January 6, 2023
A lot of people think that when it comes to baking, “from scratch” is synonymous with “time consuming” and “hard”. This can definitely be the case for many pastries and confections but many of the most delicious baked goods are ridiculously simple to make. Pizza crust is one of the easiest yeast doughs to put together. In the time it will take you to decide what kind of pizza you want, place the order at your local pizza joint and finally get it delivered, you can be pulling piping hot goodness out of your own oven.
If you’re thinking about getting into bread making, this is a perfect place to start. This dough contains yeast but does not need to be proofed, which will significantly cuts down on the production time. This recipe will make your kitchen smell divine and you have total control over your toppings. In my house, leftover vegetables often find their way onto our pizza, most of the time they taste amazing, however, brussel sprouts were not my favorite. Take it from me, if you want total dominion over your toppings you may want to hide the leftovers.
“Straight” to the Point
All breads and yeast raised doughs fall into different mixing method categories. Pizza dough is made using the Straight Dough Method. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t need to proof the dough as with most breads. Instead, you mix the 5 (yup, that’s right, only 5!) ingredients together, use a short fermentation period, roll out, top and bake. When it comes to yeast, I recommend you use instant. As the name implies, it’s instant and does not need to be hydrated before combining with the flour and other ingredients. The other common type of yeast is called Active Dry. Don’t panic if this is the only type of yeast you have, it will work just as well with one quick additional step. Make sure to hydrate the yeast in some warm water prior to adding it to the flour. When your yeast begins to get bubbly and smell like beer, you’re in business!
So Many Toppings to Choose From
First things first….the toppings! Here is a list of some of my favorites, however you can make endless combinations.
Sweet bell peppers
Pizza dough and Italian bread are essentially the same thing with the main differences being the proof and fermentation time. You will use the following ingredients for the dough:
750 grams Bread flour
480 grams Water
9 grams Instant yeast
15 grams Salt
4 grams Malt syrup
I am often asked what malt syrup is used for in this recipe as it’s not an item that people have stocked in their cupboard or pantry. In pizza dough, barley malt is common because it adds sweetness and flavor to the dough. Pizza is all about a balance of flavors. The sauce is sweet and tangy, toppings are often spicy or acidic and the dough rounds out the profile.
Time to Mix it Up
It’s important to make sure you are using instant yeast as opposed to active dry. This will speed up the process tremendously!
Combine all of the ingredients in your mixing bowl and mix. You can either use a paddle or hook attachment. Mix the ingredients until they are fully incorporated and the dough has some elasticity. To test this, pinch a little bit of the dough and watch to see that it springs back.
In a clean bowl, run a tablespoon of olive oil on the inside and place the dough on the bottom. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, ensuring a good seal. You want to place the bowl in a warm dry spot. I usually turn my oven on and keep the bowl on top. Allow the dough to double in size.
Once the dough has doubled, take it out of the bowl and knead it a few times. This will allow the gasses built up by the yeast to escape. Lightly cover the dough with the same piece of plastic wrap and allow it to “bench rest” on your counter for about 5 minutes. Then scale, roll out and prepare for pizza awesomeness!!
For a 12 inch pizza you will want to start with 10-12 oz of dough, about 3 oz of sauce and 4 oz of cheese. However, at this point you can customize any way you like. My favorite is Pizza Margherita. I use sliced mozzarella, fresh basil and sliced tomatoes. Remember, there are no wrong choices…..except for brussel sprouts. Have fun and enjoy!