February 8, 2009

Weekend recipe: Same-Day Pizza Dough

I spent *years* trying to find a good recipe for pizza dough. Especially one that could be made the same day. With no luck.

Well, I’ve modified a recipe from my “Bread” book (the geekiest baking book of all time) and I think I’ve got it. They say you have to do a lot of complicated crap and let things rise overnight. Not so – the key is a little sugar to boost the yeast at the start (sort of like “turbo charging your ride” with ceramic bearings!)

Walt’s same-day super-good pizza dough

1/4c flour
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/3c warm water

Mix the yeast, water, and sugar in a small bowl, and let it sit somewhere warm for 10 minutes or so – you should have a runny, bubbly batter. Now mix in the flour, cover the bowl up, and leave in that same warm spot for 30 minutes. You should end up with a bubbly, goopy mess. But never fear, that’s what you want.

Main dough:
3 1/2c flour
1 1/4c warm water
1 tsp yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil

If you have a stand mixer, throw in every ingredient *except* the olive oil and mix on the lowest speed with a dough hook for 3 minutes. Then add the olive oil and mix for another 6 minutes.

If you don’t have a stand mixer, mix everything in a large bowl (including the oil) and knead enthusiastically for 8 minutes. Yes, 8 whole minutes. Yes, enthusiastically. Suddenly that Kitchenaid isn’t looking like such a stupid purchase, eh? There’s a reason bakers (at least back in the day) had forearms like Popeye…

Cover the bowl with the dough and put it in it’s happy warm spot. Leave it for 2 hours or so, then punch it down and leave it for another 30 minutes or so to rest (and let the gluten relax so you can shape/stretch it).

Boom! You’re done. Practice your pizza dough throwing technique and put some cornmeal down on the baking sheet, then go to town.

Final tip: I’ve found that baking the dough (once you’ve got it stretched/flattened out on the baking sheet) for 5 minutes or so before adding sauce and toppings works out best.