Monday, September 6, 2010

Homemade Pizza Crust

I have never been good with yeast.  What I mean is yeast scares me!  I've attempted to make homemade rolls and the end result was my husband going to the store to get rolls that wouldn't choke our dinner guests!  I've also made pizza crust but never had one that was really good until today.  I found the recipe on Megan's blog, another blog I'll have to add to my blog roll.  She has some great looking recipes!  This pizza dough was crunchy, soft and chewy and not doughy at all.  I think the secret to this recipe is cooking the pizza on the preheated pizza stone.  It was perfect!

Perfect Homemade Pizza Crust (made a few changes)

1/2 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
1/2 tsp. sugar (On the Fleischmann's jar it said to use sugar to proof yeast)
2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast (or active dry) I used Fleischmann's Active Dry
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup water, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Add sugar.  Sprinkle the yeast over the top.  If using active dry yeast, stir the yeast into the water and allow to sit until bubbly, about 5-10 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  (Dough comes off sides of bowl (if not add a little flour) but will stick to bottom) Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.

Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball.

If freezing the dough, wrap each ball of dough in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag and freeze.  Place the dough in the refrigerator on the morning of the day you want to use it. (If using the dough for lunch, transfer to the refrigerator the night before.) Before making the pizza, take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

If using the dough right away (not freezing it), cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. (a pizza peel  or parchment paper) Shape the dough with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil (I didn't do this step but will try it next time and let you know). Top as desired. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes. - check out Megan's Blog for more great recipes

I used a pizza peel for the first time.  I sprinkled it with cornmeal and a little flour.  Worked out the dough right on the peel making sure it would move before I added my toppings.  Then when pizza was all prepared I slid the pizza right on the preheated pizza stone.  I thought 500 degrees would be way to hot but it wasn't.  The crust was done to perfection and the cheese was melted until bubbly. 

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