I've been wanting to make my own pizza crust for a really long time, but for some reason I've been hesitant. I've never been much of a bread beaker and I tend to avoid recipes that deal with kneading or rising. Yesterday, though, Ross and I decided to be brave and try making our own pizza dough for Valentines Day dinner. (On a side note: I absolutely love when Ross gets involves with a cooking project. It makes it a lot more fun. Ross, if you're reading this. Hint, Hint!)
If you're going to start making pizza dough I figured that a recipe called "Perfect Pizza Crust" was the place to start. I cannot express to you just how impressed I was with this recipe. It had a big name to live up to, and it did. The crust really is pefect. It's the perfect thickness and it's crispy yet chewy at the same time. The pizza that came out of the oven was one of the best pizzas I've ever eaten. I couldn't stop marveling in our accomplishment and that made every bite taste better! I can't wait to try this recipe again subbing some of the white flour for whole wheat.
If you're at all thinking about tackling pizza dough from scratch, search no further. This is the recipe you want.
I chose to throw some roasted garlic, pesto, chicken, mozzarella, and parmesan on mine, but with this dough I'm sure you could put anything on it and it would still be amazing!
The Perfect Pizza Curst
Source: Annies Eats (great blog!) orginally from Baking Illustrated
- 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 extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plug more for dusting
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing bowl
- Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.
- Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.
- To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.
- Working with one piece of dough and keeping the other covered, shape the dough and transfer to a pizza peel or round of parchment dusted with semolina or cornmeal. Top as desired. Slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and cheese is golden brown in spots, about 8 to 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use.
Recipe: Roasted Garlic Chicken Pesto Pizza Adapted from Annies Eats Ingredients:
- 1 perfect pizza crust (recipe above)
- 1/2 cup prepared pesto (store bough or homemade)
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked
- Mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- To roast the garlic: Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Place the garlic heads in a baking pan; muffin pans work well for this purpose. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each head, using your fingers to make sure the garlic head is well coated. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed. Remove garlic gloves and smash with a fork.
- Spread roasted garlic over pizza dough. Do this to taste. I used almost the whole (small) bulb, but I LOVE roasted garlic.
- Spread the pesto on the pizza.
- Add the sliced, cooked chicken.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella.
- Top with fresh grated parmesan.
- Bake on preheated pizza stone for 8 - 12 minutes.