Sunday, March 15, 2009

Quick and Easy Pizza Dough

This recipe is so simple and fast, it takes under 10 minutes to prepare the pizza dough. If you own a food processor, the process is even easier (however the dough may be mixed and kneaded by hand or in a standing mixer).

Once I had mixed the ingredients, I allowed half of the dough to rise at room temperature for use later that evening. I placed the other half of the dough in the fridge to use the next evening. The cold temperature of the fridge causes the dough to rise very slowly, which prevents the dough from spoiling and allows you flexibility. This dough will even keep for 2 days in the fridge.

Pizza Dough

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F.)
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour*, plus more if necessary
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

*If you have cake flour on hand, substitute it for half of the all-purpose flour. This will make for a more delicate crust on your pizza.

Combine the yeast, water, and olive oil in a small bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place flour and salt in food processor and pulse to mix. Slowly stream the yeast mixture into the flour and mix until the dough forms a ball. If the dough feels sticky at this point, add more flour until dough is soft but not sticky.

At this point, transfer dough to a floured surface and knead for a few seconds to form a round, smooth ball. I cut the dough in half at this point and place one half in the fridge, for later use.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with a slightly damp towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Shape dough as desired (I like thin crust) and top with your favorite ingredients. Place pizza in oven for about 20 minutes, or until crust is browning and cheese has melted. I like to crack an egg on top during the last 5 minutes of baking for a little extra flavor. Have fun!

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