Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I Love Pizza Night!

I make my dough in a bread machine. I searched for several years before finding and adapting a pizza dough recipe that I liked. This is very similar to the recipe on the King Arthur Flour site.

This recipe makes the perfect pizza dough for my taste. The dough can be rolled thin, but it puffs up in the oven to create some bubbles that remind me of the very best wood-fired pizzeria style pizza. Some day I aspire to a wood fired pizza oven of my own. This recipe makes 3 ten inch pizzas, you could probably make 4 thinner pizzas. 

1-1/4 cup water
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup semolina flour
2 cups All Purpose flour*, or half whole wheat and half AP flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Additional equipment: Pizza stone and pizza peel. The stone will go into your oven and you cook the pizza directly on the stone. The pizza stone makes a huge difference in the end result. The crust is crisp and starts to cook right away, often forming nice bubbles along the edge. You may use this dough with a pizza pan if you must, but the end product is not as perfect. A pizza peel is a flat wooden surface with a handle that allows you to transfer the pizza to the stone. 

Add all the ingredients in the order listed. Set bread machine for DOUGH cycle.

I use a custom dough cycle, with a short knead time of 10 minutes. For this dough, less kneading is better. You do want a smooth ball of dough, but more kneading than that is not necessary. I have also made this dough by hand, which works fine. Once again, just mix the ingredients then knead enough to get a smooth ball of dough. Allow to rise for about 50 minutes, punch down and allow to rise another 20-25 minutes. 

This is a good time to prepare your toppings. 

Place the pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450┬║. 

When the dough is ready, divide it into two or three portions. I make two smaller pizzas and save the last third of the dough for rolls the next day. This dough makes very nice crispy rolls. 

Place a sheet of parchment paper on your work surface and sprinkle it with flour. Roll and pull the dough into a rough circle that will fit onto a pizza peel. Sprinkle the peel with cornmeal. Place the rolled round of dough onto the peel. Spread sauce on the dough and top with your favorite topping. Of course, I go for veggies, and I love adding some Tofurky sausage chunks. Try to work quickly, the less time the dough spends on the peel, the easier it is to slide onto the stone. 

Slide the topped dough from the peel onto the preheated pizza stone. This can be tricky. I use a cake lifter witch has a large, flat surface area to ease the pie from peel to stone. Bake for 15 minutes. Slide the pizza out of the oven onto a pizza pan and serve. 

* I use King Arthur Organic AP Flour. I believe the flour does make a difference. The Semolina is also important. If you cannot get semolina, then you can complete the dough with plain flour, but the dough will not be quite the same.

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