Monday, October 27, 2008

ModernGear Food: Homemade Pizza Dough

Starting now, Mondays are going to be RECIPE DAYS! I was going to try to post them on the weekends but with a puppy and a hubby and much-needed R&R time, I haven't been able to do them as regularly as I'd like. Well, puppy is frolicking, hubby is at work and this is scheduled MGTV time, so here's our Monday recipe!

What's funny about this one is I have made this about four times already and taken photos documenting the entire process...but I can't seem to find more than 7 or 8 of them on my computer. You're just going to have to take my word at how delicious the recipe is rather than see it with your own eyes. (That and the fact that we have not ordered pizza delivery in years ought to do it.)


3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water
2 T (one package) yeast
2 T honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS (for food processor)
Some food processors come with a dough blade. If you have it use it. If you don't, just use the standard cutting blade.

1. Pour in warm water. The water should be about 85 to 115° F. Test it with your hand. It should feel very warm, but comfortable.
2. Add the honey and salt. Mix on low for about 20 seconds.
3. Add the yeast and mix on low for another 5 seconds.
4. Add 1 cup of flour, mix on low for 10 seconds.
5. Add the olive oil and mix until blended (about 15 or 20 seconds more).
6. Add the rest of the flour (and any other additions) and mix on high for about a minute or two. The dough should turn into a ball and roll around the processor. If the dough does not ball up because it's too dry, add water one tablespoon at a time until it does. If your mixture is more like a batter, add flour one tablespoon at a time. Adding water or flour as needed to get the right consistency will assure you always get a perfect dough. Just remember to do it in small amounts.
7. Once the dough is balled up, place the ball on a floured board and knead for about a minute. This builds the gluten which helps the dough to rise and become fluffy when cooked.
8. Place the dough in a plastic grocery bag or a covered bowl and store in a warm, dry area to rise.
9. After about 45 minutes the dough should have about doubled in size. It will look like this:
Push it down with your fist or palm so it deflates. Let it rise for another hour to an hour and a half. The dough is now ready to be rolled out. You can punch the dough down one more time if you want and wait another hour or two before rolling out. The choice is yours.
10. You're now ready for the next step: Rolling out the dough!

This dough can also be made in advance and refrigerated for a day or so, or even frozen. Be sure to let the dough come to room temperature before using.

As for the toppings, dream up amazing combos and just go for it! I don't think you can go wrong.
This recipe yields a lot of dough, so we are always able to play around with interesting toppings, and it makes a very nice thin crust pizza when rolled out quite thin - we do it this way always.

On ours we have topped with:
*pesto, bocconcini, fresh basil and tomato, with a sprinkling of parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil
*tomato sauce, rosemary ham, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, with the parm and olive oil
*tomato sauce, pepperoni, cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, parm and olive oil
*olive tapenade, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, fresh mushrooms and basil
*BBQ sauce, chunks of cooked chicken, pineapple, green pepper slices, mozza on top.
Caramelizing onions - I like to use beer

Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes unless you've gone for the thin crust option and 20 minutes ought to do it. Keep your eye on it.

If it is even possible, the pizza is better the next day.

I think it would be really fun for a dinner party, to make this in advance along with an array of toppings and have people make their own individual little pizzas. Fun and informal.

Bon App├ętit!

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