Friday, July 10, 2009
At home, from scratch and easier than you may think!
approx. 1 c. Warm water
2 t. yeast
2 t. sugar
1/4 c. olive oil
1 T. salt (I use Real Salt)
approx 1 1/2 - 2 c. Unbleached Flour or Whole Wheat Pastry flour
First proof your yeast by adding it too the warm water with a pinch of the sugar (this will just help it proof a little faster) watch it for a bit and if the yeast begins to bubble up and expand it is good to go.
In a kitchen aid mixer (or a big bowl) add the water and yeast to the remaining sugar, olive oil and salt. Mix in one cup of the flour and mix very well for a minute or so. This will help to develop the gluten (something you would not want to do with a lighter crumb bread like pancakes or cookies). At this point either put on the bread kneading attachment (if using a mixer) or dump your mixture to a floured surface for kneading. Gradually knead in as much flour as needed to form a dough soft, subtle dough.
For mixer - one that clings to the kneading hook and forms a ball, but if you turn the mixer off will slowly slump and loose it's shape.
If kneading by hand - a dough that you can bring together into a ball, but if you let it rest will slowly slump and loose it's shape.
Either way the dough should be kneaded until it is consistent in texture and elastic.
Now take your ball of dough and put it into a greased bowl. Cover and let rise someplace warm until double in bulk. Raising times will vary depending on the temperature of the room you set the dough in - in the summer my dough raises so quickly on our back porch!
When you are ready to make your crust dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to your desired shape. Pizza should be baked at around 400 degrees and baking times vary from 15 - 20 minutes depending on the toppings you choose. Get creative!
if you will be using a pizza stone be sure to let it preheat with the oven.
for a crisper crust remove your pizza from your baking sheet just before it is finished and let it cook it's last few minutes directly on the oven rack.