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My Pizza Dough Recipe!

Anthony Up NorthAnthony Up North Posts: 205
edited 3:24AM in EggHead Forum
[p]Pizza crust recipes are variations of each other. I have been making bread - 4 loaves - once a week for over 25 years. In the past then years I have settled on one standard recipe for the white bread we like. That is because almost all bread recipies are variations from the basic one.[p]That is also true of pizza. All need flour, yeast, salt, oil and water. Some add sugar to make the yeast more active, which will give you a puffier crust. Some omit the oil, which makes dough more tender. Salt retards the action of the yeast - and adds to the taste.[p]The pizza recipe I have used for almost five years now is very simple.[p]1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour. (this is never exact)
2 tsp. yeast. (regular active yeast - NOT machine bread yeast.
1/2 tsp salt.
1 tbsp. of olive oil.
2/3 cup water at about 110 degrees (3/4 cup water will require a bit more flour and therefore crust will be thicker).[p]Spices to taste.
I use: (all dryed)
1 tbsp. of crushed fennel (we love fennel on pizza)
1 tsp. of Oregano.
1 tsp. of Thyme.
1 tsp. of Basil.[p]a 12-14 inch pizza pan.[p]In a small mixing pan put in about 3/4 cup flour, the yeast, and salt. Mixwell with a spatulla. Then add the warm water and oil and beat for three minutes with a electric mixer. Gradually (very gradually) stir in more flour with a wooden spoon. While the mixture is still somewhat sticky, roll out dough onto a slightly floured surface. Knead in as much flour until dough is no longer sticky to your fingers. (it should be smooth and satin like). Be careful not to add too much flour - in which case dough will give evidence of cracking. Kneading should be about 6-8 minutes in order to develop the gluten in the flour.[p]Then spray olive oil on inside of a clean mixing bowl. Place the dough in it, turn it to get oil on all sides. Cover, and place into an oven to rise for 15-20 minutes or until double in size. Oven temp should be about 80 degrees.[p]Take dough out of oven after doubled in size. Immediately after you take out dough from oven, pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.[p]Carefully take dough from mixing bowl and place on a well floured surface. With a rolling pin, gently begin rolling out dough in all directions ( with each stroke - from the middle to the edges) in such a way as to form round (circle shaped) dough. Rolling gently is important because if you mess it up here, dough become very rubbery and hard to roll if you need to do it over. Roll until circle is slightly larger than your pizza pan. (or the the pizza stone)[p]Spray your pizza pan with olive oil. (I use PAM olive oil spray). Place dough on pizza pan. (you need to kind of flip it on the pan.) Pizza dough is rather strong so there is only a little danger that you will tear it. Position it on the pan to fit. Work dough into all crevices and fold over edges of crust toward the bottom side of the dough to form a nice double edge. If there is too much dough to accomplish this by cutting off excess dough with a food scissors.[p]With a fork puncture pizza dough in the pan. Make rows upon rows of these punctures. (if not sufficient punctures, dough will bubble in oven and be quite uneven.)[p]Next place dough in a 425 degree pre-heated oven. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until it begins to show the slightest browning. Take it out of oven and place pan on a bread board. Pan and dough will be very hot.[p]Add the Pizza sauce. (Unless you make your own, I have found that Pastorelli's Pizza Sauce is best to our taste. It comes in an 8 oz. can and can be found in most grocerystores.) [p]Then sprinkle the spices evenly on top the sauce. Next put on the mazzarella cheese slabs. (not shredded - slabs make the finished cheese nice and stringy). We use about 6 oz here. Atop the cheese put your meat or whatever toppings you like. Then add crumbled mazzarella cheese. (We like about another 2 oz). I like to sprinkle a bit more basil on top to give it a nice look.[p]Place in oven for another 10 -12 minutes, or until all of the cheese is begins to bubble. Take out. Slide off of pan unto a bread board. Cut with a sharp knife. (I use a meat cleaver/chopper) and then reslide onto pizza still warm pizza pan and serve.[p]NOTES:[p]The kind of toppings you prefer is an individual thing and limited only by your imagination.[p]This recipe is for a thin crust. If you like a thicker crust,
simply increase the water to 3/4 cups which will require more flour and you will have a thicker, crust. The amount of water will determine the amount of flour required. However if you add more water than 3/4 cup you might need to increase to yeast a bit.[p] The amount of flour required in dough varies each time you make it, depending upon the amount of humidity in the air. (Also humid air make the crust more tender) Therefore be careful after you have added 1 1/2 cups of flour. With 2/3 cup water, it shouldn't take more than 2 cups flour and maybe quite less.[p]Kneading is important to develop the gluten in the flour which gives the dough its elasticity.[p]Any sugar in a pizza dough recipe will tend to make the crust rise faster, therefore the dough will it will be less crispy and be more bread like, more like deep dish pizza dough. This recipe doesn't do that.[p]This is the process that I am trying to adapt to the BGE, which I described in my earlier pizza post below. [p]I hope this helps anyone interested in good pizza. By trial and error I have my process down to a point that my wife discourages me from any more experimenting. She thinks it can't be improved. But I really doubt that and only mention it, to indicate this is a good pizza, when done right.[p]Good baking to you all. It certainly should work on the EGG.[p]Anthony


