Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And the winner is...

I've been searching for quite some time and I think I have finally found it...

A great homemade pizza dough recipe!

Don't you hate it when homemade pizza dough just seems like bread? How do you get it to be light and chewy and a bit crisp?

There have been many incarnations of pizza dough at my house. From white flour to whole wheat flour, olive oil to sugar and even honey...I've tried it all, each missing the mark a bit (or a lot!).

A few weeks back, we were spontaneously invited over to my friend Julia's house for some fun and games on a Sunday afternoon. Who can resist an afternoon of Settlers of Catan (I'm sure I've spelled that wrong)---the deal was sweetened when we found out she was cooking!

We were a mere hour into my maiden game, when the table champion (Julia's husband) was called away to make some pizza dough. He spent several minutes in the kitchen adjacent to all the Settling Action when Julia went to check on him and promptly took over his efforts. Well, thank goodness for that, because for the rest of the evening, Julia was cranking out fantastic homemade pizzas covered in a variety of yummy toppings like ricotta and spinach. But, what was even more amazing was...the crust! It was good! A homemade pizza crust worth eating.

Of course, I immediately asked for the recipe. Tonight I tested it out in my own kitchen. Although I lack a pizza stone (I've gotta get one!), I improvised using my two cast iron skillets. The pizzas turned out great. Thank you, Julia!!

1 2/3 cups of warm water
2 TB olive oil
2 TB sugar
2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp dry yeast (I used one packet which is 2 1/4 tsp)

In a bowl, combine the warm water, oil, sugar, and yeast. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Make a well in the center. Add half of the liquid and incorporate with a fork without breaking the well. Add the remaining liquid, stirring in all the flour. When the dough is firm enough to handle, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Lightly oil a bowl. Put the dough in the bowl, lightly oil the top and cover with a clean damp towel. Allow dough to rise until doubled--about an hour.

Preheat your oven to at least 450 degrees (preheat your stone or skillet, too). Divide the dough into 2-4 pieces. Press out all the air bubbles and stretch the dough to your desired shape. Throw a little cornmeal into the bottom of your skillet and transfer a dough crust to the pan. Add your favorite toppings and bake until the crust is golden and crisp--don't remove it too early or it will not be crisp!


Jodie said...

I just made pizza last night using the garlic herb dough recipe from Feeding the Whole Family. It is pretty good, but I will have to give this one a try.

gretchen said...

Don't buy a pizza stone!!! AB (my hero) says to get an unglazed terra cotta tile from the hardware store. Cheaper and works just as well!
I'll have to try this one, too. I have been using AB's (what can I say, I love him.) and it's pretty yum, too. And I didn't know you guys like to play Settlers of Catan! We would have invited you over for a game, we were always looking for game friends. Boo!

julie jams said...

Oh, yeah! I forgot about the terra cotta tile episode...thanks for reminding me. Gotta love AB--or, as I refer to him, Uncle Alton (I sure wish he was my uncle).

And that was only my first time playing Settlers of Catan--I got sorely spanked! I guess I didn't understand the advantages of being near lots of resources. I was drowning in corn.

gretchen said...

Ha ha! Aren't we all-drowning in corn that is. "Walking corn chips.." to quote Michael Pollan.

julie jams said...

I'm not sure if it's the right time in the conversation for this, but doesn't it seem like I should say, "touche" here? Instead of Jane/John Doe, we should be Frita/Frito Lay.

MaryBeth said...

My husband loves to make homemade pizza and he too has been in search of the perfect dough recipe, I will h ave to pass this onto him so he can give it a whirl.

Kelly Spitzer said...

I've got to try this recipe. I'm a homemade pizza fanatic, and I usually make the dough in my bread machine, but the results don't always wow me.

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