I love pizza.
Like, I could probably eat it every day.
Which might be a problem. Do you have any idea what that would do to my waistline??
As a kid, my family would occasionally buy pre-made pizza dough (along with the fixin's) from the little Italian takeout place in town. Everything there was fantastic, and we always had a great time making the pizzas (and an even greater time eating them!). When the Boyfriend and I were trying to figure out what to do for Valentine's day, we decided making pizza would be a fun thing to do together. Someday, when we have a bigger kitchen, maybe we'll achieve more of a cooking together result, instead of me reading directions and him executing them. That's neither nor there, though.
I've never made pizza dough from scratch, and really wanted to give it a whirl. The first step to finding a good recipe is checking Pinterest. I mean really, what did we do before that? (Sidenote: I actually do have a whole collection of cookbooks and love them dearly, but this is a fantastically simple and quick way to find a recipe that other people have tried)
Other than holding onto my stand mixer for dear life while the dough kneaded (I love it like a baby, I know I have issues), the process went smoothly. According to readers of the blog I found this on, the finished product freezes well, too! We're trying that out with 1/3 of the dough right now. I'll report back later, if anyone cares. In the future I might put some wax paper or flour down on the bottom of the bowl because the dough stuck a little (very little, though. I'm just a perfectionist).
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (adapted from Cooking for Seven)
1/2 cup warm water (too warm to drink, but not quite hot)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 cup room temperature water
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups (20oz by weight) white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
olive oil for coating bowl
flour or cornmeal for dusting
Pour warm water into a small bowl and stir in yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until the yeast begins to foam. In a separate bowl (I used a Pyrex measuring cup because it has a spout) combine the room temp water and olive oil. Stir the yeast/warm water into the room temp water/olive oil. Measure flour and salt into the mixer bowl (or a medium bowl if you're doing this by hand I suppose). When the liquid mix is ready, pour it slowly into the mixer bowl with the mixer on low (use the paddle attachment for this step). Mix until just incorporated. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Change out the paddle with the dough hook and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes (we mixed for 8). If your mixer bowl moves a little during the process, don't freak out like I did! It will all be ok. While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 400* (you know, if you plan on making pizza with the dough you're making). If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven before it preheats so it can heat slowly with the oven.
Once the dough is done, transfer it to a greased medium-sized bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place (I set it on top of my oven with the oven on) until it's doubled in size, about an hour to an hour and half (closer to an hour and a half). If you're making dough to freeze for later, this is where we part ways. Congrats! You have pizza dough. If you're making pizza, keep reading...
We split the dough into 3 pieces, but you could definitely make more. With 3 we got large thin crust pizzas. Roll out each piece of dough (or hand toss it like a bad-ass like I did. That restaurant experience came in handy! Can I put that on my resume?) on a floured (we actually used cornmeal - it doesn't burn as much in the oven and I like to think the grainy texture helps the dough not stick to surfaces even better) surface to whatever thickness you desire. If you have a large cutting board or a pizza peel, use that for your surface -it'll really help for the next step. Before adding toppings, wiggle the dough a little to make sure it's not sticking.
Add toppings (don't make it too heavy or the middle of the dough won't cook properly) and transfer to the pizza stone in the oven. This is the trickiest part. I kind of shimmied the pizza off the cutting board with a spatula (this is where a well-floured surface really comes in handy). If you're nervous about this step it might be easier to take the pizza stone out of the oven. Bake the pizza for 10-12 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly. Slice it up and enjoy! But try not to burn your mouth (as I inevitably do).
Need some topping suggestions?
My pizza (shown above) had a pesto base, topped with a four cheese blend, pieces of cambemzola (a camembert-gorgonzola blend), slices of marinated fresh mozzarella, and prosciutto (all from Trader Joe's). I added the prosciutto to the pizza in the last two minutes of baking, so it didn't overcook.
The Boyfriend's pizza had red sauce (we just pureed a can of diced canned tomatoes), the four cheese blend and slices of salami.