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pizzas with homemade pizza crusts. emphasis on HOMEMADE

August 12, 2008

I have never made pizza dough before.  I wanted to make barbecued chicken pizza, and the premade crust I brought home from the grocery store got mashed and disintegrated into many pieces in the packaging.  That’s never good.

I thought:  I can make pizza dough!  How hard can it be?

With Ella’s help, here’s what we did.

Pizza Dough

3 cups white flour
1 cup warm water
1 package regular yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Pour warm water over yeast and salt and let sit for 10 minutes.  Add 1 cup of flour and olive oil and mix well.  Add other two cups of flour and form into a ball.  Knead for two minutes.

Cover the dough with a towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.  Then punch it down, cover it again for another hour.

Roll out 15-20 minutes before cooking.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Put on toppings.  Cook for at least 10 minutes.

Barbecued Chicken Pizza– tear up a deli chicken.  Splash on some barbecue sauce.  Add shredded gouda to crust, put chicken on top, add thin rings of red onion, green onion, and arugula with 1/2 lemon squeezed on top.

Salami and Asiago Pizza– spread chopped tomatoes on bottom of crust.  Add salami and red onion rings.  Sprinkle grated asiago on top.  Add arugula with 1/2 lemon squeezed on top.

The crust was good, but not nearly as good at the crust we had in Perugia:

Well, A. we are in Italy in a basement restaurant at the bottom of an alley in Perugia, and B. we watched the guy cook the crusts in a stone oven before our very eyes.  I did not replicate the magic of that night. 

Although you see what Mike is doing?  HE IS CUTTING THE CRUST WITH A KNIFE AND FORK.  This is a big no-no in Italy.  You fold your pizza in half and eat it like a sandwich.  Everywhere we went, our neanderthal-ness showed through.

What did I do wrong tonight?  The crust was thick and not crusty enough.  Maybe I should have kneaded it longer?  Added different ingredients?  Not cooked it on a baking stone – put it right on the oven rack?

Any advice from the Foodie Suz readers?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 13, 2008 4:20 am

    This is a common issue with pizza dough, but knowing why it happens is not that easy unless one is there. It comes down to several variables which are easy to deal with on their own:

    – use proper bread flour, not all purpose
    – use active dry yeast (sourdough is even better but much more effort for little gain)
    – use enough water: too little often leads to a more chewy crust
    – your kneading sounds good, but if you leave the dough to rise too long it will have too much CO2,leading to a less crispy crust.

    On the last point, you also don’t want to not let the dough develop either. A good way of getting round this is, after a first rise of about 45 minutes to an hour, put it in the fridge for an hour before a last rise of about half an hour. This allows the flavor to develop – otherwise it tastes like cardboard!

    Hope this is useful. Check out http://www.the-pizza-gourmet.com for more detailed guidance. Jeff Varasano’s page at http://slice.seriouseats.com/jvpizza/ is also good, if you want true perfection.

    Good luck!

  2. August 13, 2008 8:11 pm

    Grazie, Gourmandad…I will persevere!

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