Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bassic Pizza Crust

We love pizza in our house, but we DONT love paying for delivery. So, if your like me and you still want your guilty pleasures, I'll be posting my favorite pizza steps over the next few days. We will start with the bassic, and that is the crust.

Now, I know what your going to say "but bread making is hard!" trust me, you can do this, it's a lot easier than you think!

Lets get to it!

Here is today's cast:

# 1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
# 1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) instant yeast
# 1 1/4 cups water, at room temp
# 2 tbsp Cooking Oil, I used Veggie oil.
# 4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
# 1 1/2 tsp salt
# Cornmeal
# Olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing bowl
# 2-3 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
#1-2 table spoons dried garlic

In a measuring cup, measure out the warm water and add the Yeast. Let this sit about 5 min (give or take) until it's all foamy and bubbly... like this...

In a bowl, stir together the flour, salt, garlic, and dried herbs.

Once the yeast and water mix is ready add in the oil...

and add to the flour. Mix this well, I had to stop at the flaky point because I didn't have enough liquid, I added 2 tablespoons more water and started kneeing at this point.

See... all flaky, not quite "dough" yet.

Flour your surface, and kneed the dough until it's a soft and smooth ball. *This is the most difficult part to this whole process...
If your doing this step by hand it should take about 5-7 min
If your luck enough to be using a standing mixer, stop the machine around 4-5 min. (just about when the dough is trying to climb it way out of the bowl)

Put the kneaded dough into a well sprayed bowl and allow it to rise for between 1 and 2 hours. *You could let it rise in the fridge over night if you need to. Just make sure to put it in the fridge with a damp towel over the top or you will have a crusty dough monster on your hands... and no one wants to clean that mess up, trust me!*

Once the dough has grown to double in size, cut the dough into either 1/2 or 1/4 size balls, depending on how many pizzas you would like to make, and what size you would like them to be.

Let them rest for about 10 min, this will make them much more work-able, trust me this is a step you don't want to skip!
Preheat pizza stone in the oven to 500F (If you don't have one of these, you should soooo.... get one, they are worth the investment!) Once it's ready to go, Slide the pizza/calzone onto the pizza stone and bake 10-15min, or until the crust is golden brown, and the cheese is all melty....

From here you have a couple of options, you can stretch and roll the dough until you have 1/4 inch thick pizza rounds, or (one of our favorites) you can roll into ovals about 1/4 inch thick and make wonderful Calzones !

Tomorrow, I will post the marinara sauce that goes great with either of these treats.

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