Thursday, March 19, 2015

Homemade Pizza (Including Regular AirBake Pan and Baking Steel Directions)

Homemade Pizza (Including Regular AirBake Pan and Baking Steel Directions)
Inspired by America's Test Kitchen, Your Homebased Mom, and Pioneer Woman pizza dough recipes.

This recipe requires some advanced planning but it is well worth it! It needs to be made at least one day in advance. Makes two medium sized pizzas. The unique thing about this recipe is that you add water to the flour instead of flour to water, which reduces the risk of adding too much flour. Also, you use cold water and let the dough rise in the fridge. The slow rise results in a more flavorful crust and the process is more repeatable and less prone to variables in your environment such as humidity and room temperature. 

Dough Recipe

3 cups white flour (minus 3 Tablespoons) (*sub one cup whole white wheat)
3 tablespoons wheat gluten
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (or ½ teaspoon rapid rise)
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil (or canola oil)
1 1/3 cup ice cold water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons melted butter
garlic salt (optional)

Pizza Sauce and Toppings

8 oz tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons oregano
⅛-¼ teaspoon garlic salt

8 ounces mozzarella, or Italian blend shredded cheese (good quality)
dried Parmesan cheese


Combine flour, gluten, yeast, and sugar in stand mixer. Mix with a whisk or wooden spoon. With dough hook attachment going (I set my kitchen aid at speed #2) add oil then slowly start adding water. Add water very slowly until the dough is just combined and a tiny bit of flour remains (you probably won't need the entire amount listed). You must watch carefully so that you don't add to much water, making the dough gooey. Cover and let dough rest for 10 minutes. Add salt and knead with dough hook for 5 minutes (I use speed #2 on my Kitchen Aid). Shape dough into ball and transfer to lightly greased large bowl. when you are done with the 5-minute need the dough should be Tacky but shouldn't stick to your hands when you're transferring it to the Bowl if it sticks to your hands then you added too much wate. rIf the dough is sticking to your hands at this point then you added too much water and I would consider remaking it. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and let rise in fridge for 24-72 hours.

*Whole Wheat Variation: You can also substitute one cup of all-purpose flour with 1 cup of whole white wheat flour this will turn out almost just as well especially when cooked on the pizza steel but it's important that you add gluten specially when you are using some wheat flour

Approximately 1.5 hours before you are wanting to bake the pizza, remove dough from fridge, divide in half, shape into two round balls, cover, and let set on counter to reach room temperature (at least 1 hour). You should need very little flour. If the dough is sticking to your hands or the counter then you added too much water when you initially made it.  

Roll out each half into circle (work from the center out). I like to roll out my dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. If the dough is not very elastic let it rest for 10 more minutes. Stretch dough to to desired thickness, tossing if necessary. For this recipe I roll each half into a 9-12 inch circle. 9 inches gives me a thicker crust and 12 a thin crust.

Brush edges of crust with melted butter (about 1 teaspoon per pizza) and sprinkle with garlic salt. Top with sauce, cheese (I like the shredded mozzarella from Sam's Club, it is very good quality), or the finely shredded Italian blend from Aldi. and toppings. I use 4oz of cheese per pizza. 
P.S. Some of my favorite topping combinations include:

pepperoni and zuchinni
pepperoni and fresh pineapple
pepperoni, fresh pineapple, and jalapeno
kale, zucchini, and tomatoes
barbecue sauce (instead of tomato pizza sauce), bacon, chicken, and kale

If you are using a traditional air bake pizza pan:
Transfer dough to pizza pan. I use this non stick air bake pan and I love it. Poke holes with fork all over crust. Don't be shy about this, you want a lot of "pokes" to prevent big air pockets from forming. Bake for 4 minutes and remove from oven. Relieve any remaining air pockets with fork or toothpick and push them down with your finger.

Bake at 475 at 3/4 height in oven for approximately 8 minutes or until cheese in center of pizza is just beginning to brown. Sprinkle with dried parmesan cheese and serve.

If you are using a baking steel:
When you first get out your dough from the fridge preheat your steel at 500 degrees for at least 45 minutes. (This temperature works best in my oven but you may need to play around with temperatures in your oven, 450-550). 

Prepare pizza on a wooden pizza paddle with cornmeal on the bottom to ease the transfer and prevent the dough from sticking. Be sure to poke many holes in the dough before adding the sauce and toppings. This will prevent any large bubbles from forming. You can use a long fork or a dough docker. Quickly transfer to steel and bake for approximately 5 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is just beginning to brown in the middle of the pizza. You will need a large metal pizza “shovel/spatula” to remove the pizza from the oven. 

Link to my pizza making tools:

Wooden Pizza Peel (for building pizza and transferring to steel in oven)

Metal Aluminum Pizza Peel (for removing pizza from oven on baking steel)

Nerd Chef Baking Steel

Dough Docker