Snow Day Snacks: Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough-6

I started this post a few weeks ago during a snow day. As it became clear I would not be completing the post that day, I figured I would just change the “Snow Day Snacks” part of the title when I got around to posting it, but OMG, there is a “slight chance of snow after 2:00am” tonight. Come. On. It’s enough already.

I will look for the silver lining around the looming snow cloud and post this last “Snow Day Snacks” post of the season, and take the opportunity to tell you about my go-to pizza dough recipe. I have had this recipe, paired with the Easy Homemade Pizza Sauce recipe, in a word document on my computer – creatively and uniquely titled “Pizza” – for more than three years. Every time I search for “pizza” to try to find it and have to sift through a bunch of random files and pictures (yes, all with the word “pizza” in the title), I remember one of the primary reasons I started this blog: to catalog my tried and true recipes so I could more easily put my hands on them. I am so happy to check this one off my list of recipes to be transferred and posted to My Utensil Crock.

This recipe for pizza dough is straightforward, and has always worked well for me. It bakes up neither too thick nor too thin, and it has never failed me.

My tips for making pizza dough include:

  1. Check the expiration date on your yeast!
  2. Use a thermometer to measure the water temperature.
  3. Warm the mixing bowl by running hot water around the outside so the water holds its warm temperature when you pour it in.
  4. Add a little brown sugar or honey when proofing the yeast.
  5. As with all yeast doughs, try to keep it somewhere warm while it’s rising, whether in your oven (which is off), or close to something simmering on the stove that is emitting heat.
  6. If you are like me and don’t have a rolling pin, a wine bottle (clean and washed on the outside) is indistinguishable when it comes time to roll dough. Just keep an eye on the bottle shape – some wine bottles have too much slope to them to be as useful as others.
  7. Sprinkle a little fine-ground corn meal on the pan before you place the dough on it to bake.
  8. Pizza dough will keep in the fridge for up to four or five days, in a container with a tight lid. I just pull off a piece that’s the right size for me (usually about a fourth of a batch) and put the rest back for later.

Pizza Dough

Here are some pictures demonstrating key steps in the process:

Foamy yeast/water/brown sugar, ready for the next step (this was a particularly foamy batch – they won’t all be this foamy!):

Pizza Dough-5

The dough here has (approximately) doubled, and is ready for…

Pizza Dough-7Punching down. Literal punching down.

Pizza Dough-8

POW! KAZAM!

You can use this pizza dough as you would any pizza dough – not only to make pizza, but calzones, stromboli, breadsticks… the full range of Italian bread snacks.

I topped mine with Easy Homemade Pizza Sauce, steamed spinach (squeezed in paper towels to remove as much water as possible), red pepper flakes, and mozzarella cheese.

Pizza Dough-2And I got to enjoy this personal-size homemade pizza on my snow day:

Pizza Dough-3

Snow Day Snacks: Pizza Dough
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Some ideas to get your wheels turning on toppings: - Easy Homemade Pizza Sauce, with red pepper flakes, steamed spinach, and shredded mozzarella - Spinach - Walnut Pesto, with red pepper flakes, sliced poached chicken, and shredded mozzarella or goat cheese
Author:
Recipe type: Bread, Snack
Serves: Dough for 3-4 personal-sized pizzas
Ingredients
  • One package active dry yeast
  • .5 t brown sugar
  • 1.5 c warm water (105-110 degrees F
  • .5 t kosher salt
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 3.5 c flour + more onhand (I usually use 1.5 c whole wheat flour and the rest regular all-purpose flour)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the warm water, and let sit for 10 minutes until foamy.
  2. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Stir in 2.5 c of the flour.
  3. Clean your kitchen counter and dust it with flour. Put the dough on the counter, and knead it, adding the last cup of flour, and more if you need it, until the dough is not sticky any more and it doesn't easily incorporate more flour.
  4. Spray a second bowl with olive oil (or clean the first and then spray it).
  5. Place the dough in the sprayed bowl, and lightly spray the top of the dough with oil as well. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until it has approximately doubled in size (about one hour - it's ok to leave it for longer though).
  6. When the dough has (approximately) doubled in size, punch it down and form it into a ball.
  7. You are now ready to use the dough in your favorite recipe that calls for pizza dough.
To make a personal-sized pizza:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425; place two oven racks evenly to divide the oven into thirds.
  2. Dust your pan with corn meal. {I put down a silpat first, and then corn meal on top of that.}
  3. Dust the kitchen counter with flour, and pull off one-fourth to one-third of the dough. Roll it out on the floured counter top with a rolling pin (or wine bottle).
  4. When the dough is the size you want it to be, transfer it to the prepared pan.
  5. Top with sauce and toppings as desired.
  6. Bake pizza in preheated oven on the lower of the two racks for about 10 minutes. Move the pan to the top rack for the last 5 minutes, or until the cheese and toppings brown.
  7. The closer the pan is to the heat element on the top of the oven, the faster the cheese will brown!

Adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/jays-signature-pizza-crust/

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