If you’ve never made your own pizza dough, you’re in for a treat. No! Don’t you dare close this browser window! I promise you it’s freaking easy! Like, easier than sandwiches, easy. Easier than arguing with your toddler about please eating said sandwiches, easy. Easier than coming up with a simile for things that are easy and yet not sexual, easy. ‘Nuff said.
“But it’s got yeast in it,” you say? To which I respond “Hush yo’ mouth!” There’s not even any actual kneading involved, if you’ve got a stand-up mixer. Because, you know me – I pack a million lunches at once, I don’t have time to mess with fragile recipes. Now, to make about 90 hand pies like I do for my crew, I use a double batch of this dough -I can do it all at once easily in my 7QT mixer, but you may want to run two separate batches if you have a 4-5 QT bowl.
Scroll down for pictures of what the yeast mixture should look like, and what your dough should do each step of the way.
And get ready to be amazed.
This is what your yeast should look like …
And the dry ingredients …
Here is the yeast mixture in the mixing bowl …
Add the dry ingredients and the oil …
Let the dough rise … this is what I mean when I say “doubled its size.” Your dough will look like this when it’s risen (see why you really really really want a really really really big bowl?)
- 3/4 cups warm water (NOT hot! should be warm to the touch)
- 2 Tb sugar
- 3 packages active dry yeast (or 2 Tb - no, the quantity isn't exactly the same, but 2Tb is perfect)
- 1 Tb salt
- 1 1/4 cups water (separate from previous quantity)
- 5 1/2 cups bread flour (it works just fine with regular all purpose flour, but the stretch and quality is better if using bread flour)
- 1Tb extra virgin olive oil
- Whisk together 3/4 cups warm water, sugar, and yeast in a standing mixer's bowl (or a large bowl, if you plan to do by hand). Let stand until the surface of this mixture is foaming, and appears creamy (about two minutes).
- Add salt, olive oil, and 1 1/4 cups of water, and mix.
- Gradually add all 5 1/2 cups of flour, using the dough hook attachment on your mixer (remember, when using a dough hook on a Kitchenaid mixer, you can't run the mixer faster than "2").
- Continue to mix, scraping down the sides of your bowl occasionally, until the dough starts coming together as an elastic mass, and is pulling off from the sides of bowl. If, despite scraping flour from sides of bowl and mixing for several minutes, your dough is still too sticky to pull away from sides, you may add one Tb of flour at a time. If, on the contrary, the dough appears too dry to come hang off of the dough hook and be elastic, you may add the other 1/4 cup of water one tablespoon at a time. Hint: give your dough a good 5-6 minutes of mixing before deciding whether you need more wet or dry ingredients - this ratio of water and flour is pretty accurate despite temperature swings.
- Once the dough is pulling cleanly off the sides and bottom of the bowl, allow mixer to continue "kneading" for you for another 5 minutes. Remember that a mixer is more likely to be able to incorporate flour into your recipe than kneading by hand, so your dough will still feel stickier to the touch than what you could comfortably shape by hand (ie, don't be fooled, as long as the dough is pulling cleanly off the whole bowl, resist the temptation to add more flour to make it less sticky).
- Brush a separate large bowl (I use a very large 32-cup or 59-cup tupperware bowl, depending on whether I'm making a single or double batch) with olive oil, empty dough into this bowl, cover loosely (I place the tupperware lid on, but don't seal) in a warm place for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Don't worry. It'll double in size.
- Push dough down from sides of bow (it'll deflate entirely, don't worry, that's normal) with a rubber spatula, cover the bowl tightly now, and place in the fridge until you're ready to use (chill for at least an hour).
- Yield: 45-50 4-inch circles, or two large pizzas + one medium - I make a double batch when working on all three types of hand pies at once
- Tomato Sauce (Round 1)
- Never-Get-Your-Hands-Dirty Pizza Dough
- “Pizza” pockets (sausage, spinach and cheese, or cheese and veggie)
- Savory Lunch Empanadas (sweet potato and black beans, or ground beef)
- Spinach-Cream Cheese turnovers
- PLUS, SNACK: Strawberry Leather (Fruit “Roll Ups”)
- And BONUS SNACK: Portable Smoothie “Push-Ups”