Yeast is an ingredient that induces fear into many beginning bakers and at-home cooks. I was one of them. I wanted to make cinnamon rolls but kept procrastinating and making excuses until I decided to overcome my fear. I successfully made two different overnight cinnamon roll recipes (my first attempt; and my second attempt - which was much better). My mom's large scallion pancake recipe also used yeast, and I have to admit that the ingredient wasn't quite as scary as people made it sound.
Many of my online cooking friends have successfully made their own pizza dough, and I figured it was time to join the bandwagon. There's nothing better than a freshly made pizza, and how cool would it be to make an entire one from scratch?
I found this recipe on Annie's Eats and the dough was surprisingly easy to make. I followed the instructions to a T and froze half of the dough for later use. For our pizza, I made a barbecue chicken pizza with sliced grilled chicken, Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauce and shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese. I baked mine in a 400 degree (Fahrenheit) oven on my pizza stone for 10 minutes and it was perfect.
My husband was impressed with the dough and said that it tasted even better than the ones we used to buy at the farmer's market. Whoo hoo! Maybe homemade bread will be next on my list, but we'll see about that...
Homemade pizza dough
- ½ cup warm water
- 2¼ tsp. instant yeast
- 4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 1½ tsp. salt
- 1¼ cup water, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.
Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.) Cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.
To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes (I preheated my oven to 400 and left my pizza stone in there; I took the stone out as soon as the oven was done preheating). Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil (I did not do this). Top as desired. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes (my pizza baked at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes).
Yield: Two pizza crusts (each can be rolled out to about a 12-inch diameter)