People are always amazed that our Friday night “Pizza Night” consists of pizza I make from scratch. They ask if I even made the dough. Of course!
I learned to make pizza dough when my mother got a cuisinart food processor in the seventies. It was so easy!
Since then I’ve lived in many different climates with incredibly high or low humidity so do it by feel, and have changed things. I keep a jar of yeast, not packets and have never found or used fresh yeast or rapid rise yeast. Just an old fashioned gal, I guess.
For two pizzas, cookie sheet sized (rectangular): 1C whole wheat flour; 2C unbleached white flour; and 1t salt in a food processor (I’ve switched to Kitchenaid). Mix 1C tepid (baby milk temperature) water with 1T yeast, a pinch of sugar and flour and 1T olive oil.
Pulse the dry ingredients and drizzle in the yeast mixture. Let the dough form a ball, adding drops of additional water as needed, 25 times around and stop. Wait five minutes. Go another 25 times around the bowl and stop, pour onto a floured counter and knead for a minute and form into a ball. It should bounce back when you touch it with your finger.
Place in a bowl and cover with a damp, clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place for 90 minutes. I prefer the microwave, off of course.
Remove, divide into two equal portions – a bench scraper works well here – and knead each segment rolling it back on itself then forming tight balls. Flour over and under and cover with the bowl you used to proof the dough for ten minutes.
Roll to size, I prefer a straight wooden pin and cut off excess with a rolling cutter. I find that not only is the whole wheat healthier, it gives the dough the ability to stretch and stay stretched and makes quick work of rolling it out.
The toppings are endless so don’t get me started. I’d be more creative if my husband didn’t like cheese, pepperoni and sauteed mushrooms. We did have a participatory pizza party with guests which was fun. I don’t normally use tomato sauce.
Ideas: sliced parboiled potatoes, rosemary and fontina. Sauteed spinach, roasted garlic and feta. Roasted butternut squash slices with gorgonzole dolce. Pissaladiere with caramelized onions topped with anchovies (sliced small, it’s a great appetizer). Think up the best things from your childhood and make a pizza. Just make sure that if anything cannot cook in time, roast or saute it beforehand. Likewise if something is going to give off a lot of moisture, like mushrooms or onions, saute them first until their water is nearly gone.
Cheeses are always an issue and the cheese lady at the local market told me to use fresh mozz but slice it and dry it on paper towels so it makes for a tasty, not soggy, pizza. After all, you spent time making that dough and you want it to be crisp and tasty! Hoping that you get the kids involved, come on, it’s only another load of flour-coated shirts… and enjoy my time-tested climate-change dough recipe.
Cook in at least a 450 degree oven for ten minutes, turning the pans halfway through and changing oven shelves. Wait for the cheese to melt and brown, and for the crust to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let sit for five minutes, cut with your roller and enjoy! Cheers, Dee