Monday, January 26, 2009

Basic Pizza Dough

Basic Pizza Dough
Home Cooking

This is the foundation to lots of fun times. There's no real need for me to carry on here... I've used this pizza dough recipe several times without fail. I'm now opting to make more than I need and freezing the dough so I always have pizza base on hand.

I got this recipe from Exclusively Food and modify the quantity depending on how many bases I want to make. The full recipe makes 2 large pizzas or 4 of 'my size' pizzas that are about 15cm in diameter. Usually for Charlie and I, I make 2 small pizzas so I just halve the recipe.

Pizza Dough
Makes 2 full bases

Ingredients:
  • 1 sachet dry yeast (7g)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 180ml lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 350g (2 and 1/3 cups) strong flour (I use Italian '00' flour)
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp salt

Procedure:

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the yeast, sugar and 2 tbsp of water. Set this mixture aside for about 20min. Bubbles should form on the surface indicating that the yeast is active. It's ready when nice and foamy.2. Add oil and remaining water to the yeast mixture and stir together.
3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt. I skipped the sifting because 00 flour is super fine anyway. Make a well in the center and pour in the wet ingredients.
4. I used a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients and then, turned the dough onto a floured surface to kneed.
5. Kneed until smooth and elastic (about 5min). I found the mixture a bit wet so I added more flour. You want it to be smooth, not sticky so if you need to, add enough flour to achieve that.
6. Roll the dough into a ball and place into a large bowl. Drizzle some oil on top and roll over so that it's coated lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and a tea towel. Place in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hr to 1 and 1/2 hrs or until the dough doubles in size.
7. After your long wait, place the ball back onto a floured surface and knock it down. This is literally punching the air out of the dough to reduce the size again. Break up the ball into however many pizza bases you wanted. At this stage (after knocking back), you can cling wrap and freeze the dough. It's better to freeze it in ball shape rather than rolling it flat into a pizza base and freezing (however, that would be easier for you when you need to use the base).
8. Use your thumbs (no long nails please!) to push out the balls of dough into nice circular shapes. The thickness should be even with no holes. Don't make it too thin or your topping may rip through it. If you make it too thick, the base may not cook properly. Aim for 5mm ish.
9. You're all set to add your favorite toppings!

Pizza dough is easy to make albeit slightly time-consuming. Luckily, most of the time spent on it is just time waiting so you're free to do other things. It's almost impossible to make a pizza that tastes bad so if you have cheese, sauce and some veggies or meat at home, you'll always have a delicious easy meal on hand.

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