Monday, June 22, 2009

Pizza Dough!

I don't have too much time, but I know if I don't do this now I won't find the time till next weekend. So I will hastily give you my recipe for my much tested pizza dough. I have had 2 requests in the past week for this (thanks for making me feel like a real chef by asking me for recipes B and L!) This recipe is really not a recipe at all, and it has evolved over time to include a bit of whole wheat flour. Now before you try to tell me how un-Italian that is, and how true pizza dough is made with Italian "00" flour, the suggestion to include a small amount of whole wheat flour came to me from a true Italian Mamma. So there. Try it, it's really good!

My Pizza Dough

4-5 cups of white flour as needed
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 packet traditional yeast or a big chunk of fresh yeast (please don't use quick rise!!)
1-2 cups warm water, as needed

Dilute yeast in about 1/4 cup of warm (not hot) water in a small glass bowl. Set aside for about 10 minutes while you get on with the flour. 
Stir 4 cups of the white flour and the whole wheat flour with the salt together in a bowl. When the yeast is diluted, pour over the flour, then add the water a little bit at a time until you have a "shaggy mess" as Nigella would say. 
Then turn the dough out onto the counter and start kneading. As you go you will feel that the dough is either too wet and sticky or too dry and floury, just add more flour or water as needed as you knead. After about 5 or 10 minutes you should have a beautiful, elastic ball of dough. When you do, clean your bowl in hot water, give it a slick of oil and turn your dough around in the oil. Cover the bowl with a damp, warm, clean dish towel and put it aside in a warm and non-drafty spot in the kitchen.
After an hour it should be well risen. If you want to use it right away, go for it. If not, give it a punch and a couple of kneads and put it back in the bowl. If you want to make it a day ahead, cover it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. The next day leave it out for about 4 hours or until it comes to room temperature.
To use it, stretch it onto a cookie sheet that you have sprinkled with fine cornmeal, top with whatever you like and bake it for about 20 minutes at 400. These are guidelines only, you really need to know your oven to get the timing right, and it also depends how thick or thin you make your crust. Sometimes this amount gives me 2 cookie sheet sized pizzas and sometimes I just get one. Depends on my mood.
Buon Appetito!

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