Lately (since discovering how to make my own pizza dough), I've been on a pizza kick, and have been experimenting with different toppings and ingredients, which I'll share with you all in a later post.
I have to say, up until several months, I used to purchase pizza dough from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, but I'll be honest, after making my own from scratch, I won't go back to store-bought. For some reason, it just tastes better when it's homemade! Not to mention, it's a lot less expensive and really easy to make.
I know some of you may be hesitant to work with yeast, but believe me when I tell you: yeast is nothing to be afraid of, in fact, yeast is your friend. I like to use instant dry yeast because I don't have to wait for it to dissolve, so it saves me a few minutes, but active yeast is fine too.
I really recommend using bread flour; its the best choice for this dough and well worth going the extra mile for. You can also knead the dough by hand for several minutes if you don't have a stand-up mixer and that would be fine too. Now if you're not going to use the dough right away, I recommend freezing it immediately after it's deflated (so that the rising process stops).
I'll be honest, my kids prefer my homemade pizzas over delivery! So go out of your comfort zone and try it sometime in the near (very near!) future... you'll be glad you did. I know I am, and so is my family!
Food for My Soul: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, set in a warm place, and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Top with your favorite toppings.
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) instant dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 1/4 cups water
22 oz (4 cups) bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for coating bowl
1. Measure the warm water into a measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until yeast dissolves, about 4-5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mix briefly to blend. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the water/yeast mixture. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, set in a warm place, and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
3. Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide it into two equal parts. Form each into a smooth round ball. (If freezing the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap, place in a ziplock bag, and freeze at this point.) Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for at least 10 minutes, but no longer than 30 minutes.
4. Place a ball of dough on a floured work surface. Roll out the dough into a 14-inch circle about 1 inch thick, dusting with flour as needed. Top with toppings of choice and bake as directed in your pizza recipe. Repeat with the remaining dough ball. Makes two 14-inch pizza crusts.
(Adapted from Cook's Illustrated)