My boss from my last job, Anne, is good for a lot of things: she's full of witty one-liners, shows complete and total support for the working parent, and is a fabulous running companion. However, my new favorite thing about Anne is most definitely her pizza dough recipe. For the full tenure of my employment with her (that's five years, people), I'd listen to her talk about weekly homemade pizza night at her house and admire her craftiness... then we'd call for sub-par pizza takeout from the local joint. This holiday season brought on a bevvy of baking for me, though, and after making challah and milk bread rolls with great success, I've gotten the courage to delve deeper into bread baking. It helps that the ancient and uneven heating system in our apartment has turned our bedroom into a de facto bread proofer, but after I made two delicious loaves of honey-oat-flax bread last week, I decided I was ready to move into the realm of pizza dough. Silly me! I had it totally backwards! Pizza dough is, in fact, BY FAR the easiest to make of all the breads I've dabbled in this winter; it practically makes itself, especially if you have a standing mixer to do the kneading. Even if you don't have a mixer, kneading is therapeutic, and you shouldn't be scared off of this recipe! The recipe makes enough for two pizzas, and freezes well, so in about 20 minutes of active work, you have the base for two fantastic homemade pizza dinners. And, may I say, this is definitely ticket-to-a-man's-heart food. I just can't believe I waited so long to try it! So, pick up your favorite marinara and toppings, and try the recipe below. You and the men in your life will most certainly want to send a thank you to Anne.
Boss Lady Anne's Perfect Homemade Pizza Dough
Makes enough for 2 pizzas
3 1/2 cups flour (either use all all-purpose or up to a cup of whole wheat flour)
1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) yeast1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (a bit more with whole wheat flour, temp like bath water, not too hot)
2 tbsp olive oil
1) Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl (go ahead and use the bowl of the standing mixer if you are using one).
2) Pour in half the warm water and mix it in. Add the olive oil and mix it in. Add the rest of the water. If the dough is super sticky, add a bit more flour.
3) Knead the dough for 10 minutes or so by hand or in the standing mixer. Once the dough is elastic, form it into a ball.
4) Oil a bowl, roll the dough ball around in it so it's coated in oil, and cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for about an hour.
5) When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it down and divide it in two. You're now ready to form the dough balls into disks and cover them with your favorite toppings. If you like a crisp crust, you can pre-bake it at 500 degrees for 8-10 minutes, spreading a little olive oil on top first.
Anne also says that the dough is easier to work with the second day after it has had a rest in the fridge overnight, but it's good right after it rises too. That's when we used it, and the crust was light and fluffy, even with the addition of a full cup of wheat flour. Homemade pizza night is definitely here to stay at Casa SMJ! Thanks Miss Anne!