Great dough is the essential building block for one of my personal favorites... Pizza. After spending years living, and working in restaurants in New York City I can tell you that not all pizza is created equal. In New York the opportunities to try a new pie, or slice where seemingly endless. We all have our favorites, but I personally like a thin crust with simple fresh flavor. This is the kind of dough that when treated right is the perfect vessel for fresh ingredients. I have put everything on pizza from fresh tomatoes and mozzarella to Jambalaya. Start here and build yourself a platform that will truly impress your guests.
Yield = 3-4 small thin crust pizzas
-3 1/2 Cups flour (you can use all purpose, I prefer bread flour)
-1 package of dry active yeast
-1 teaspoon of sugar
-2 teaspoons salt
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 1/2 cup warm water (not hot! you can kill your yeast)
-In a small mixing bowl combine warm water, yeast and sugar
-Let rest for about five minutes to let the yeast activate
-Once the yeast water and flour are a consistent color and the grains of yeast have dissolved, combine all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl
-Use your hands to start combining the ingredients (its going to get sticky, but you will survive)
-Keep some extra flour on hand to prevent your hands from getting too sticky
- Once the mixture starts to come together as a ball, coat a large hard surface like your counter or tabletop.
- Knead the dough for about ten minutes
-Kneading the dough creates the gluten in your dough, hand kneading is not only therapeutic, it is good exercise and you will have a real feel for the consistency of your product
-Again keep plenty of extra flour around, or your dough will stick to everything
-Once your dough is consistent, stretchy, and one homogeneous ball, put some olive oil in a clean mixing bowl, and roll your ball of dough so all sides are covered. (if you don't cover your dough in olive oil the dough will form a hard crust)
-Cover your mixing bowl with a towel, or plastic wrap and let rest until the size of the ball is doubled (about 1 hour and 1/2)
-I like to portion my dough into four smaller balls and let them sit over night...
-You can keep your extra dough in the fridge for a few days and make more pizzas. I personally don't freeze it, but it will hold in the freezer.
- If you are storing your dough in the fridge make sure that the outside is lightly coated in olive oil, and it is sealed properly. Without those precautions you will get a hard crust that is difficult to work with.
-Once you have your handmade dough.... MAKE PIZZA!