I’ve tried many pizza dough recipes in the past few years, and this one is absolutely the BEST. I’ve used this recipe at least three times with success each time. We like a pizza crust that rises a lot and is substantial enough to hold many toppings without getting soggy in the middle. This is the only dough that has been up to the challenge (although the Whole Foods pre-mixed dough is pretty awesome too).
The recipe comes from the classic Joy of Cooking. I originally checked this book out at the library with the intention of making many dishes from it, but I only have made the pizza dough. A few months ago, I even went back to the library just to copy down the dough recipe from this book! My mother-in-law, without knowing about my love for this recipe, bought me this 1,100 page cookbook for my birthday, so now I can try some more dishes from it soon.
We went to my parents’ house over the weekend to see them and my brother and sister-in-law. Mom made some delicious Cornish Game Hens that had been marinated in oil, Worcestershire salt, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, soy sauce, dry mustard, pepper, lemon juice and then grilled. There were plenty of leftovers, so Mom generously sent some home with us. Paired with some sauteed spinach and onions, the leftovers made terrific pizza toppings.
Of course I had lots of help from Miss Julia, who was in rare form last night. I think she had too much Halloween candy. I didn’t even know that was really a “thing.” I thought it was just something parents said, as in “Oh no! Looks like you’ve had too much candy! You’re being so crazy!” But when this girl gets a little sugar, she goes bonkers. I guess that’s just another reason why her parents should eat it all. You can kind of see that bonkers look in her eye in the photo. Yikes.
Here is the recipe below. I followed it to the letter this time since I wanted to blog about it. When I’ve made it in the past, I have omitted the second rest time, the oil brushing, and the finger poking and have achieved identical results. It’s not a fussy recipe. It’s a solid crust that can withstand lots and lots of toppings.
Two 12-inch crusts
- Combine in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
- 1 1/3 cups warm (105-115) water
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 ½ to 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- (1 tablespoon sugar)
Mix by hand or on low speed for about 1 minute. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly coated with olive oil and turn it once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Preheat oven to 475. Grease 2 baking sheets and dust with cornmeal; or place a baking stone in the oven and preheat it for 45 minutes.
Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Roll each piece into a ball and let rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 10 to 15 minutes. Prepare the desired toppings.
One at a time, flatten each ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 12 inch round, rolling and stretching the dough. Place each dough circle on a prepared baking sheet, or, if using a baking stone, place them on rimless baking sheets or baker’s peels dusted with cornmeal. Lift the edges and pinch to form a lip. To prevent the filling from making the crust soggy, brush the top with olive oil.
Use your fingertips to push dents in the surface of the dough, to prevent bubbling, and let rest for about 10 minutes. The pizza is now ready to be topped and baked.
From Joy of Cooking. 75th edition, 2006. Rombauer. P. 607