My pizza dough recipe has evolved over the years. It seems like every few years I tweak the old recipe a bit and come up with something we like slightly better. I wanted to post my basic pizza dough recipe in this post and give you a couple of ideas for using the dough and then in subsequent posts give a few more ideas.
Pizza dough is very versatile. I found when my children were young that they would eat all manner of things if I served it up on a pizza crust.
Basic Pizza Dough
1 1/3 cups warm water (approximately 120 degrees)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
3 2/3 cup bread flour
1/3 cup cornmeal (this adds a nice texture to the dough)
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Knead for 3-5 mins. or until the dough is smooth and elastic. (I usually do this in my mixer, but you can do this by hand.) Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 mins.
Now you need to decide what you are going to do with this basic dough. To make pizza divide the dough in two and either roll out or stretch the dough to fit your pans which have been greased. I usually use pizza stones, but you can use round pizza pans or jelly roll pans if that is what you have. If you flour your hands and then gently stretch the dough it should easily stretch to fit your pan. The stretching process also creates a rim of thicker dough around the edge.
Crimp the edge of the crust if you would like and then brush on a little olive oil with a pastry brush or your finger tips and then pre-bake the crust at about 425 degrees for 10 mins. These pre-baked crusts can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days or can be wrapped and frozen. It's very handy to have the crusts on hand for a quick meal.
To complete the pizza top it with sauce and your favorite toppings. Here is an easy sauce recipe:
8 oz. canned tomato sauce
6 oz. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
Combine all ingredients and use to top your pizza. Add cheese and any additional toppings you desire such as ham, mushrooms, cooked ground beef, sausage, pepperoni, olives, onions, etc. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 mins. depending on how well browned you like your pizza. Makes enough for two pizzas.
Another option for using your pizza dough is Stromboli. Since I'm just cooking for two most of the time these days I usually make one pizza and one Stromboli.
Here's what you need for Stromboli:
1/2 of the pizza dough
about 1/3 pound of thin sliced deli ham
6-9 slices of Genoa salami
about 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Roll out the dough into a rectangle a bit smaller than a laptop computer. Place a layer of ham on the dough.
Top with a layer of cheese. Sprinkle with some Italian seasoning. Place a layer of salami next, followed by another layer of cheese and finally some more Italian seasoning.
Roll this up like a jelly roll and pinch the seam together on the bottom and tuck the ends under to make a tight roll. Brush off the excess flour and place on a jelly roll pan. Make several slashes across the Stromboli to help prevent it from cracking and then brush it with olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 mins.
To serve this slice it and serve with heated spaghetti sauce.
This would probably serve about three people as a main dish. For a bigger crowd you could make one large Stromboli using the whole batch of pizza dough (double the filling ingredients) or two smaller ones. The end pieces are not as meaty, but they are good with soup.
How about sharing your pizza dough ideas? I know some of you do some creative things with dough.
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