Handmade Pizza Dough (31 Days: Day 5)

I make a lot of homemade pizzas. I usually use my bread machine to knead my pizza dough for me, so I can be lazy about it do other things while it's processing. Every once in a while when I haven't really thought about making had time to make my dough early enough in the day to use my bread machine, I have to resort to the old-fashioned method. It's a lot quicker than my machine, but a little more labor intensive.

This recipe makes enough dough for two large thin crust pizzas. If you like a thicker crust, you'll want to make one and a half recipes. For pan crust, I suggest doubling the recipe.

For this, you will need warm water, fast-acting yeast, salt, sugar, all purpose flour, olive oil (or vegetable oil if you don't have any olive oil), and any seasonings you want to add to your crust. I used Mrs. Dash Garlic
& Herb and onion powder. You'll also need non-stick spray and cornmeal for your pans.

Pour your water into a bowl and mix a little sugar in. Sprinkle the yeast over the water, but do not mix.

 Let sit for about ten minutes, until it gets all foamy.

Add the flour, salt, oil,  and any seasonings you would like to have baked into your crust.

Mix everything up well, until your dough forms into a ball. Knead your dough for several minutes, until it gets smooth and elastic. (And let's just pretend in this photo that I remembered to add my seasonings before mixing my dough. I didn't so I kneaded them in after I mixed everything else up.)

My dough, with seasonings kneaded in. 

Add a few drops of olive oil over your ball of dough and turn it over several times in the bowl to coat the dough evenly. This will keep your dough from sticking to your bowl.

Place your bowl in a warm spot, cover with a towel, and let it rise for twenty or thirty minutes, or until it's at least doubled. I like to turn my oven on a few seconds, just long enough to start heating it up, but not long enough to melt my bowl. Then I turn my oven off and pop my bowl of dough in there, uncovered.

After your dough has risen, dump it out on a floured surface. Knead it a few times, to work the extra oil into it, then cut it in half with a sharp knife.

Spray your pan with non-stick spray and dust it with cornmeal. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Throw your dough on top of your pan and pat or roll it out to be slightly bigger than you want the finished pizza to be. Fold the edges over the pizza. I like to crimp the edges down with a fork, just so it'll be more likely to stay. Poke your dough with a fork.

My son insisted I make him his very own "little" pizza, so I did.

Bake your crusts for 10 minutes or so. This will help keep them from getting too soggy. Then you can top your pizza with whatever you'd like and bake it for another 10-20 minutes.

OK, kiddos, recap time.

Pizza Dough (handmade, enough for two large thin crust pizzas)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (0.25 ounce) package yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup warn water
1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus 1/2 teaspoon for coating dough while rising
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)

1. Mix sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast on top and wait 10 minutes.

2. Add flour, salt, oil and seasonings. Combine.

3. Knead 6-8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Coat with olive oil. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.

4. Grease pans. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

5. Knead dough a few times to incorporate the oil coating.

6. Divide  your dough and pat or roll it out onto pans, making it a little bigger than the desired size of the finished crust. Fold the edges over and crimp to seal. Prick crust with a fork.

7. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.

8. Remove from oven. Add desired pizza sauce and toppings. Return to oven for an additional 10 to 20 minutes, or until crust is cooked through and cheese is melted.

Today's question : What pizza toppings are your favorites? Do you like plain cheese pizza? Pepperoni? Supreme? Meat lover's? Hawaiian? Margherite? Veggie? White pizza with spinach? (Personally, I love pizza. Period. Just about any toppings, with the exceptions of hot peppers and anchovies. But if you like them, that's OK. Different strokes, and all that.)

Tomorrow, I'll bring you my recipe for White Pizza, complete with my Garlic-Olive-Basil Pesto recipe that I use as the sauce on this delectable delight.


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