Pizza Dough and What You Can Do With It

The last time we went out for pizza was at Franny’s, which is an amazing restaurant in Park Slope/Prospect Heights. It’s prettysmall, always crowded on the weekends (the don’t take reservations), friendly, and serves some of the best thin-crust pizza I’ve ever had. I rarely eat pizza out because I make it often at home, but Franny’s is a real treat. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, GO!

Pizza dough has become a new staple in the $30/Week kitchen. It’s easy to make and you can always freeze an extra batch to have on hand for a quick meal. You can top it with just about anything or fold it around your anything to make calzones or pasties. I’ve been using the pizza dough recipe from Jack Bishop’s A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, but cut back on the water a bit because I think the dough gets too soggy and difficult to handle.  Of course, Trader Joe’s has a whole wheat pizza dough for $1, which makes one pie – not a bad deal, but it’s cheaper to make your own.

Last night we made a pie with roasted beets, caramelized onions and tomato sauce (made earlier in the week) with a bit of mozzarella cheese and had a huge salad. We then made a gigantic calzone stuffed with potato, leeks and a bit of cheddar. The calzone was sliced up into multiple slices, stored and eaten for breakfast with a hardboiled egg today and it was great! We still have leftovers.  Pizza dough is a super-easy way to make multiple, freezeable and interesting meals and you can control the fat/oil content as much as you want. For instance, we laid off on a lot of cheese, preferring to let the vegetables shine. I think the beet/caramelized onion combo is my new favorite, although I am a fan of Franny’s pizza with tomato, anchovies, chilies and Parmigiano Reggiano.

As I’ve learned in our kitchen, the key to a good pizza at home is to preheat the oven early and as hot as possible (make sure it’s really at 475 or as high as it will go), to use a pizza stone, and not to overload your toppings! That last one is a continual problem in our household, but we’re trying. For all things pizza, visit Slice.

Basic Pizza Dough, adapted from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen

Ingredients:

1/2 cup warm water (105-110F – use a thermometer for best results)
1 envelope active dry yeast
4 cups unbleached AP flour or use a combo of whole wheat and AP
1 tablespoon salt
3/4-1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon olive oil

To Do:

  1. Place warm water in a 2 cup measuring cup, add yeast and stir to combine.  Let it sit for 5 minutes while you whir the flour and salt together in a food processor or stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Alternatively, you could do this all by hand – it will just take more time.
  2. Add the cold water to the measuring cup once the yeast has bloomed.  Only add about 3/4 a cup at first, if you need to, you can add more later.  Also add the olive oil to the measuring cup and stir it all up.
  3. With the food processor/stand mixer going, add the liquid mixture to the dough.  Process until the dough forms a smooth ball.  If you need more water, add more water; if you need more flour, add more flour.  The dough shouldn’t be too sticky or too try.  When you poke it, the dough should spring back a bit.
  4. Put a little olive oil in a large bowl and plop your ball of dough in it.  Shake the bowl around until the dough is coated in the oil (you really only need a tiny bit).  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise until doubled.  Jack Bishop says 2 hours, but you can get away with one.
  5. You can either take the dough, divide it into 2 pieces (medium pies) or 4 (small pies) and start making pizza!  Or, you can divide the dough, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then into an air-tight container or plastic bag and keep it in the freezer until you want to use it.  The day you want to make pizza, take the dough out of the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature in a covered bowl for about 4 hours or put it in the fridge to thaw throughout the day.  Just make sure that when you use finally use it, the dough is at room temperature.  If you’re going to use the dough in a couple of days, just keep it wrapped tightly in the fridge and bring to room temperature before using.
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16 Comments on “Pizza Dough and What You Can Do With It”

  1. Erica says:

    I’ve made a lot of pizza in the last couple years (for these very reasons – cheap, easy, tasty, good way to use up extra ingredients/stuff in the fridge), but I actually found that I prefer a slightly wetter dough. If you take a dough that’s too wet to work with – sticky and messy – then toss some flour all over the outside, it becomes workable enough without working excessive flour into the inside of the dough. The extra moisture in the dough makes the outside of the crust really fantastically crispy, and also allows the crust to get a better oven spring, meaning lots of lofty, airy crust at the edges.

    Your mileage may vary, of course, but I encourage you to try it. It really took my pizza from why-order-delivery to why-go-to-the-gourmet-shop. :)

    • tinaspins says:

      Hey Erica – thanks for the tip. I have made a wetter dough before and it does come out well, but I find it a pain in the butt to deal with. I would rather have a smoother dough to start, but hey, whatever works for you. I roll out the dough REALLY thin though and use a stone, so the crust does come out really crispy and somewhat charred. Another tip, stick it in the broiler for a few minutes at the end of cooking for a blistered crust. Yeah, no more delivery or picking up pizza for us! Unless it’s Franny’s.

