by Amy Bradley
Two things you should know about me:
- I love pizza, especially pepperoni and mushroom (a.k.a. “Pepp & Mush”).
- I have a strong fear of baking with yeast.
Why, you may ask? Well, pepperoni and mushrooms are delicious together for starters – haha! But seriously, yeast is so tricky. You have to make sure it rises for the appropriate amount of time at the correct temperature, which can be difficult to achieve depending on the climate where you live. Plus, if the yeast is inactive – i.e. it does not rise – you basically have to start over from scratch.
I have decided to conquer my fear of yeast, little by little. The first step was the super easy Sunburst Bread I created. Now, I’m kicking it up a notch to classic pizza dough. Finding the right homemade pizza dough recipe was tough. Others I have tried were too bland and kind of cardboard tasting. I think this recipe does the trick for flavor, without becoming overpowering. After all, the star of any pizza is the toppings you choose. (Pepp & mush! Pepp & mush!)
A few key ingredients make this a perfect pizza dough. First, the bread flour. This gives your dough the delightfully light and chewy texture. I used King Arthur Bread Flour because I know the quality is high. Next, the sweeteners. For this recipe, I went light. Less real sugar, and instead adding in some natural honey. Finally, the seasonings. You don’t want a super sweet dough, so you need to counteract this with a few seasonings – garlic powder, onion powder and salt. What really makes this dough easy is the instant yeast. As long as the temperature is right (ideally, around 80°F), the instant yeast will easily cut the normal rising time in half. I use Red Star yeast in my baking but any quick rising yeast will do.
Once it has risen, you can either shape and make your pizza immediately, or freeze it for later. Homemade pizza dough can keep in the freezer for up to 3 months, so it is easy to have great pizza anytime you wish.
Amy’s Easy Pizza Dough Recipe
Makes 2 large pizzas or 3 thin crust pizzas.
- 2 cups plus 2 tbsp bread flour
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 packet (about 2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
- 1 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- A few tsp olive oil
- A few tbsp butter, melted (optional)
- Combine all dough ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer, or other large mixing bowl. If using a stand mixer, run the dough hook at low speed to combine the ingredients, else use your hands or a dough spatula / flexible bench scraper.
- Once ingredients have come together with the dough no longer sticking to the sides, knead for about 7 minutes either with the dough hook on your mixer or by hand. If kneading by hand, make sure you are doing so on a clean and lightly floured surface.
- Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil. Shape your dough into a ball and place into the oiled bowl. Let rise* for approximately 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size (it should rise nearly to the top of your bowl).
- Once dough has risen, punch it down lightly, releasing the air pockets.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut it in half (thick crust) or thirds (thin crust) using a sharp knife or bench scraper. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven (or grill) to 450°F. Ensure your pizza stone is in the oven to get warm. Tear off a sheet of aluminum foil, place on your counter and dust with cornmeal. (If you don’t have a pizza stone, dust a baking sheet with cornmeal. If you don’t have cornmeal, spray the pan or foil with non-stick spray. A pizza stone is required to successfully grill your pizza, but not necessary for baking in the oven.)
- Flatten the dough out on top of the foil or baking pan, and shape it to create the outer crust. Top with your favorite toppings. If baking, you can coat the outer crust with olive oil or melted butter, if you wish. Do not do this if grilling the pizza.
- Place in the oven or grill (on top of the heated stone, if using) and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
*If your home is not warm enough to promote rising of your dough (75-85°F), try preheating your oven to 200°F. Then, when the dough is ready to begin rising, turn off the oven and place the covered bowl inside with the door slightly cracked. After about 20 minutes, close the door and allow the dough to continue to rise.
**Make ahead tips:
- You can make this dough, seal it in a zip top bag and refrigerate it for 1 day, as needed. Please be aware that it may continue to rise while in the refrigerator. Punch the dough to release air, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes and then shape the dough.
- You can also freeze the dough; coat the dough ball in olive oil and seal tightly in a freezer safe zip top bag. Dough can stay frozen up to 3 months. Place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw (about 12 hours). When ready to make pizza, let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping the dough.
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