Monday, March 21, 2011

Basic Pizza Dough

I'm doing some experiments with different pizza baking surfaces, to compare how they perform. To make the tests fair, I'm using the same dough recipe each time. That way, the different results will be due to the different baking surfaces rather than differences in the recipe itself.

This is a very basic recipe, and one that doesn't require a lot of hands-on finessing.

I figure that the more hands-off the recipe is, the less likely I am to make the dough less consistent from batch to batch.

Basic Pizza Dough

10 ounces bread flour
7 ounces cool water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon Morton's kosher salt
Olive oil (about a tablespoon)

Combine bread flour, water, yeast, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer and knead with the dough hook until the mixture is smooth. You're not looking for it to be elastic or to pass the windowpane test - the gluten will continue to develop when the dough is resting. You can also mix and/or knead by hand, or use a dough whisk, or do this in your food processor with the dough blade.

Drizzle some oil into a plastic bag and place the dough in the bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight.

Take the bag out of the refrigerator about an hour before you want to work with it. Let it sit on the counter warm up. This is the time to preheat your oven to 550 degrees, or as hot as it will go. If you're using a pizza stone, it's best to preheat for at least an hour; some people like to preheat even longer.

After 45 minutes, sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on the counter. Grasp the two sides of the dough, pull outward until the dough is about three times its original width, and fold the dough over in thirds, like a letter. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat the process. Turn 90 the dough 90 degrees and repeat again.

Form the dough into a ball, pinching the seam shut on the bottom. Place the ball seam-side down on the counter and flatten it slightly so that it's more of a disk than a ball. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.

When the 15 minutes are up, flour the counter and the dough lightly and begin dimpling and stretching it. If you prefer, you can pick up the dough and stretch it. Keep working at it until the dough it your preferred pizza size. Sprinkle some cornmeal or semolina on a peel and transfer the dough to the peel. Stretch it again, if needed. Apply the toppings quickly and bake at 550 degrees until the pizza is brown and the cheese is bubbling, about 8 minutes.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.


Sheila Ann said...

Looks great! Love that you cut your pizza in squares. People think I'm a loony for doing so. But it is how I was raised :)

Donna Currie said...

Yup. I grew up in Chicago, and square-cut pizza seems normal to me.

Unknown said...

I'm not too far from you in Colorado, and was wondering, is this recipe geared for our high altitude, or have you adjusted it "down" for general use. Or is there a difference? This is my first try with yeast doughs this high - I've had a hard enough time with cookies.

Looking forward to trying it -


Donna Currie said...

Bread rises a little faster up here at altitude, but I write my bread recipes so that there are visual cues, like how long it should rise, etc., and the time is an estimate. Rise time also depends on temperature, so if someone's kitchen is really warm or cool, that makes a difference.

Since this one is all about rising in the refrigerator, altitude doesn't play a part, and you bake pretty much as soon as possible after you form the pizza, so there's no adjustment for altitude.

Claire said...

Thank you so much, Donna. I've made this twice now, and it's so great! Love that I can get the dough together in 10 minutes after coming home from working nights, and there's dough the next day. We've baked it once and grilled it once, delicious both times.Also really appreciate you putting weights in the recipe - helps so much to get good results.

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