Homemade pizza dough means perfect homemade pizza crust, calzones, or breadsticks.

19 Aug

Pizza. It’s great for any time of year. It can be a quick meal. Great food to feed a crowd. Goes well with an ice-cold beer on your deck in the summer. You can top the dough with whatever your heart desires. But great pizza is only as good as the crust you put your ingredients on. Inferior crust leaves you feeling cheated somehow. Enter in the most perfect pizza dough recipe ever. Thank you Cooks Illustrated.

Basic Pizza Dough

½ cup warm water
1 envelope or 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
4 cups (22 oz) bread flour, plus more for dusting hands and work surface
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ cup room temperature water
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

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.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. With the mixer on low-speed, pour in the yeast/water/oil mixture.  Mix until a cohesive dough is formed.  Switch to the dough hook.  Knead on low-speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

***If you are freezing the dough for later use, you would do so at this point. Split the dough into two pieces (or 4 if you want smaller portions for calzones and breadsticks) Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Dough will still rise some so be sure to put plastic wrapped dough in a freezer safe baggie***

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.

Press down the dough to deflate it and transfer the to a lightly floured work surface.  Divide into two equal pieces.  Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball.

Cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for 10 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven and your pizza stone to 500˚ F for 30 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Shape the dough and brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil.  Top with whatever your heart desires.

Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

For Calzones:

One ball of dough will make 2 calzones. Roll dough out on parchment sprinkled with cornmeal and cut in half. Fill with desired ingredients (I make one with ricotta, artichokes, spinach, shrooms and smoky cheddar. Another with ricotta, mozzarella, pepperoni, hot peppers, shrooms and sauce) leave outer edges clear so that you can fold the topping in.

Fold over edges, pressing to close, and brush entire calzone with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Score calzone so steam can escape.

Put in 500˚ F oven on preheated pizza stone for 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

Note: to use frozen dough, take out of freezer and thaw the night before in the fridge. Or remove from freezer and thaw on the counter for a couple of hours the same day.

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3 Responses to “Homemade pizza dough means perfect homemade pizza crust, calzones, or breadsticks.”

  1. Yinzerella August 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    I am going to have to try this recipe–one can’t go wrong with Cook’s Illustrated. But believe it or not, the Old World Pizza Dough recipe in “Skinny Italian” by Teresa Guidice (Real Housewives of NJ) is pretty damn fantastic.

    Now I am going to lament the fact that I do not have a stand mixer.

  2. seasonedwithsarcasm August 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    You certainly can’t go wrong with CI! I will have to look into that recipe, i’m always up for trying different stuff and having a couple of go to versions of the same recipe!
    You can do this recipe without the stand mixer, you’ll just have to put in some extra elbow grease to get it kneaded to that nice smooth dough shape.
    Hope you enjoy it!

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