Dough, take three: pizza crust

I made a mess of every utensil, bowl, appliance, and counter in my kitchen, but I did it.  I made homemade whole wheat pizza dough.  The result was an unbelievably tasty pizza:

Every homemade pizza I’ve ever made has been the product of a box of Jiffy pizza crust mix.  Even then, pizza crust inevitably sends me into fits of cuss words and a series of vows to never again make a homemade pizza.  But just like swearing to give up alcohol following a night of heavy drinking, as soon as my frustration hangover wears off I’m back to purchasing another box of Jiffy and trying again.

My battle with pizza dough has always been a case of the stupid stuff not spreading.  No matter how meticulously I slowwwwwwly pad at the dough to spread it far enough to deem it pizza-worthy, it always tears, retracts, and fights like hell to remain a ball of useless dough.  I had hoped that making my own pizza dough would resolve this issue.

The recipe for the dough was almost identical to that of the dinner rolls I made last week–the only difference being that the pizza dough didn’t call for butter and sugar like the rolls did.  I also chose to swap half the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour.  I’m not sure if this is the reason that the pizza dough was a bitch to knead, but no matter how floured the board was, the dough kept sticking to it!  This hadn’t been a problem at all with the roll dough.  I think cussing and homemade pizza go hand in hand–there’s just no getting around it.  Eventually, the dough reached the elasticity I was aiming for and I began sculpting the crust.  Guess what?  It was at least fifty-seven times easier to spread than the boxed dough!

In addition to the homemade crust, I also made some homemade pizza sauce.  I mixed six ounces of tomato paste with six ounces of water.  Our darling little old Mexican neighbor has kindly provided us with a stash of homegrown garlic, so I minced up a couple of cloves for the sauce.  [Fact:  this was the first time I’ve ever used fresh garlic, as opposed to bottled.)  After adding some basil and oregano, the pizza sauce was perfect!

Next, I smothered the crust with sauce, sprinkled it with a mix of grated Gruyere and mozzarella, and topped it with some roma tomato slices.

But I didn’t stop there.  On top of the tomatoes, I added pepperoni, fresh spinach, and a couple pinches of grated Romano and Parmesan.

When it came out of the oven, it was hard to believe I’d made it.  My homemade pizza never looks this good!  And it tasted good, too.  The texture of the crust was splendid.

I have to admit, I was slightly annoyed that so much effort was required for a simple pizza crust.  If you take the prep work and the cleanup time into consideration, I probably spent an hour on the crust alone.  But my annoyance faded when I remembered that this recipe was for multiple batches of dough, so the next time I want a homemade pizza, all I have to do is remove the dough from the freezer and thaw it out!  😀

So now I’m off to empty my dishwasher.  That’s right, I filled that sucker up making a 7-inch pizza!

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7 thoughts on “Dough, take three: pizza crust

  1. That looks super! Great job! I would buy this pizza – it looks really fresh and tasty.

    If kneading dough by hand, you can figure 5 minutes for white dough, 10 minutes for wheat dough, and 15 minutes for a heavy duty dough like rye or pumpernickel. If you are going to continue baking bread, get a loved one to buy you a food processor. The mess is instantaneously minimized, and the dough comes out perfect every time once you get the feel of the right dough consistency.

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    • Thanks! I did give myself a little pat on the back for the pizza. 😉

      So, I’m going to claim ignorance here–but I’m learning, right? How do you use a food processor in bread making? I didn’t know this was possible!

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      • Looks to me like you are making amazing progress at a rapid pace. 🙂

        You start your yeast in the food processor, then add liquid and flour, using the blunt dough attachment, not a sharp blade. Then pulse until dough pulls away from the sides. Let rise and shape as you normally would. It takes only a few minutes to knead, and only one container becomes dirty. You will still have to shape your dough on a floured board, though. Try it!

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  2. Hey Hope..
    Here is my pizza dough recipe that you might like to try… well it is not actually ‘mine’ I got it off a wood fired pizza guy… but his pizza’s were totally kick ass awesome, so I asked him if he would share his ‘secret’ recipe… it turns out the best food often uses very simple ingredients…

    2 Cups Flour (I use white high grade … bakers bread flour… dunno what they call it in the US..)
    1 Tablespoon Yeast (I use granulated)
    1 Teaspoon Salt
    3 Tablespoons Oil
    190 mls Warm Water (OK that is 6.42466 fl oz… or 0.803083 US cup… heh)
    1 Teaspoon Sugar

    1. Mix sugar into warm water, and then sprinkle yeast on top. Set to one side until it starts to go all foamy creamy on top…

    2. Combine sifted flour, salt, and oil into bowl… or better still food processor with plastic kneading blade. (Yeah you soooo, need one… put it on your gift registry.. =]p )

    3. Make a ‘well’ (yeah whatever) and add water yeast mixture… if you are using a food processor just pour it down the spout, while pulsing. Keep pulsing until it forms a nice round ball and it all leaves the sides. If you are using a bowl just mix it with a wooden spoon until you can’t stir the sucker any more… then it is time to knead.

    4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface… like the counter top… there is prolly a Youtube thingie about kneading, but basically pull the back half of the dough over the front half, 1/4 turn and repeat… oh about 50 or so times… depending on whether you used a food processor or not… apparently the ‘science’ is that the gluten molecules of the flour need to be stretched or something… (yeah whatever)… just need the crap out of the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Use a small amount of extra flour, if the dough starts to get sticky… but you definitely don’t want it too dry… (yeah whatever..)

    5. Set the dough in a greased bowl, cover (I just put a tea towel over it)… (not sure about cling film cos maybe the gas needs to escape… dunno have to ask Flash about that one…) place in a warm place, and let it rise… patience grasshopper…

    6. Once it has risen, punch it down and you are ready to make your pizza. I don’t use a rolling pin or anything fancy, I just push the dough down with my fingers until it is a reasonable circle. This quantity will make one large or two medium pizzas. I reckon you can work out your own toppings… sans mushrooms (yeah whatever…)

    7. The next trick is the baking… a blazing bloody hot oven, basically max it out… oh and a pizza stone… it is important to pre-heat the oven and pizza stone to blazing hot… don’t rush it and try to cook before the oven is up to temperature.

    8. Now the tricky part is getting the pizza from the bench to the oven and onto the pizza stone… you can’t exactly pick up a loaded pizza and put it in a bloody blazing hot oven with just your hands.. the whole thing will fall apart and you will get burnded… pizza places have fancy shovels… I get around this by making the pizza on a sheet of baking paper, on a baking tray… and then slide the loaded pizza on the paper from the baking tray to the stone, you can then use the corner of the paper to pull the pizza back onto the baking tray when done. If you don’t use a pizza stone.. (but seriously… you like, so need one… where did that gift registry go again?) …slide the pizza from one baking tray, to a preheated one in the oven. Did I mention that the oven has to be bloody blazing hot? What you don’t want to do, is put a cold baking tray with the pizza on it into the oven, you don’t wanna waste heat, heating up the tray and the base wont be crispy.

    9. Providing the oven is blazing hot, about 250 C or (heck I dunno about 482 F… do ovens even go that hot?) the pizza should only take about 7 minutes or so.

    10. Smell the deliciousness, and eat when done… but be careful that oven is bloody hot. Just sayin.

    Cheers
    Craig

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