  2. Christine says:

    I use the dough from Peter Reinhardts book, American Pie. Very simple, and uses only flour, salt, yeast and water. It’s a very loose dough, but freezes well.

    I love your blog, and originally had intentions of doing much the same thing you are doing. I too, try to keep to a narrow budget, but allow for a bit more than you do per week. However you have inspired me, and I am getting by with as little as possible each week now. I think knowing how to cook AND shop is essential.

  3. jen says:

    Thanks for this! Pizza dough is next on my list of items to make at home, so very helpful.

    Also a request – would you consider posting once what you ate over a whole week? Something like this:

    http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/2009/01/04/weekly-meal-wrap-up-27/

    I know it’s kind of time consuming for you, but I (and I’m sure other readers) would find it helpful.

    I was at $100/week for two people (plus one meal out a week on top of that) before starting to read your blog, and am now at $75/for two people, with a goal of getting that down to $50 by the end of the year. All of your tips and hints have been helpful and inspiring – thank you!!

    • tinaspins says:

      Hey Jen! Thanks for the great comment(s). You should definitely try making dough at home and making your own pizza – much better for your wallet and waist. Maybe we’ll try to blog all of next week’s meals.

  4. […] was pizza night again in the 30/Week household. Same dough recipe as before. This time I made the sauce by simmering some whole canned tomatoes left over from the […]

  5. Michelle McGinty says:

    Hi there! Just heard you on ‘Good Food’ and am so impressed by your mission and your blog! Thank you for sharing this with everyone!

    I am curious about your recipes. Are they all adapted from other sources and, if so, do you need permission to use them? I would love to put some in my own blog but don’t want to get sued over something that’s for personal use.

    I know it’s completely off topic and respect that you may not reply.

    In either case, I’m happy to be a new fan or thirtyaweek.

    Best wishes,
    Michelle

  6. P says:

    Hi Michelle,

    I’d love to respond to this question as it’s a subject that interests me a lot in general.

    Yeah, often times our recipes are taken (or at least adapted) from other sources – cookbooks, web sites, whatever. In general, we try to give credit to the source of the recipe and let people know if and how we’ve adapted it. Assuming you’re not making money off of your blog, making those kind of citations should be covered under the idea of Fair Use (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use), even if they are indeed copyrighted. By posting a recipe from a cookbook on your blog and properly citing where that recipe came from, you are not taking away from the potential market for that cookbook (to the contrary, you are probably increasing that market).

    Of course, the current environment regarding intellectual property is highly litigious, but realistically, you don’t really have to worry about getting sued. The worst thing that could likely happen is that the “owner” of a recipe could demand that you take it off of your blog. But while that sort of demand is fairly common for people who post MP3s or videos on their blog, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it happening for a recipe.

    My advice: don’t let concerns over copyright prevent you from blogging about food or anything else. If you post a recipe (or image, or audio file, or whatever) that somebody else produced, make sure to give credit where credit is due and link to the producer whenever possible. If you do that, any cookbook author or food blogger should be happy to have you use their recipes, since you are providing them with free publicity.

    For more introductory info on intellectual property and its discontents, here are some interesting sources:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Culture_movement

    http://remix.lessig.org/

  7. […] Basic Pizza Dough – a recipe I use weekly, probably. Toss in a little parm and herb into the crust and mmMMMmmm. […]

  8. […] I didn’t have as much flour as I thought I did and had to substitute a LOT of cornflour into our basic pizza dough recipe – probably half.  I mixed it all up and hoped for the best and the best was gooooood.  A […]

  9. […] made a parsley, garlic and olive pizza and a baked broccoli, feta/mozzarella combo as well with our basic pizza dough recipe.  […]

  10. […] This past Sunday, we had a few friends over for a pizza party.  Toppings included cherry, arugula and marscapone (pictured and inspired by Readymade); anchovies, capers, olives, tomato sauce and mozzarella; fresh dill, feta and beets; and the works – olives, capers, scallions, mozzarella, tomato sauce and feta.  Thanks to friends for toppings and Jack Bishop for our go-to pizza dough recipe. […]

  11. chico says:

    After Toppings!
    Most toppings don’t need to be cooked, and it takes a while for the pizza to cool from ~500F to 98.6F so why not add cheese, etc. on top to soften and cool the pizza quicker. maybe apply some pressure to transfer the heat.

  12. I par-bake my dough/crust for about 10 minutes and then add sauce and toppings. I’ve made homemade pizza for my family for years now, and I even make my own BBQ sauce for it. It’s really not good for anything else (I’ve definitely tried), but it’s sure good on pizza!

  13. […] Homemade pizzas  This is one of our favorite things to make on Fridays or Saturdays and the crust recipe is from […]

  14. […] some cookies and quick breads here and there, but wanted to give pizza dough a shot.  I love our usual pizza dough recipe, but thought the mighty Google search would yield something different.  I course, a recipe from […]


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