Friday, April 23, 2010

My Very Favorite Pizza Crust

My family, like so many, LOVES pizza.  We have basically always had pizza at least every other weekend.  We used to order our pizza from a pizza chain.  About 3 years ago, we moved a few miles out of town and get one would deliver pizza to my door.  I was flabbergasted.  Since once I am home, I am usually too lazy to get back in my vehicle and drive back to town, I had to come up with another plan.

Luckily, I discovered a deliciously easy whole wheat crust from a friend.  It is also fairly healthy, which is wonderful.  I still make this one on occasion.  I probably would have stuck with it forever, except that my oldest complained one day, "can't we make a crust that is more like Pizza Hut?"  So, for a time I tried Pizza Hut copycat crusts.  Then I discovered that, for us, Pizza Hut did not in fact make the holy grail of crusts.  That is when I began to branch out.  I am so glad I did because, for us, this crust is perfection.

When you make it for the first time, do not be alarmed, it is EXTREMELY wet compared to every other pizza dough I have worked with.  It can be difficult to work with if you don't know a few tricks.  For instance, DO NOT try to roll it out with a rolling pin.  That will only lead to lots of stickage and frustration.  In my experience, it is best to work with this dough while it is warm, with your hands, slowly stretching it out to size. It is soft and pliable so you can finish stretching it out to fit the pan after you place it on your pan.

Please be advised: I used weights for the flour because that is a MUCH more accurate way to measure flour.  Also, you may want to keep an eye on the dough the first time you make it because it does typically hit the top of my bread machine. I just wipe the top down with a damp cloth when it does this.

My Very Favorite Pizza Crust
Makes 2 large pizzas

2 1/4 c. warm water
3 tsp. yeast
3 tsp. sugar
24 oz. bread flour (about 4 1/8 cups)
5.25 oz. semolina flour (3/4 c.)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

Place warm water, yeast, and sugar in bread machine.  Let sit to make sure your yeast is active (you will begin to see small bubbles forming).  Add all of your dry ingredients  and start bread machine on dough setting.  Once the bread machine is done kneading,  add 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan, close the bread machine, and let it finish the dough cycle.  

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Roll out the dough (I prefer to work it with my hands) and place it on two greased pizza pans.  At this point I like to brush each pizza with about 1/2 Tbsp. of EVOO.  Bake for a few minutes, just until crust barely begins to turn golden.  Put on your desired toppings and bake until done.

Make Ahead Tips:  Make several pizza crusts ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 5 days (the dough will just get tastier with time).  Let rise once, punch down, and store in a ziploc bag until ready to use.  Let dough come to room temp. before proceeding.

You can also let the dough rise, then freeze it for future use.  Let it thaw for a couple of days in the fridge, or for about 4-6 hours on the counter.  Bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 16
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 185.7
  • Total Fat: 1.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 219.7 mg
  • Total Carbs: 38.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
  • Protein: 5.3 g

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