My kitchen is my happy place. No matter what kind of day I had I find I can work it all out in my kitchen. (I’m not gonna lie, it also helps that when I am cooking I usually have a glass of wine!)
Kneading dough is a zen moment for me. As loud as my house can get, while I am making pizza dough or bread my family pretty much gets ignored. There have been times when at least one person comes into my kitchen like, “mom, I was calling you!” No one is on fire…some things can wait.
This is a Cooking with Cait recipe – great to get kids involved!
I used to purchase dough from a local grocery store, but I found it too hard to work with…always wanting to go back to its original ball shape after I patiently rolled it out to the not-too-thin-not-too-thick consistency that we prefer in my house. So I tried making my own after perusing many different recipes and taking the best that each had to offer. Here is the result, a dough that is a breeze to make and to work with, that refrigerates and freezes well and is crunchy and chewy.
For the Pizza Dough:
3 and 1/2 cups plus* bread flour (you can use all-purpose but I found a better crunch with the bread flour)
1 tsp sugar
1 envelope instant dry yeast or 2 and 1/4 tsps if you have a jar of yeast.
2 tsps kosher salt
1 and 1/2 cups water plus* at 110 F (I found that my hot faucet water was about the right temperature for this)
2 tbs olive oil, plus 2 tsps for bowl to rest dough
Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a standing mixer with dough hook attached. With mixer on low add water and 2 tbs olive oil and beat until a ball of dough begins to form. Pinch the dough and if too sticky add more flour* 1 tbs at a time. If too dry add more water* 1 tbs at a time until the dough feels like you can work it without making a complete mess out of your rolling pin and surface!
Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth, firm ball. Grease a large bowl with the remaining olive oil, add the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Put in a warm place to double in size, about 1 hour.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough. I like to make smaller sized pies so I quartered the dough. Cover each half or quarter with more wrap and let it rest an additional 10 minutes.
This is the perfect time to prep your toppings. We made a pepperoni pie, a plain pie, a red pie with sweet peppers and onion and a white pie with prosciutto and arugula.
Preheat oven to 475 F. Roll out your dough and place on a pizza peel dusted with corn meal. Brush with garlic infused olive oil (optional) – 3 tbs olive oil and one minced garlic clove mixed. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Smear with red sauce (if making a red pie).
Red Pizza Sauce:
1 can San Marzano tomatoes 28 oz.
2 cloves garlic
handful fresh basil
2 tbs olive oil
Mix in food processor until desired consistency. We like it a little chunky.
Top with shredded mozzarella and a sprinkle of Parmesan if making a white pie. Add toppings and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until crust browns and cheese bubbles. If making the white pie with prosciutto and arugula, add the arugula right when the pie comes out of the oven. The heat of the baked pie wilts it nicely.
Cool for a couple of minutes, slice and eat!