Thursday, August 7, 2008

Homemade Pizza Dough

Pizzas appear about every 2-3 weeks on our menu. I love to vary the toppings. My favorites are: supreme with turkey pepperoni, bellpeppers, onions, olives, mushrooms and jarred marinara sauce, buffalo chicken pizza with buffalo wing sauce, sliced chicken breast, onions, and lowfat cheddar and barbecue chicken with barbecue sauce, onions, chicken and lowfat cheddar. For a healthy version, use half whole wheat flour and limit the amount of cheese you put on top.

1 cup warm water ( or 1 1/2 cups if making wheat crust)
1 package quick rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 tbsp olive oil
2.5 to 3.5 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour (or 1 cup whole wheat and the rest white)
cornmeal for dusting pizza pans

If making by hand in a regular bowl: Dissolve yeast in water. Add salt and olive oil. Stir in flour until a nice ball of dough forms. Knead on the counter until the dough is nice and smooth. Allow to rise for 30 minutes. Sprinkle pizza pans with cornmeal. Shape into crust and bake.

If making in KitchenAid mixer (my favorite way, of course :) ): Dissolve yeast in mixer bowl. Add salt, olive oil and 2 cups of flour. Turn on mixer with dough hook attachment to speed 2. Add more flour until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl and makes a nice ball. Allow it to continue kneading for 3 minutes. Grease the mixer bowl with cooking spray and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes. Sprinkle pizza pans with cornmeal. Shape dough into pizza crust.

*For either method, remember that you can heat your oven for 1 minute on the lowest temperature setting, then turn it off and put the bowl of dough in the oven to rise. Usually guarantees a good rise.

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