Friday, February 13, 2009

Pro Pizza Dough

Makes: 4 crusts
Total time: 1 1/4 hours or more
Preheat oven: 500 degrees with baking stone in oven
Bake: until crust is nicely browned, 10-12 minutes

Dissolve; stir in:
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 t)
1 cup warm water (105-115)
1 t. honey
1 T extra virgin olive oil

Add, knead, let rise, press out:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 t. table salt

Dissolve yeast in water in the mixer bowl. Stir in honey and let stand 2-3 minutes, or until the liquid begins to bubble. Add the olive oil and stir. Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture. Use a paddle attachment just to mix, then change to a dough hook. Knead until the dough comes cleanly away from sides and clusters around the hook, about 5 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface and briefly knead by hand. The dough should be smooth and elastic; when pressed, it should slowly spring back and not feel tacky. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot to rise for 30-60 minutes. When ready , the dough will stretch when gently pulled. Divide dough into 4 pieces; shape into balls, pulling down sides and tucking under as you work around the ball 4 or 5 times. To remove air bubbles, roll each ball under your palm until smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap coated with nonstick spray and let rise another 30-60 minutes. Press dough out on a lightly floured surface. Turn the dough, pressing on its center, to gradually spread it to a 7-8" circle, or roll it out to 10-12" for a larger, thinner crust; press around the edge for a thicker, raised rim. Transfer to a pizza peel dusted generously with cornmeal or flour, brush dough with oil, then top.

After forming the dough balls, they can be covered and refrigerated for 1-2 days. Just punch them down again when you're ready to roll them out. If you don't have a peel, use the back of a baking sheet to transfer pizza to the heated oven stone.

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