I want to make a pizza tonight but I’ve never made a crust before from scratch. I googled for recipes, but they vary a lot so I’m not sure what to try. Some involve refrigerating the dough overnight, which I’d rather not do because I want to make it tonight, some have a few hours rising time (that’s fine) and some have no rising time at all. Any advice? Can anyone recommend a recipe? I’ve made bread before, so in the house I have bread flour, whole wheat flour and all-purpose, as well as yeast, eggs, olive oil, sugar and honey and all the basics that were involved in a number of these recipes.
When I had a roommate we made pizza sometimes. By ‘we’, of course, I mean ‘I’. Oh, yeah, the roomie was all for homemade pizza. He just didn’t want to do the kneeding. :mad:
Anyway, we found a recipe online. I don’t remember it, but it seems that it involved mixing warm water, sugar (?) and yeast and letting it sit for five or fifteen minutes. Then it was added to flour. Maybe eggs? Milk? I don’t remember. Anyway, there was a dough. This was left to rise for a little while. Certainly not overnight. Half an hour, maybe? Then it had to be kneeded for about 15 minutes. We never got the hang of flying it in the air, so we just rolled it out onto aluminum foil with a rolling pin.
I remember - many years ago - using pre-made biscuit dough. Thing is, I don’t remember how it turned out. But seems like it should work pretty well. You’d probably have to buy a jumbo tube of pop-n-fresh (giggles) biscuits and mush them all together, then roll it out into a big circle or square.
Check The Joy of Cooking; their standard pizza crust is what I generally use and it comes out very well. IIRC, (and as I make it frequently I do recall) this is the recipe:
1 tbls yeast let activate in 1/4 c of lukewarm water for 5 minutes
2-1/2 c of all purpose flour
1 c cold water
3 tbls olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Any spices (rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, pepper, et cetera) you want to add.
Combine together in a bowl with a spoon or spatula until well-mixed. (Should be tacky but not overly sticky.) Place on a well-floured surface and kneed in another 3/4 to 1 c of flour until well-kneeded and non-tacky.
Lightly oil a large bowl, put the dough in it, turning once to oil the whole surface, cover and let rise for 15-30 minutes. Remove from bowl back to floured surface, divide into four equal parts (or more if you want smaller pies), and roll each part into a ball. Let rise, covered, on floured surface for 1 hr. Alternatively, cover with plastic wrap and let them rise overnight in the refrigerator.
When ready, press out the dough with your fingers, working around and around to get it progressively thinner. (Rolling flat with a pin will give you the wrong texture, too flat and tough. Hand working the dough will give it a lighter and crisper texture.)
So you can see it shouldn’t take you more than a couple of hours, start to finish. You can also freeze the risen dough; it seems to come out with just a slight loss of resiliance.
For best results, use a baking stone and slide the pizza on and off with a highly floured peel. (Use corn meal to keep it from sticking to the stone.) You can use a pizza pan, too, but it won’t be as crisp.
Now, the real question is…what are you going to put on top of the pizza?
Thanks for all the replies! Does anyone know if these recipes need to be altered if I used part whole wheat flour instead of all all-purpose?
Half plain, w/ just sauce and fresh mozz. The other half (MY half!) will have that plus kalamata olives, pitted and sliced up and sundried tomatoes, the kind in the bag, not oil. I’ll probably have to re-hydrate them a bit before I put them on. Possibly some other stuff, but I forget what else I have in the fridge right now. Maybe some fresh garlic if it hasn’t dried out too much.
Once you get the crust rolled out, work fast. Quickly add the sauce (not too much) and toppings a pop it in the oven on the bottom shelf. Use a high oven temperature too. This is all to stop the crust from rising too much; otherwise you will get something like a thick slab of bread with sauce and toppings, which will be chewy and not as pleasant as it could be. What you want is a thin, crisp crust. Or at least that’s what I want when I make pizza. Some people like the thick crust, but not me.
I like fresh mozzerella cheese but it always ends up a bit runny for my taste when cooked. I like keeping pizza simple, with just a three or four ingredients, although I do a vegetarian supreme with roasted eggplant, zuchinni, a couple of types of mushroom, tomatos, roasted red peppers, carmelized onions, roasted garlic, cashews, basil, and smoked provolone and sauce that is decadent.
Anyway, sounds like a good evening at the piggy household. Crack open a nice pinot or syrah (or a Peroni if that’s your pleasure) and enjoy a bite for me.
Yeah, using straight-up mozzarella alone on a pizza usually results in “cheese soup in a bready bowl”. And I find that mozzarella alone is kinda bland; the cheese just doesn’t have much flavor. I usually use a pre-shredded blend, which includes mozz, parmesan, romano, provolone, and asiago. Much more flavorful, and the texture of the cheese is much less runny after the cooking.
Whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid than allpurpose. I might up the water or your dough might be unmanageable stiff. Also, I’m not sure if yeast is as active in whole wheat as they are in allpurpose (lower sugar, higher fiber). My experience is that whole wheat doesn’t rise as high when same amounts of yeast are used.
In sum, you might need more yeast and water than the recipe calls for. But you might be fine. Good luck!
About 9-10" rounds. You can make it thinner, but then it tends to stick to the peel. The same size makes a honkin’ bit calzone; I usually find I can split in into sixths instead of quarters for calzones.
As far as using whole wheat–you’ll want to add a little more oil–maybe another tablespoon–and you may want some more water. You’ll have to experiment. I’ve tried it but never gotten a satisfactory result; the crust has always ended up kind of chewy and not crisp, almost stale-textured. Changing the amount of yeast doesn’t seem to affect the final texture of it, though it will rise more. You might try adding some molassas to the dough, too, in half-tablespoon increments.
I used to have a recipe for a polenta dough, which was good with braised spinach and chicken or basil pesto and red potatoes, but making the polenta is just kind of a pain so I stopped doing that.
get fresh spinach from the farmers market. put that on top of the sauce, use more spinach than you think because it goes down a lot.
then little crumbles of gorgonazola.
then tyme & basil.
that’s it. Put on sauce sparingly.
I don’t use mozzarella, becomes a coagulated tasteless rubber mess. My aunt (from Sicily), who taught me, uses incanestrata, but it’s hard to find and $$$. I’ll use fontinella instead.