Pizza Dough is not a mystery. It is simply bread dough. For years I struggled with recipes producing awful pizza crust. Once someone gave me a "secret" recipe from a person who ran a pizza shop in a resort town. She had finagled the recipe out of him somehow and I had to promise her, not to let anyone have it within a hundred mile radius of that shop, well not really, but she carried on like that.
I took a good hard look at the recipe. It was identical to my Multi-Purpose White Bread recipe. Why hadn't I thought of this before? Sleep deprivation and diaper duty no doubt. This person made a BIG deal out of making pizza dough. She set aside a day with a friend and they made it in their kitchen sink. Am I the only one who gets the willies thinking about that? I use my kitchen sink to clean vegetables. Sometimes I catch men spitting...well, never mind.
This recipe can be easily halved if you want less dough. With the amounts given here, I usually make five or six 13-inch pizzas and use the extra dough to make a pan of rolls or sticky buns or loaf of garlic bread or pan of garlic twists. I do not try to bake all this the same day. The dough will rise faster than you can keep emptying out the oven from the previous batch. It's easier to weigh out the dough, ziploc, refrigerate or freeze it and then bake in smaller batches for other breads throughout the week. Of course a mid-week pizza would be nice too. I use 3/4 lb. raw dough for one 13-inch pizza pan.
Into a large mixing bowl mix 2 1/2 cups warm water with 1 tsp. of white sugar and 1 Tbsp. of granular yeast. Set aside.
Into a measuring cup mix 2 cups warm water, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 Tbsp. salt. Mix well.
Pour the water/oil mix in the measuring cup, into the yeast mix in the bowl and mix.
Start adding all-purpose flour. It's alright to add about 3 cups of whole wheat flour first and then start adding the all-purpose. Buff decided to just use the all-purpose this time.
Stir the flour in until the mix becomes a nice soft dough.
This looks about ready to begin kneading.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.
Start kneading. Gather the edges around and begin to push the dough down and away from you.
Lift the top part down toward you, as you knead. Keep the roughish looking part of the dough always facing upward, toward you. The other side of the dough - the side touching the work surface will become smooth. If you don't do this, you will have little control over the dough and create a very sticky mess.
Here, Buff turns the dough during the kneading process. As he kneads the dough, he has to keep turning it, as the kneading makes the dough rectangular. Knead, turn, knead.
The dough is still sticky, so he pulled the dough away from the counter top to the side and added a bit of flour to the work surface. You can see that the dough is smooth on the underside.
He places the dough back onto the re-floured work surface and continues to knead and turn the dough, keeping the rougher looking part facing upward to him. The dough picks up most of the flour on the work surface.
He'll keep adding flour in little handfuls to the work surface until he is satisfied that the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky.
It is okay to have a few tacky spots remaining on the surface of the dough. Overall it should feel like your earlobe.Done. Now he tells me a friend is coming over and they are going out. I love you too, Buff.
Place in an oiled bowl in a warm oven and let it double. Warm up the oven by flicking it on just until the oven clicks on, leave on for half a minute and then turn it off. The yeast needs warmth to grow, but too hot a temperature will kill the yeast. Leave the oven light on. When Buff and his friend returned, I had the pizzas all made. I'll show you that tomorrow.
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