  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    Anthony Up North, twixt you, Spin, Mary, Dave Spence, and other bread dough experts, we shall succeed. You all have a way of turning on da light's in our foggy world..:-)
    Thanks for taking the time for that one. For some reason you kinda remind me of our Elder Ward. But he twanged a different string..:-)

  • g-og-o Posts: 39
    Anthony Up North, You certainly nailed down the pizza dough making routine. Good post. Have you ever tried making the dough and putting it in the refrigerator overnite? Take it out in the morning, let it rise and come to room temp. slowly, punch down and shape your crust as usual. It lets it ferment a little and develops an even nicer flavour. Hard to beat good homemade pizza.

  • Char-Woody,
    C-W! You certainly have a way with words. I love it. Keep up your good humor.[p]Cheers as you would say.[p]Anthony

  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    Anthony Up North,[p]A great dough recipe and an even better description of preparation. Well done and thanks.[p]Spin

  • g-o,[p]Gord. I haven't with pizza, but I have tried that with bread. It didn't do anything for the bread but retard the rising. At 35 degrees the yeast should not fermet because yeast doesn't work at cold temps. Therefore, I may be mistaken but there is no reason the taste would be different. Unless after you take it out of the fridge, the longer required rise will allow some fermenting to take place at that time.
    [p]Hence, I haven't tried it with pizza dough. But again I may be wrong. I merely am applying what I know about doughs. Whatever works however, is worth reapeating.[p]Thanks for the suggestion, I may check that one out.[p]Anthony

  • Spin,[p]You are more than welcome. Just trying to give back a little bit of what I have taken from all the good folks on this forum;[p]Thanks.[p]

  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    g-o,[p]I agree with Anthony's thoughts. At less that 40F (refrigeration), the yeast do little work as they are mostly dormant (not dead). The benefit you experience is because the yeast slowly become more active as the temperature of the dough gradually rises. Thus you have a longer, slower rise.[p]Spin[p]

  • g-og-o Posts: 39
    Anthony Up North, I didn't explain that very well I guess. All I meant to say is that IMHO the long slow rise with more fermentation gives any dough a better taste.

  • g-og-o Posts: 39
    Spin, Exactly. I just said it differently I guess.

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,523
    Anthony Up North,
    All I can say is WOW. Great post, and you have explained the entire process very well.
    Thanks a bunch, it helped me understand it a lot better.[p]NB
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
    Instagram: @DizzyPigBBQ
  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    g-o, Cold rising is a good alternative in breadmaking, not sure about pizza dough. I think Mary B had some excellent references on it a while back. (Mary or Mary B is Mary Buckingham, nice lady and speaks her mind. And takes no prisoners..:-) Great with saw and hammer too!!
    She is a brick hearth cooking enthusiast, and has a refrigerator or two full of real old time yeasty cultures.
    Wish I was next door to her...!!

  • g-o, I have to second that. I have tried many, many dough recipes and have always been disappointed. I tried one from a cooking show that finally did it. Uses 3 3/4 c high gluten or hard flour (a must), 1 oz, veg. shortening, 1T salt, 1T red star granulated yeast, 3 c warm H2O, pinch sugar. Let yeast rise 10 min. Use kneading hook on processor at low for 10 min., knead for a bit and form ball, then into refridgerator for min. 2 hrs. During this time, mine has always risen considerably.[p]Still, I'm going to try this new recipe as well.[p]
  • Frozen Chosen,[p]Are you sure you have listed the proportions correctly? Usually the water to flour ratio is 1:3. You have it almost at 1:1 (3+ cups flour to 3 cups water.[p]You are right on though with the flour. I always use bread flour which is made of hard durham wheat, that is rich in gluten, which is not necessarily true of other baking flours.[p]This may help a bit on the dough rising in the fridge. The reason that your dough rises in the fridge is that the heat is still about 75 degress when you put it in. The recidual heat causes it to rise until the dough temp. reaches the fridge temp. Just like meat taken off a grill at say a 140 degrees will tend to actually rise a few degrees before it begins cooling.[p]The reason this has to be true is that yeast is a living fungi. Fungi grow best in warm damp places. (athletes foot for example) This is why yeast recipes always call for warm water, to activate the yeast. And like all simple life (fungi, bacteria etc) that do not have the ability to maintain a constant internal temperature (like humans can), all will slow at refridge temps, and stop completely at freezer temps. That is why refrigeration and freezing preseves food (fungi and bacteria cannot grow in those conditions.[p]Dough rising is due to the yeast fungi being active and interacting with the sugar in the flour (or the sugar added to to the recipe) to produce tiny air bubbles, that make the gluten stretch and therefore get larger. It will not nor can it do that under fridge temps. [p]That's also why kneading is so important. Kneading develops the gluten in the flour and therefore allows the yeast to work and make tiny pockets of air. This is what makes delicate dough. Any under-kneaded dough will tend to be tough and rubbery because the yeast cannot act well until the gluten is developed, which it is by kneading.[p]I don't mean to be disagreeable here. I say this merely to help improve anyone's baking skills by understanding what is happening to the dough. [p]Good luck to you.[p]Anthony

