note: You will need additional flour to knead on the surface that you’re working on. Knead for about 8 minutes or until you get a smooth elastic rubbery dough ball.
  6. Set aside in bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil to keep the dough from drying out. Let dough sit covered lightly with plastic wrap or use a plate or damp clean towel to cover it.
  7. Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes to an hour. Flatten dough and press out into a circle to fit the pan it will be baked in. Spread it out evenly, don’t be afraid to lift underneath to stretch the dough. Sprinkle baking pan with flour or simply grease the pan with olive oil using a paper towel.
  8. Top with your favorite spaghetti sauce, spreading out using the back of a spoon, then add shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese, and jack or Parmesan cheese.
  9. Layer on some cooked meats, and add pizza style vegetables, such as mushrooms, sliced peppers, and chopped onions.
  10. Bake for about 12-14 mins, but watch it!
  11. When the bottom looks slightly browned and the pizza looks bubbly, remove from oven.

Recipe from here has been modified.

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