Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Pizza Tutorial (Dough and Sauce) aka How to Make an AMAZING Pizza at Home

I have been optimizing this recipe for a couple of years now and I've finally have what I believe is a foolproof way of making amazing pizza at home. It does require some advance planning and a stand mixer, but other than that it is very easy.

The Dough
This recipe requires some advanced planning but it is well worth it! It needs to be made at least one day in advance. Instead of using gluten you can use 3 cups of bread flour. Makes two small to medium pizzas. The unique thing about this recipe is that you add water to the flour instead of flour to water. Also, you use cold water and let the dough rise in the fridge. The slow rise results in a more flavorful crust and adding cold water just until no dry flour remains makes the recipe almost fool proof. Partially prebaking the crust ensures that the crust will be done in the middle and browned in the bottom without overcooking the toppings.

3 cups white flour (minus 3 Tablespoons)
3 tablespoons wheat gluten
1/2 teaspoon rapid rise yeast (or 1 teaspoon active dry)
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
pizza sauce (see recipe below)
8 ounces mozzarella 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 until the dough is just combined and no dry 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. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in fridge for 24-72 hours.

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). Preheat oven to 475. 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.

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.

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), and toppings. I use 4oz of cheese per pizza. 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.

Inspired by America's Test Kitchen, Your Homebased Mom, and Pioneer Woman pizza dough recipes.

The Sauce
This is very simple and inexpensive to make. I use 1/8 tsp garlic salt if my toppings are going to be salty (like pepperoni) but I use 1/4 tsp if all my toppings are going to be vegetables.

1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/8-1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Combine ingredients. Use about 1/2 of sauce per small/medium pizza. Can also be used as dipping sauce for pizza rolls or breadsticks.

Favorite Topping Combinations
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