Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Homemade Pizza Dough...With a Kick!

I have been on a roll lately! Or maybe setting a goal for myself of 30 things to do before I turned 30 was just the kick in the behind that I needed to really get me re-focused on this little food blogging experiment. 

I LOVE pizza, (you can tell because out of relatively small number of posts, pizza appears twice on this blog already). But I really love making homemade pizza. It lets each person enjoying the pizza pick out and create their own dinner concoction. I'm also discovering that regardless of your age, be in 3, 30 or 100, everyone loves playing with food and this is one of the best ways to get to do so!

Pizza dough is so easy to make, it just takes a little bit of time, so that the dough can rise and the flavors can really meld together. I suggest making this on a weekend..especially because it's one of those recipes that you literally set it and forget it until you're ready to make dinner. And once you are, you come back to a perfectly risen pizza dough that's just begging to be topped with lots of ooey gooey cheese, veggies and whatever else your heart desires! Then just pop it in an oven set to 450 degrees and let it bake 12-18 minutes depending on how crispy you like your crust! 

If you're feeling like being super crazy, you can even add different herbs and garlic to your crust before you top it, and it makes the crust extra flavorful. I added basil and garlic, and I'm definitely not sorry I did. 

Homemade Pizza Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water (105°F-115°F)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast (check the expiration date on the package)
3 1/2 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose but bread flour will give you a crisper crust)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar

In a large bowl add warm water. Sprinkle on the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Stir to dissolve completely if needed at the end of 5 minutes.

Attach a mixing paddle to the mixer (or get ready to buff up your arms by hand mixing!). Mix in the olive oil, flour, salt and sugar on low speed for about a minute. Remove the mixing paddle and replace with a dough hook. Knead using the mixer and dough hook, on low to medium speed, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If you don't have a mixer, you can mix and knead by hand. If the dough seems a little too wet, sprinkle on a bit more flour.

Place ball of dough in a bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough around in the bowl so that it gets coated with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place (75-85°F) until it doubles in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours (or several hours longer, a longer rise will improve the flavor). If you don't have a warm spot in the house you can heat the oven to 150 degrees, and then turn off the oven. Let the oven cool till it is just a little warm, then place the bowl of dough in this warmed oven to rise.

Preheat the oven to 450°F for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.

Remove the plastic cover from the dough and punch the dough down so it deflates a bit. Divide the dough in half. Form two round balls of dough. Place each in its own bowl, cover with plastic and let sit for 10 minutes.

Top your pizza with all the yummy delicious toppings you like and bake for 12-18 minutes (the longer you bake, the crisper your crust will be!)

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