There was a time not long ago that pizza and I didn’t get along very well. We would get together for an evening with friends and it would never fail that pizza would throw a fit and burn itself leaving me cursing not only the dough but the pizza stone that conspired against me as well. Those two seemed to work together to foil my plans for a fresh, crispy (they were crispy – just not the right kind), flavorful pizza. You know it’s bad when your 7 & 5 year-old nephews don’t want to eat their favorite food in the whole world because their Aunt Chassie burns it. I almost gave up and left good pizza to the Italians but I am proud to say that I didn’t give up. Instead I pressed on and learned a new technique and I am now the proud owner of a homemade pizza recipe that cooks beautifully on a grill.
Today’s recipe goes hand in hand with another recipe that Willi of the wonderful blog, DigginFood is posting from me this week (!!!). I was so excited that she asked me to be a guest because I love her Seattle based gardening/food blog and those of you that know me well know that I should be living in Seattle, taking a bus to work, going to concerts 3 nights a week and eating nothing but Rhubarb and berries all day long.
Typically I just buy pre-made dough from the store and I’ve always thought it was great but as a guest blogger I thought I needed to ante-up, step outside my comfort zone and dive into the world of yeast, flour and water. The recipe was very easy and if you can be patient with the rise time (I baked a german pancake, cleaned the flour that I managed to get everywhere and rented a movie while I waited) you will be thrilled with the results. Once you’ve made yourself some fresh dough, check out my guest post at DigginFood for a fantastic and unique method for cooking pizza.
There are several pizza dough recipes out there but this one comes from the May Issue of Martha Stewart where she featured Chris Bianco, owner of Pizzeria Bianco in Arizona. His secret to great dough is to use only your hands to manipulate it from start to finish. I thought this might be a bit challenging but it was quite easy. This recipe yields four 12” pizzas so the effort is worth it because you can get a couple of meals out of the deal. It also freezes well for use another day.
The biggest difference I noticed between the store bought and homemade dough was that the homemade was very pliable and easy to work with. Steve always had to roll out the dough in our house because when I would try it would shrink back to its original size. Talk about frustrating!
Now clear off some counter space and make some dough!
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Makes four 12-inch pizzas
Prep Time 20 minutes Rise Time: 3.5 hours
• 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce envelope)
• 2 cups warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
• 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting, preferably organic
• 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
• Extra-virgin olive oil, for bowl
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 3 cups flour and the salt, stirring until smooth. Stir in an additional 2 cups flour; stirring until dough comes away from bowl but is still sticky.
2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead with lightly floured hands. Start by slapping the dough onto the counter, pulling it toward you with one hand and pushing it away from you with the other. Fold the dough back over itself (use a bench scraper or a wide knife to help scrape dough from surface). Repeat until it’s easier to handle, about 10 times. Finish kneading normally until dough is smooth, elastic, and soft, but a little tacky, about 10 minutes.
3. Shape dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl; turn to coat. Cover with plastic, and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, 3 hours. Press it with your finger to see if it’s done; an indent should remain.
4. Scrape dough out of the bowl onto floured surface, and cut it into 4 pieces. Shape into balls. Dust with flour, and cover with plastic. Let rest, 20 to 30 minutes, allowing dough to relax and almost double.
5. Holding top edge of 1 dough ball in both hands, let bottom edge touch work surface (refrigerate remaining balls as you work). Carefully move hands around edge to form a circle, as if turning a wheel. Hold dough on back of your hand, letting its weight stretch it into a 12-inch round. Transfer dough to a lightly floured inverted baking sheet.
6. Now your dough is ready for grilling and toppings!