I have lived my whole adult life, up until about 3 months ago, completely in the culinary dark when it came to making pizza. Oh sure, I bought an occasional Boboli crust and several years ago upgraded to organic pre-made crusts. I refused to buy refrigerated pizza dough because of the questionable ingredients list and whenever I happened across any recipe that called for yeast…well, I could not turn the page fast enough to get away from that scary unknown. Water temperatures? Letting it rise? Punching it down? No thank you. So one day in early December, I stumbled upon a blog entry at “Dinner, A Love Story” which made homemade pizza dough sound so…well…matter of fact. As if the thought had never even occurred to them to NOT make the dough themselves. So with a slight bit of trepidation, I got out my grocery list and wrote the words “active dry yeast” on it. A few days later I carefully followed the directions and to my surprise…it was not scary at all! In fact, it was simple…so simple that I am just shaking my head and wondering why no one has ever tried to convince me to try this before. So I am here to tell you…put yeast on your grocery list today and make your own pizza dough this weekend! You will not be disappointed.
PIZZA DOUGH: makes enough dough for 2 pizzas
Adapted from “Dinner, A Love Story”
~3 3/4 cups of flour (I use 2 cups of white whole wheat and 1 3/4 cups of all purpose) plus a small cup or bowl of flour for your hands if needed.
~one small packet of active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
~3/4 teaspoon salt
~3/4 teaspoon sugar
~1 1/3 cup tepid (slightly warm) water
~Don’t forget to have your sauce/toppings on hand. On the pizza pictured above, I used pesto, feta cheese and sautéed onion, peppers and mushrooms.
1. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except for the water.
2. Add the water and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the
3. Flour your hands and knead the dough for about 4 to 5 minutes. If the dough is wet and sticky, add a bit more flour.
4. Leave the ball of dough in the bowl, covered with a clean kitchen towel, and put it in a warm place for a couple of hours to rise. I put mine on top of my stove with the overhead light turned on.
5. After 2 to 3 hours, the dough should be puffed up. Divide it in two and form each half into a flattened ball.
6. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
7. Oil a pizza pan or 13 x 9 inch baking pan (or line with a piece of parchment paper) and roll out the dough right in the pan. I usually use a rolling pin, but also use my fingers to spread the dough all the way to the edges.
8. Add your toppings and brush the exposed crust with olive oil.
9. Bake at 500 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Watch the pizza carefully in the last few minutes so it doesn’t burn. If I am baking a second pizza, I often have to turn my oven down to 480 or 475 for the second one because my oven gets too hot as time goes on.
This dough can also be put into a freezer bag and frozen after step #5.