Basic Pizza Dough

16 Feb

I’ve tried several pizza dough recipes, and while they have all been good, none of them have stopped me from trying other recipes. Tonight I needed to use up a lot of basil and decided to make pizza again. This time I turned to my new America’s Test Kitchen cookbook for a pizza dough recipe. And it was far superior to any other pizza dough I’ve made before. Yeah!

Makes 2 pounds dough, enough for 3 (12-inch) pizzas

All-purpose flour can be substituted for the bread flour, but the resulting crust will be a little less crisp and chewy.

  • 4 1/4 cups bread flour, plus extra for the counter
  • 1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water, warm

1. Pulse 4 cups of the flour, yeast, and salt in a food processor (fitted with dough blade if possible) to combine. With the processor running, pour the oil, then the water through the feed tube and process until a rough ball forms, 30 to 40 seconds. Let the dough rest for 2 minutes, then process for 30 seconds longer.

2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball, about 5 minutes, adding the remaining 1/4 cup flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Hand-Mixing Method

Whisk 4 cups of the flour, the yeast, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the oil and water and stir with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together and looks shaggy. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball, 10 to 15 minutes, adding the remaining 1/4 cup flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

If you do not have a baking stone, bake the pizza on a rimless or upside-down baking sheet that has been preheated just like a baking stone.

3. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position, place a baking stone on the rack, and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Let the baking stone heat for at least 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, cut it into three even pieces, and cover with plastic wrap. Working with one piece of dough at a time, shape into a smooth, round ball, cover again with the plastic wrap, and let rest 20 to 30 minutes.

5. Uncover one ball of dough and stretch and shape the dough into a 12-inch round on a piece of parchment paper. Top with desired sauce, cheese and toppings leaving a 1/2-inch edge of dough uncovered. Lightly brush the edge of the dough with oil.

6. Slide the parchment paper and pizza onto a rimless (or inverted) baking sheet, the slide it onto the hot baking stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and the cheese is golden in spots, 8 to 13 minutes. (Prepare the second pizza while the first bakes.)

7. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, discarding the parchment paper. Cut the pizza into 6 wedges before serving. Let the stone reheat for 5 minutes before baking the next pizza.

From: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook Third Edition

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