Friday, January 8, 2010
Being a stay at home mom now, I keep trying to make more things from scratch. Part of the reason is that I want things to be healthier (without a bunch of preservatives), and it is usually less expensive and tastier to have anything made from scratch. Other Edmonton food bloggers seem to be big fans of Peter Reinhart, so I looked up his Neo-Neapolitan Pizza dough recipe. Ours ended up a bit heavy, so I will have to try it again and see if I can work more air into it and let it rise better. This is a picture of the cheese pizza I made with it. Hopefully the next round goes better.
5 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
2 teaspoons salt (or 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 to 2 cups room-temperature water
Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or mix in an electric mixer. After you've combined all of the ingredients, set the dough aside to rest for 5 minutes. Stir again for 3 to 5 minutes, adding more water or flour if necessary. Generally speaking, you want the dough to be wetter and stickier than your typical bread dough. It should be dry enough that it holds together and pulls away from the side of the bowl when you mix it, but it doesn't need to be dry enough to knead by hand.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Place each one into an oiled freezer bag.
If you aren't going to bake them that day, you can throw the bags into the freezer. They'll stay good in there for at least a month. The evening before you intend to bake them, move the frozen dough balls to the refrigerator to thaw.
If you intend to bake them later that day, place the bagged dough balls in the refrigerator. Remove them from the fridge and let them warm to room temperature an hour or two before you intend to bake them.
Remember that, as a baker, time is your friend: longer, slower rises at reduced temperature result in better tasting bread. But sometimes you don't have the luxury of time - that is OK; this dough will still work well if only given an hour or so to rise at room temperature. Allowing pizza dough to rise is more about giving the yeast time to bring flavors out of the wheat than it is about leavening. Most of the leavening occurs when you put the active dough into the hot oven, so you don't need to wait until the dough balls double in size.
Top with your pizza toppings and bake at 450 F for 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese and dough are brown.