Pizza Dough and What You Can Do With ItPosted: January 14, 2009
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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.