Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pizza Dough

I have made this dough by hand, bread machine (dough cycle) and the mixer. The secret to getting a good crust is to let it rest for 10 minutes before shaping onto the pan and baking it at 500 degrees F. I don't use a pizza stone, but baking the pizza on the bottom rack makes a crispier crust. You can freeze the dough, or even assemble the pizza, then freeze. Then pull out of freezer and bake as usual give or take a couple of minutes. Reynold's nonstick foil is a major timesaver.

Pizza Dough
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence (my notes in italics)
Show: Food 911

Serves: 3 pizza crusts


  • 1 package active dry yeast (or 1 1/2 tablespoon instant/rapid rise yeast)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or less. If you don't have kosher salt, 1 tsp table salt will be enough)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups 00 flour, plus more for dusting (I use bread or AP flour, I haven't come across 00 flour in the stores)


In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water; stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing at the lowest speed until all the flour has been incorporated. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium; stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Get a feel for the dough by squeezing a small amount together: if it's crumbly, add more water; if it's sticky, add more flour - 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix until the dough gathers into a ball, this should take about 5 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over itself a few times; kneading until it's smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a round and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn it over to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot (i.e. over a gas pilot light) until doubled in size, about 1 hour. This is a good time to stick a pizza stone in the oven and preheat them to 500 degrees F.

Once the dough is domed and spongy, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll and stretch the dough into a cylinder and divide into 3 equal pieces. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes so it will be easier to roll out.

Roll or pat out a piece of dough into a 12 inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Dust a pizza paddle with flour and slide it under the pizza dough. Brush the crust with a thin layer of olive oil, and top with your favorite flavors. Slide the pizza onto the hot stone in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and crisp. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pizza for the Freezer

Pizza's ready!
This is the way I freeze homemade pizza that is ready to go in the oven and makes efficient space in your freezer (especially if you have one of those side to side units that is too narrow to fit a regular pizza size). Two of these pizzas will fit on a half sheet pan (about 13x18 inches) for baking. You can tweak this for cookie pans too.

What you need*:
9x13 inch rectangular baking pan (additional pans are good)
Nonstick foil or parchment paper
Freezer Paper (or parchment again, but I haven't tried)
Jumbo 2.5 gallon storage bags
Pizza dough and toppings

Turn the 9x13 pan upside down and line with foil. Shape your dough along the bottom of a 9x13 pan. This helps keep the crusts at a uniform size.
Remove crust with foil from pan and add toppings (this works well as an assembly line). Place a sheet of freezer paper over the pizza, fold up the foil over the top and set pizza packet aside
Repeat the process and stack the assembled pizza packets in a 9x13 pan (the pan is right way up). Depending on the thickness of your crust, you can fit about 4 pizzas per pan. Place pan in the storage bag and freeze. Stacking in the pan keeps the pizzas sturdy and tidy before they freeze, unless you like wavy pizzas :-) Remove the pan from the storage bag after the pizzas have frozen.

To Bake:

You can bake the pizza straight from the freezer. Remove freezer paper (keep foil or parchment on) and bake as you normally would bake your pizza. You might have to add a few minutes to baking time. Just check to see if the pizza is done and make note of the added time. Serve immediately.

I should add that parchment paper doesn't hold up to the high temperature that I bake my pizzas in, so check your recipe first. Removing the parchment works too. Just make sure your pan is greased so it won't stick. The nonstick foil is my favorite kitchen assistant as it reduces clean up time, wipes clean easily and can be reused.

Frozen pizzas ready for the oven

 *links to products are for your convenience. Use whatever works for you