Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My pizza dough recipe

My pizza dough recipe:
(this will give you enough for a 14-16 inch pizza)

3 cups flour
1 and 1/3 cup COLD water
2 tables spoons olive oil
1 table spoon grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 packet dry yeast

Mix and then knead dough for about 5 minutes. If dough sticks to the hands, lightly sprinkle more flour as needed. Form nice round patty of dough. Place in covered container.

For quick dough, allow to rise at room temperature for about 5 hours. Or place in fridge for 12-18 hours to rise overnight. I find that slow rising (in the fridge) dough has better flavor. If you have lots of time (like 24 hours) you can cut down the amount of yeast used.

Tossed dough: you will find that tossed dough has much better flavor than rolled dough. When you roll dough, it pops the little pockets of air from the yeast. Dough with no air pockets is like soda pop with no fizz. You know all those homemade pizzas you've had that taste like crap? Flat dough is why.

How to toss pizza dough: The trick is to knead around the edge of the dough first, and to stretch it out a bit with your hands, then toss it back and forth between your hands, always avoiding slapping the middle as much as possible (slapping in the middle thins the dough out too much). There is really no need to spin it in the air like you see them do at some restaurants. Throwing into the air is done for show, and won't improve the quality. To really learn how to toss dough, nothing beats the experience of working at a pizza joint. They're always looking for workers. And since they're busy in the evening you won't have to quit your day job. You'll have a useful skill to last a lifetime.

The pan: A well seasoned cooking stone work well. Or a pizza screen. Lightly lay dough on pan so that it doesn't stick.

Sauce: Regular tomato sauce work fine. Take it easy on the sause. Otherwise it overwhelms the other flavors. 4-6 oz is plenty. Spread evenly on dough, and leave about a half an inch on the edge.

Cheese: about 1/2 a pound of grated mozzarella for a 14 to 16 inch pizza.

If you're doing a 1 or 2 topping pizza (like pepperoni or Hawaiian), dump all the cheese on first, and put the topping on top. If you're doing multiple toppings (like a combination), sprinkle about half the cheese on at first, then the toppings, then the rest of the cheese.

Toppings I've tried: pepperoni, Canadian bacon, pineapple, onions, green peppers, jalapeƱos, sausage, mushrooms, chicken, hamburger, olives, asparagus (steamed ahead of time).

One of my favorites is BBQ chicken pizza. Add about 50% BBQ to your sauce mixture, and then add a generous portion of pre-cooked chicken, onions and green peppers.

Baking: Pre-heat oven to 450, bake for 10-15 minutes, or until done. Watch early on for dough bubbles, and pop 'em if needed.

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