How to Make Pizza Dough
Making a homemade pizza is much more satisfying than having a boxed, frozen pizza. It’s even better than buying the pre-shaped pizza crust in the frozen section of the grocery store. Don’t think you can beat Papa John’s recipe? You’re not giving yourself enough credit. With just a few ingredients and a little bit of time, you won’t ever order from Domino’s again.
When you start making your home-made pizza, the subtle aromas of freshly-made bread wafting through your home are almost as satisfying as taking that first bite of crisp, cheesy goodness. In addition, you can add just the right amount of toppings to suit your personal taste. Why settle for pepperoni? Why not Canadian bacon and bleu cheese? Salsa and Monterey Jack? How about Brie or Camembert and pecans or walnuts for toppings? You are only limited by your palate. You can learn to be a home-made pizza gourmet if you learn the most crucial part of the process: making the dough.
Learning to make your own pizza dough is a skill you’ll put to use again and again. It’s not as hard as you think. If you have a bread machine, you can use it to mix and knead your pizza dough. Just put all ingredients into your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. When the kneading cycle if finished, simply take it out and roll it to your preferred level of thin-ness or thickness.
Here is a recipe for Whole Wheat and Cheese Pizza Dough:
1 cup water
½ cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups bread flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
(1 ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, basil, or oregano optional)
1. Set the water out to room temperature. Add the yeast. Let set for at least ten minutes. This will allow the yeast to start to dissolve.
2. Mix remaining ingredients. If you want an herbed crust, choose whichever you prefer from the list and mix into the dough. Choose only one, or cut down the amounts until the total amount is 1 ¼ teaspons. Mix all ingredients together until they form a sticky ball.
3. Sprinkle flour onto your counter and plop the dough down there.
4. Lightly dust your hands with flour before kneading the dough. After you’ve kneaded the dough two or three times, press it down flat. Use a rolling pin to flatten the crust to your preferred thickness.
5. Bake in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the pizza crust is browned to your liking.
6. Cut and enjoy!
Pizza Dough Tips
1. Use a pizza stone. If you don’t have one and you’re serious about making pizza at home, it’s a good idea to go right out and buy one.
2. Preheat your oven and bake your pizza at 450 degrees. Any higher and the flour left after you’ve rolled out your pizza begins to burn and doesn’t do as well.
3. Always use olive oil If you’re tempted to substitute vegetable oil, don’t. Olive oil is much better.
4. If you don’t have a rolling pin, a smooth-sided glass or bottle will work just as well.
5. If you want to make the dough ahead of time, put it in the refrigerator to “rest” overnight. It will only improve the quality of the dough.
6. Use a lightly floured dish towel on which to roll your dough. When you’ve finished, cleaning up is much easier.
7. If you’d like to double the recipe and freeze half, wrap the amount to be stored in plastic wrap. Label and freeze for up to three months. When you’re ready to thaw, let the dough stand at room temperature for about 2 hours before use. You may also thaw the dough in the refrigerator.