Sunday, July 6, 2008

Basic Pizza Dough

Last year, Aaron and I went to a Paula Deen book signing and I got her Paula Deen Celebrates cookbook. There are several recipes in it that I want to make, but I never get much further than flipping through the book. It has lot of great recipes for complete meals for pretty much any occasion.

My nephew has been staying with us for a few days, so I've been trying to make things I know he will like and can help me make - like pizza. Normally we cheat and buy a premade crust or frozen dough, but I decided to try and make a dough from scratch this time and I probably won't go back to the store-bought again (well - maybe if I'm in a hurry).

Usually when I make pizza, it's to use up leftovers from the fridge. We throw on a bunch of veggies, sometimes meat, sometimes not.

I made a stromboli for Aaron and I using this dough recipe and all of our leftovers, and then let Sean make his own personal pepperoni & ham pizza.

We got kind of a late start on this lunch and we were all starving, so I didn't follow the directions exactly. I needed to speed it up since lunch was around 3pm at this point. I didn't knead the dough for 15 minutes (more like 3), and I cut short the amount of time I let the dough rest to about 25-30 minutes. I didn't bother dragging out the food processor, just my KA mixer to get it all combined.

This recipe makes a LOT of dough. Mostly, we like to eat thin crust pizza so I could definitely get more than 2-12 inch crusts from this amount of dough. I was able to make an entire stromboli, a personal pizza (maybe 6 inches?) and still freeze enough to make another regular pizza later.

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen Celebrates Cookbook

1 3/4 cups warm water
1 1/4 ounces package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons olive oil

Measure out 1 3/4 cups warm water (it should be pleasantly warm on your wrist). Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and allow it to activate, about 10 minutes.

Put the salt and 2 cups of the flour into a food processor. Pulse 5 times to blend. Pour in the yeast and water and pulse 5 times. Add the olive oil. Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time, pulsing and scraping the sides of the bowl until well blended. As soon as the mixture is combined, dump it out onto a well-floured board and knead for 15 turns. The dough will become smooth and elastic-like.

Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes, until doubled in size, and then punch it down.

Divide it in half; each half will make 1 (12-inch) pizza. You can make 2 pizzas, or freeze half the dough for another time. Freeze the dough in a resealable freezer bag. To thaw, remove the bag from the freezer and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Roll the dough out while cold and then allow it to come to room temperature before adding toppings.

Our "leftovers" stromboli:
Our stromboli had cheese, ham, salami, spinach, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers. I meant to put in some ground beef, but I forgot that I bought the beef for this and used it in another meal earlier this week.


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