Saturday, October 17, 2009


Who doesn't love pizza? OK, OK, there might be someone, somewhere who doesn't like pizza - but it must be some place like deepest, darkest Africa or something.

We love pizza in this household. I love pizza. HHBL loves pizza. Max loves pizza but only from afar. Well, I love everything but BBQ chicken pizza or pizza with anchovies on it. Why would you put smelly fishy fish on a pizza. It is unexplainable.

But, you see, I am picky about my pizza. That is a surprise to you? That I am picky? You haven't been hanging around at this blog much have you. Yes, I am picky about my pizza and we live in Booneyville, the sticks, the edge of nowhereland and that means that there isn't a decent pizza place anywhere. Yes we have a Pizza Hut but, but, I can't stand Pizza Hut. Too salty for me. We have several other pizza places but I just don't love them and they are all expensive and I am cheap frugal.

So, I set out to learn to make pizza dough from scratch. How hard could it be? People do it all the time. I know, I watch the Food Channel. And you know what, it isn't hard at all and I am going to show you how to do it. Arent' you excited because I sure am.

First off lets get over the whole "I'm scared of yeast" business. Yeast is your friend - under most circumstances and we aren't going to discuss the times when yeast isn't your friend. This isn't that kind of blog. Moving on.

Yeast is your friend and wants to do it's job. Be not afraid.

These are the ingredients that you are going to need. Just 6, non-scary ingredients. See, you can do this. It won't be hard I promise. Unbleached flour, White whole wheat flour, olive oil, sugar, kosher salt and yeast.
Notice what kind of yeast I am using. Don't be fooled by the "bread machine" label. You can use this for all sorts of breads. In fact this is all I use and I bake bread and pizza dough all the time. This kind of yeast must be kept in the refrigerator and doesn't need to be "proofed" you can just add it to the dry ingredients. It is my favorite thing.

First you add the white whole wheat flour to the bowl. Why white whole wheat? Because I like it that's why. And it gives the crust a lovely chewiness that I like.

Next you add the unbleached flour to the bowl and you mix the two flours around a little with your fingers. God gave you those fingers just for this very purpose. Go ahead, get your digits in there.

Then in goes the yeast. No need to "proof" it and possibly kill it with water that is too warm.
I have killed yeast more than once in my baking career. I am still bitter about it.

Then in goes the kosher salt. You need the salt to make the dough taste good. Trust me on this. Dough without salt is really bland.
Then in goes the rest of the flour all in a bunch. Just chuck it in there and stir everything around to get all the flours and other goodies mixed up together. Integrate them!
Now it is time to add the wet ingredients. I will tell you before hand that this is a rather wet dough and it is meant to be so don't be put off by that. You will need to warm your water and oil up to a little warmer than room temp. I just put them both in the same container. The liquid should be between 105 - 110F but it is better to err on the side of lower temp. I do check my temp with a thermometer because I don't seem to have the ability to know that the water is so hot that it is going to boil my yeast. If you feel confident with judging water temp then live dangerously my friend.

Now comes the fun part. But you might want to take off your rings cuz it is a tad messy. Please ignore the "less than cleanliness" of my windowsill. There was an unfortunate tomato sauce accident recently......
Mix all the ingredients around in the bowl with a wooden spoon. Yes you can do this in your mixer with a dough hook but that just isn't as much fun.
Then you want to knead the dough. Knead, knead, knead, knead. Just keep kneading, just keep kneeding. Yes, those are my stubby little fingers.
Smooth as a baby's bottom. It usually takes me about 8 minutes to get it this way.
Then spray the bowl with some cooking spray, dump the dough back in, cover with a damp towel and put it in a warm and dry place to rise. I turn on the light in one of my ovens and that seems to keep the dough just warm enough to be happy. The towel that I use happens to be one that belonged to my grandmother. It is the perfect weight.
After it has sat in that warm, dry place for about two hours take it out and stick your finger in it like it was the Pillsbury Dough Boy. If the indentation stays then it is "doubled" and ready to go.
Then it is time to divide the dough into 4 parts and roll the dough out and decorate it with all manner of goodness. I will tell you that the dough can sit, in plastic bags, in the refrigerator for several days. When you are ready to use it just take it out of the bag and let it sit on the floured counter for a bit before using. Or, at this point you can also freeze the dough.
Then bake the pizza in a preheated 450F oven until bubbly and brown. Oh how I wish you could smell it.
Of course, then you have to clean up the kitchen.

The Very Best Pizza Dough

1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
2 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp olive oil
1 2/3 cups warm water (105-110F)

Place the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, yeast, salt and sugar in large bowl and stir to incorporate. Add the warm water and the olive oil and mix until there are no dry patches or lumps. The dough will be wet.

Dump dough onto floured counter and knead until smooth, adding only enough flour to keep things from sticking. This should take about 8 minutes.

Coat the bowl you did the mixing in with oil, put dough into bowl, cover with a damp towel and put in a warm, dry place until "doubled in bulk" which should take about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450F. Divide dough into four balls and roll out to desired thickness. If you don't use all the dough balls then just wrap them up in plastic baggies and refrigerate or freeze for another use.

Place the dough on baking sheet, top with desired topping and bake until bubbly and brown. I can't tell you exactly how long it will take.

This dough can be frozen, in small batches, and then thawed on the counter when ready to use. Just put a one crust piece of dough in a small baggie and place in freezer. Thaw on the counter to use. The dough won't rise as much when baking but it is still great.


  1. Smells pretty good from where I sit! Yummm!

  2. Don't hate me but I've always used Pillsbury dough. I SUPPOSE I could try this. Although I'll have to do it on a weekend because the "let it sit for 2 hours" part doesn't work well after work.


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