Monday, January 27, 2014

Basic Pizza Dough

Tonight, in honor of my blog's one year anniversary (!!!) I am sharing my mom's pizza dough recipe. This is a simple yet perfect recipe that was passed to her from our family friend Andy. I am at home with my parents in South Carolina, and tonight we enjoyed a pizza with Italian sausage and another white pizza topped with arugula.  I was so thankful my mom walked me through this simple pizza crust. 
The first time I attempted homemade pizza dough a few weeks ago, it was an epic fail. The crust was too thick with no crunch. Baking is a labor of love and a labor of patience. Expect to fail before you succeed. It requires a calm mind, an unhurried demeanor, and respect for butter and flour. Calm mind, unhurried demeanor. What a lovely combination, only made better by enjoying a nice cocktail in the midst of grating mozzarella cheese. 
There is something so special about slowing down and appreciating the simple pleasures of life. In my world, nothing beats relaxing in the living room with my parents over a delicious pizza dinner while sharing a 6-pack of my dad's favorite beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon. 
Basic Pizza Dough 
from Epicurious

3/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 cups (or more) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
Pour 3/4 cup warm water into a small bowl; stir in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Brush large bowl lightly with olive oil. 

Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons oil; process until dough forms a sticky ball. Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth, adding more flour by tablespoons if dough is very sticky, about 1 minute. Transfer to prepared bowl; turn dough in bowl to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. 

Punch down dough. Do ahead (can be made 1 day ahead, store in airtight container in refrigerator). Roll out dough according to recipe instructions. (Start in center of dough, working outward toward edges but not rolling over them). 
Bake the plain pizza at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, prior to adding toppings. Be sure to pop the bubbles with a knife during this step. (mom also says to coat pizza stone and pizza peel with cornmeal to make transfer easy).

Remove the dough and set aside. When ready, top the pizza with desired toppings, and bake for additional 8-12 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve immediately. 

White Pizza with Arugula
from Ina Garten
 - follow the above link for recipe

There are a couple of essentials that would make a great gift for a pizza lover: 
 - pizza peel
 - pizza stone
 - cornmeal (to dust stone and peel and prevent sticking)
 - thermometer (to measure water temperature)
 - scale (to measure flour accurately)
 - a good sharp pizza wheel for slicing 

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