To all muslim around the world including myself, Ramadhan Mubarak! Food blogging will be slowed a bit, I guess not only during this very blessed month.. the previous months seemed to be in the same pace. I am sorry for that and not to forget, I owe updates to some posts.. iA will get to it whenever time permits.
When my sister, Sw asked me about a basic pizza dough recipe the other day, I realized I actually haven’t made pizza for a very long time; about a half year I might say. Thanks to her, that was a good wake up call.
I made pizza over the years and have discovered so many different recipes and to my surprise.. they are several kind of them – Neapolitan style and Chicago style ( deep dish) are most popular American fast food . I love to stick with the Neapolitan style which the pizza is baked at a very high temperature and crust itself kept thin but not too thin. The topping of course can be made variety , some people prefer the classic Italian pizza with tomato marinara sauce , slices mozzarella cheese, sprinkles of dried oregano leaves and may be 2-3 more add ins. If you like to go the other way such as curry pizza or chocolate drizzle pizza , please do so as long as you enjoy it.
I like my pizza variety such as caramelized onions on top, sometimes without cheese , loaded with veggies and meat if I wish to go healthier . However, despite of thousands of varieties, the Italian Classic is always on top of all. Anyway, here is one of my favorite never fail pizza dough recipes. This recipe is easier to handle and work with, if you are beginner, try this one and you will have every right to be proud of yourself.
Source: The Professional Pastry Chef
- 1 teaspoons Instant dry yeast (or 30 g fresh yeast)
- 1 ½ (360 mL) water, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons (5 g) white sugar
- ¼ Tablespoons (60 mL) Extra virgin olive oil or Vegetable oil
- 1 ¾ teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) honey ( or another 2 Tablespoons white sugar)
- 4 ½ cups ( 570 g) all purpose flour or bread flour, more for dusting
- Enough Semolina flour or cornmeal ( or all purpose flour if that is all you have) for baking sheet
1- In a large mixer bowl, dissolve the yeast in water by stirring with wooden spoon or fork. If using fresh yeast , squeezing the yeast with fingers .
2- Mix in the sugar, olive oil, salt and honey.
3- Add the flour and knead with dough hook ( I used my hands) until the dough has a smooth , elastic consistency, about 10 minutes.
4- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn coat both sides with oil, cover with plastic bag or damp kitchen towel, and let rise in warm and draft free place until slightly less than doubled in volume, about 40 – 50 minutes.
5- Place the dough, covered in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours ( the longer the better- this process makes our pizza dough more flavorful and also makes the dough easy to work with). Return to room temperature before proceeding, ( from my experience, it took me about 45 – 50 minutes but it depends on temperature in your kitchen.)
6- At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, preheat the oven as hot as your oven can reach, at least 500 F / 260 Celsius. Dust the baking sheet with semolina flour or cornmeal or all purpose flour.
7- Divide the dough in 6 balls. On a floured board, roll and stretch the dough with your hands to make each piece into a circle, 10 to 12 inches (25 to 35 cm) in diameter . ( it depends how thick or thin you want your pizza, the thicker the smaller in diameter and vice versa). If the dough gets a little sticky, sprinkle a little bit more of flour, don’t forget to generously flour your hands, too.
( Note : you can definitely use a rolling pin to roll and stretch your pizza dough but from what I read from many pizza experts, they say stretching with hands give better texture to the final result, to be honest I see the different so try compare yourself)
8- Top as desired, place it on a prepared thin baking sheet and bake in your preheated oven, bake one at a time. Allow the crust to brown on the bottom and the cheese melted, 10 – 12 minutes , another 2-3 minutes if not browned yet. Do not overbake the pizza.
Note: If you are in a hurry or your oven does not work , try grill it on your pan. On a stove, preheat your pan on high, sprinkle with semolina or cornmeal then place the pizza dough on the pan , let it brown and cook through.