Aug 31, 2009

homemade pizza dough

Earlier this summer, while visiting my aunt and uncle in Utah, my aunt mentioned how delicious the homemade pizzas I featured here looked. Living in Utah (and I know lots of other places) that don't have Trader Joe's, she was at a loss to try it without a good pizza dough recipe. I knew there was an easy remedy to this set back. In fact, prior to finding the dough at Trader Joe's I made my own pizza dough quite often.

So I recently pulled out that recipe to try it again. Though it does take a tad bit longer than the quick and easy pre-made dough, it was so good that I might be converted back to doing in the old-fashioned way from now on. I find it so interesting as I've starting making more and more from scratch this summer how good food tastes when its homemade.

Like I said, this pizza dough takes a some time. Probably 15 minutes or so to make and then it needs to rest and rise for a couple hours, so plan ahead if you make it. Well worth the time though as it tastes like pizza dough should in my book, light and chewy.

homemade pizza dough
adapted from ROME

1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups semolina flour, plus extra as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl stir the yeast into 2 tablespoons lukewarm water. Let stand until creamy, about 3 minutes.

On a large work surface, sift together the flours and salt into a mound, then make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture, olive oil, and 1/4 cup lukewarm water into the well. Using your fingers, swirl the liquid in a circular motion, gradually incorporating flour from the sides (just and FYI - this can get messy, but once all the liquid is incorporated it will form the dough easily). Slowly add 1 cup lukewarm water to the well at the same time, until the ingredients are well combined and a rough dough has formed. Knead vigorously, stretching and pressing the dough against the work surface until it is soft and smooth and comes away cleanly from your hands, about 10 minutes. To check if the dough is sufficiently kneaded, cut off a piece: the cut surface should be pocked with small air holes.

Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. Then divide the dough into 4 balls, cover again, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Once the dough has risen and is ready to be rolled place a pizza stone or unglazed tiles on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees F. Lightly flour the work surface. Place 1 of the dough balls on the work surface, leaving the others under the damp towel. Punch down and flatten into a disk. Turn the disk over, sprinkle with additional flour, and using a rolling pin or your hands, roll or stretch out the dough into a 12 inch round, turning it over and dusting it regularly as you work.

Sprinkle a rimless baking sheet with semolina flour. Gently lay the dough round on top and cover evenly with your chosen toppings. Slide the pizza onto your baking stone or tiles and bake until the crust begins to brown and crisp, about 8-10 minutes.

alison's notes:
This would look a lot better if I rolled it out, but I was at a friends house and still haven't quite figured out how to throw dough into a round pizza shape.

(photography by: alison clayshulte)

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