Simple Pizza Dough

A few of you have expressed interest in our Pizza Night recipes, so just in time for Friday night I thought I’d share with you some of our favorites.

If you missed it, check out my post explaining our Friday night tradition here:

The key to any good pizza (in my humble carb-loving opinion) is the dough. Well, crust technically, but you have to have the one before the other. My favorite cookbook of all time is the root of the recipe which I’ve tweaked over the years, and was actually a find at a second-hand shop in my college days in San Luis Obispo (the happiest place on earth by the way). It’s The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book. I love it because the recipes are always delish, the ingredients aren’t obscure and the pictures are pretty.

Making your own dough is a wonderful way to save a ton of dough (pun intended), in addition to being a fun activity to share with your kids. I find it sad that we are so removed from the root of our food that people honestly have no idea how food and the earth (you know that green stuff, outside?) connect. Kids are used to eating from a box and have little concept of veggies and REAL food. It’s sad.

So in the interest in teaching our kids the value of real food, lets make some pizza!

By doubling this recipe you can have enough dough for 4 good sized pizzas. It keeps in the freezer beautifully. Ideally you would take it out the night before to defrost in the fridge and then rise an hour before you want to make your pizza, but in a pinch (actually most Fridays, who am I kidding…) I take it out that afternoon of and just leave it at room temp to defrost by dinner and it works great.

Without further ado, here we go:

You’ll need a few basic ingredients, and one kind of funky ingredient which I will explain shortly.

                  Homemade Pizza Dough (makes 2)*
1 package yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
Warm Water (1 1/4 cup)
Sugar (1 tsp)
Olive Oil (2 tbsp)
Salt (2 tsp)
Flour (4 cups all purpose, or 3 1/2 cup if using Wheat Gluten)
Vital Wheat Gluten (optional,1/4 cup)
*Freeze if wanted for later use in plastic bag or parchment paper.

I like a more chewy dough and have found that the addition of vital wheat gluten helps to accomplish a different texture. However, it’s not vital (get it?), so if you don’t have any, don’t sweat it.

If your family is not used to crunchy-granola-mom type food, then use regular non-bleached flour. If you are already crunchy, go with 100% whole wheat. If you are somewhere in the middle I find a 50/50 mix works beautifully.

In a stand mixer bowl, mix 1/4 cup warm water, yeast and sugar until the sugar and yeast dissolve. Grab the rest of your ingredients and in that time (about 5 minutes), you should hopefully have a little foaming action going on. This tells us that the yeast is active and happy.

Next mix in your olive oil, salt and remaining water. Now is the time for your stand mixer. Use the dough hook to mix 2 cups of your flour in with the wet ingredients. When this has been fully incorporated add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time. When the dough starts pulling away from the bowl, stop adding flour. Run the mixer until your dough is nice and smooth (around 8-10 minutes). If you don’t have a mixer (or you have a sleeping baby) just knead it with your hands. It is superbly relaxing.

Now let your dough take a little rest in a large greased bowl (I just use the same bowl for the whole shebang because I hate doing dishes) covered with a water impermeable wrap of your choice (plastic wrap or bees wrap, etc) in a warm place for 1 hour.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Turn your dough out and divide into two equal pieces. If you are freezing extra dough, now is the time to pop it in a bag or container.

If you are feeling brave, feel free to fling your dough wildly into the air to create the famous circular shape. Have a blast with that. I use a rolling pin…

Sprinkle coarse cornmeal on your pizza stone/cookie sheet and place your dough on top.

Let your dough rest while you prep your toppings, of which options are endless. Craving Thai? Peanut butter sauce or peanuts + carrots + cilantro = delish. Want BBQ chicken? Try BBQ sauce + red onion + chicken and then dip in ranch. We love Trader Joe’s Swiss and Gruyere cheese combo on our pizzas. Get creative and let the kids help.

Bake for 22 minutes or until your cheese bubbles. Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite topping combination? Please share it in the comments section below!

4 thoughts on “Simple Pizza Dough

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