Friday, May 6, 2011

The Best Pizza Crust

You can make this pizza dough in a stand mixer, like a Kitchen Aid, but if you have a food processor, it's so much easier.  Just to let you know right up front, this pizza dough tastes best if you make it at least a day in advance, but I've had very good results making it as little as 5 hours in advance.

3 cups bread flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/3 cups ice water (the dough can get overheated in a food processor, so use really cold water)
1 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp table salt
parchment paper

Sift flour and sugar together into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Add yeast and pulse about 4 times to mix everything together.  With the machine running, slowly add water through feed tube.  Let the machine run until the dough is just combined and no dry flour remains.  This should take about 10 to 20 seconds.  Let the dough stand 10 minutes.

Turn the machine on again after the 10 minutes rest and add the oil and salt.  Let the machine run until the dough forms a satiny, sticky ball that clears the sides of the work bowl.  This should take about a minute.  Lightly oil your countertop and remove the dough ball from the bowl and knead briefly, about 1 minute.  Shape the dough into a tight ball and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.

One hour before baking the pizza,  remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into 4 equal balls.  Place them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap to let them come up to room temperature.

At this point, you can assemble all your favorite pizza ingredients.  You can make your own pizza sauce (I'll give you a pretty good recipe below) or just use a pizza sauce from the store.  It's really fun to invite friends over and have a "Make your own Pizza" party.  You could ask each friend to bring their favorite topping, or just provide an abundant selection of pepperoni, sausage, black olives, mushrooms, onions, peppers, mozzarella cheese, pineapple, ham, etc.

After your pizza dough has rested at room temperature for about 30 minutes, adjust the oven rack to the second highest position and place a pizza stone on the rack.  Heat the oven to 500 degrees or hotter if possible. (Brick pizza oven restaurants bake their pizzas at the optimal temperature of 712 degrees).  Lightly flour each dough ball and flatten to desired size on a piece of parchment.  (It doesn't matter how much flour you use, the dough will be sticky and it will be hard to transfer the prepared pizza to the pizza stone).  Top your pizza as desired and using a pizza peel, transfer to the heated pizza stone.  After about 1 minute, you will be able to place your pizza peel under the pizza and gently pull the parchment out without disturbing the toppings.  Bake pizza until done and the cheese bubbles.  Check the bottom of the pizza crust to make sure it's browned before taking the pizza out.  Cut and serve.

Homemade pizza sauce

1 (28-oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and liquid discarded
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 med garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tsp)
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp dired oregano
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Process all ingredients in food processor with the metal blade until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, or for up to a month, frozen.

No comments:

Post a Comment