  • Anthony Up North, No offense taken, and you definately know your dough; because you are right!, in halving the given recipe, I forgot to half the water. It should be 1 1/2 cups. One more question I'm a little unlcear on, does the addition of oil make the dough more, or less, tough?

  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    Anthony Up North, my compliments also, and "Cooks Illustrated" could use your expertise. You have great illustrative writing skills.

  • Frozen Chosen,[p]Oil tends to make the dough delicate and moist. Lack of oil tends to make the dough dry, rubbery and tough. But there is a certain limit to how much oil you can use. If you use too much oil the dough will be too sticky.[p]Some recipes (like Italian bread) skip the oil and that is one of the things that causes Italian bread to be chewy. The other, Italian bread had more salt so not only is it more salty, but since salts retards the action of the yeast, it too adds to a slightly more tough and chewy bread, which is what Italian bread is supposed to be.[p]Thanks for not taking my criticism personally. I don't want to come across as a know it all, which I am not. But I have been working with doughs as a hobby for more than twenty five years and so I have learned a bit more than most folks want to know. If I can help someone that is all to the good.[p]One more thing. In your post you kind of downgraded kneading. That is a very important step. Do not short change it. Knead the dough at least 6-8 minutes and better like 10 minutes. That will develop the gluten.[p]Hope this all helps you. If you have trouble with the recipe, e-mail me and together we should be able to locate the problem you might be having.[p]Good luck to you.[p]Anthony[p]

  • Nature Boy,[p]You are more than welcome. Like I told Spin below, I have learned far more from you guys than I have given back. The Thanks should be from me to you. [p]I really do appreciate your comments however.[p]Anthony

  • MaryMary Posts: 190
    Anthony Up North,
    I wasn't on line all weekend, so I missed this discussion.[p]You have a choice in making bread. Sufficient time will do just about all that mechanical kneading does. The gluten is developed by wetting the proteins in the flour. Kneading hastens this process by mechanically distributing the water and wetting the gluten molecules, but a long sitting period does the same thing. You don't even have to have yeast to have this work, tho without yeast or some leavening, you won't get a rise when baking.[p]As noted in other posts, a long cool rise makes for a better flavored bread, and it also does a significant amount of kneading for you. This is the principle behind sponge methods and other low kneading methods. The trick is in recognizing the right stage (texture) that the dough has reached. Those of us who work with true sourdough have found less kneading means a better bread because the acidity of sourdough tends to overdevelop the gluten if you don't watch it.[p]You are correct that you want your dough to be soft, silky, and very elastic, but there are several techniques to getting a good dough.[p]Oil or other fat tenderizes the crust and crumb. The classic french or italian bread texture is chewy (some might think this is tough) with a crisp, but thin golden crust. This is achieved by a number of techniques, including a wet dough, but these breads never contain fat, or milk. They are made of flour (usually of moderate strength - 10-11% protein), water, leavening, and salt. Some traditional italian breads don't have salt at all. This developed because salt used to be so heavily taxed in Italy, bakers figured out how to make good bread without it. with sufficient skill, one can make very good bread and pizza crust with moderate strength flour - bread flour isn't an absolute.[p]In France, if a bread contains fat or milk, it must be sold as a brioche and by law cannont be sold as French bread.[p]I've been making bread for 35 years and have made a hobby of developing my skill and understanding of it. There's always more to learn. And most of the time it tastes great.[p]Mary[p]

  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    Mary, you and Anthony both have my admiration! When two heads such as yours and Anthonys come together on a topic like this, we all benefit. You two are amazing!

  • Mary,[p]What a wonderful response you gave to my posts. I learned much by reading it. Needless to say I put it on file and will study it and try a your suggestions as they fit the circumstance. [p]You are right. Bread like most activities is a complex process, which is just another way of say that you can always learn more about it. There are just too many variables and too many variations of bread to be an expert on all of them. In fact the more I learn about most of these activities the more I realize I really don't know very much about it.[p]Thanks again. I may have some questions to ask you one of these days about what you said.[p]Anthony

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