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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pizza Dough

Tuesdays in my house are crazy. I am home for about an hour (if I'm lucky) and I am out the door again to go to the in laws to drop off DJ while I go to an appointment. I need something quick and simple that can be thrown together  and eaten within the hour. 

This is why I love Annie's recipe for pizza dough. I can thaw the pizza dough and the sauce while I am at work. When I come home, I heat up the oven and pizza stone right away, and within a half an hour of being home, I have individual pan pizzas ready to go. It gives me time to do a load of laundry...hah, yeah right. In all seriousness, this is the best pizza dough that I have used and I am glad to share it with you. I hope it encourages you to try homemade pizza for yourself. 

½ cup warm water (about 110°)
1 envelope (2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast
1 ¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ tsp. salt
olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes.  Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.  

Place the flour and salt in the bowl, or if you are lucky, a bowl of a stand mixer.  Combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If using a stand mixer, remove the paddle attachment and use a dough hook, for 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Press the dough to deflate it.

To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven.  Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.

Working with one piece of dough and keeping the other covered, shape the dough and transfer to a pizza peel or round of parchment dusted with semolina or cornmeal.  Top as desired.  Slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and cheese is golden brown in spots, about 8 to 12 minutes.  Repeat with remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use.

Source: Annie’s Eats, adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, originally from Baking Illustrated by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine

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