Pizza Crust

Pizza Crust

Pizza is only as good as its crust. Start with this no-fail recipe for dough that produces a wonderfully thin and crispy crust. If available, use organic bread flour—it has higher protein content than all-purpose flour, which contributes to better fermentation, structure, and elasticity of your pizza dough.

1 1/4 cups (310 mL) lukewarm water 
2 1/4 tsp (12 mL) active dry yeast 
2 tsp (10 mL) honey
2 cups (500 mL) organic bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 cups (350 mL) organic whole wheat flour 
3 Tbsp (45 mL) organic cornmeal (optional)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing

In small bowl, stir together water, yeast, and honey. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until mixture looks foamy. In large bowl, stir together flours, cornmeal (if using), and salt. Add yeast mixture and olive oil to flour mixture and mix until dough starts to come together. Some of the loose flour will come together during kneading.

Transfer dough to generously floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Add additional warm water, 1 Tbsp (15 mL) at a time, if dough remains too crumbly during kneading. Place dough in large greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with clean kitchen towel and set aside in warm, draft-free location for 1 1/2 hours, or until dough is about double in size.

If time is on your side, consider letting dough cold ferment in the refrigerator for 18 to 24 hours before using. This will allow it to develop more flavour, as well as reduce the size of gas bubbles in the dough for a thinner, crisper crust. Take dough out of refrigerator at least 1 hour before stretching so it’s more relaxed.

Punch dough down to deflate it, cut into 2 equal-sized pieces and roll into balls. One piece of dough is about 14 oz (400 g) and will make one 12 to 14 in (30 to 35 cm) pizza. Cover the dough you are using with clean kitchen towel and let rest 15 minutes before rolling. The less you handle the dough the better. Tightly wrap what you’re not using immediately in parchment paper and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Bring dough back to room temperature before rolling or stretching.

For each pizza, preheat oven to 500 F (260 C). If using a pizza stone, place it on rack in the upper-middle position (about 5 in/12 cm from the top) of oven as it preheats. If using a baking sheet, lightly coat it with oil.

Roll or stretch dough into 12 to 14 in (30 to 35 cm) round no more than 1/4 in (6 mm) thick. Don’t be put off by imperfect crust shapes; homemade pizza should be rustic. Brush edges of dough with a small amount of oil and then assemble toppings.

Makes 8 slices.

Each slice (without toppings) contains: 241 calories; 7 g protein; 5 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 44 g total carbohydrates (1 g sugars, 4 g fibre); 148 mg sodium

source: “A World of Pizza“, alive #376, February 2014

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