Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How-To Tuesday! Pizza Dough

Pizza is one of my favorite things to eat.  Like I said yesterday, it is right up there with Cheeseburgers.  But, for me, there is a big difference between good pizza and bad pizza. I'm not a big fan of delivery pizza and frozen pizzas are pretty bad too.  When I lived in Maryland my favorite was Ledo's.  Its a franchise now but my family has been going there since the original opened in 1955- and growing up we ate Ledo's a lot.  Out here in Las Vegas I like Grimaldi's.  They make coal-fired pizza and the toppings are delicious.  But even though a new Grimaldi's just opened up a few minutes from us, we probably won't be eating there anytime soon.  We just don't take the kids out to restaurants very often yet.  We are such wimps. :P

Instead, to calm my pizza cravings, I learned to make pizza dough!  Sure you can buy it at a lot of grocery stores now, but making it from scratch is really easy and very economical.  Pretty tasty too.

Pizza Dough, adapted from Gordon Ramsay Makes It Easy
(makes 2 large pizza crusts)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
4 cups bread flour **
1 Tablespoon olive oil

**If you don't want to by bread flour like me, you can buy wheat gluten to add to all-purpose flour.  Whole Foods sells it.

In a small bowl add the yeast to the warm water.  Stir it in and let it set for about 10 minutes.  You can make this dough in a stand mixer with the dough hook or in a food processor with the dough blade.  Put your flour and the olive oil into either and then turn it on low and add the yeast/water to it as well.  Mix or process until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and sticks together.  It should be nice and smooth when it is done.  Add a little water or flour as needed to get the right texture.  Once it is done put the dough in an oiled glass bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to double in size. It shouldn't take more than an hour.

Split the finished dough in half and either freeze the dough or roll it out on a floured surface to the desired size and shape.  I usually make one large pizza and  freeze the other half of the dough for another day.

Find the perfect sauce (I like this one) and the perfect toppings to make your pizza!  For me, good toppings are just as important as good crust and good sauce.  All three parts are essential to a really good pizza. My favorite toppings are sausage, onions, and fresh tomatoes.  Looks and tastes amazing.  ENJOY!

My masterpiece before it went into the oven.

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