By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional
People are always amazed that I make homemade pizza on a regular basis. Too me it’s funny, because not only can you buy yeast dough from any pizzeria, but to make dough from scratch is actually quite easy and only has a few steps and ingredients.
Like I tell Danny all the time, “Just because I don’t do something on a regular basis doesn’t mean I don’t know how.” Pizza dough is basically all the same recipe, with minor variations. That’s because it’s a complex chemical reaction between the ingredients, time and heat. When I have the time, I make it from scratch and when not, I buy from the pizzeria or Walmart. He can’t tell the difference, because they are all the same recipe.
One of the things I love about having kids, is that I am forced to do things the old fashioned way when teaching them a particular recipe or skill set. Making pizza is one of those times. I want them to have the ability to do it all from scratch and have the option to decide for themselves how they want to do it when they have their own kitchen.
- 1 1/4 Cups Warm Water (105-110 Degrees F)
- 1 (1/4 Oz) Package Active Dry Yeast
- 1 Tbs. Sugar
- 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 Tsp. Salt
- 1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning
- 1 Tbs. Garlic Powder
- 3 Tbs. Olive Oil
- Yellow Cornmeal
- In a small mixing bowl, add your 1 1/4 cups of warm water, sugar and packet of yeast. Mix together with a fork until the sugar is dissolved and let stand for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top. Cooking Tip: Be sure that you are using warm water and that it is not too hot. If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast and your dough will not rise. It will end up being hard and extremely dense.
- Add your flour, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt to the bowl of your food processor or stand mixer. Turn your mixer (with the dough hook attachment) on to the lowest setting, to start combining the four and salt while removing any lumps. Slowly, drizzle your yeast mixture and oil into the flour and continue mixing until a ball is formed. Turn off your mixer and remove the dough hook.
- Turn out your dough onto a counter top that has been lightly, sprinkled with flour. Knead your dough for 5-6 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Form into a ball. Cooking Tip: When kneading your dough, use the heel of your hand and push away from your body. Fold it back onto itself and turn it 180 degrees and continue kneading. You will do this 5-6 times at least. When the dough snaps back as you pull a section slightly away, you know that it has been kneaded enough.
- Spray well a large mixing bowl with non-stick cooking spray and place your ball of dough into the bowl. Turn your ball of dough over a couple of times to make sure the entire surface is coated with oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a dry, warm area for about 45 minutes to rise. It should double in size. Cooking Tip: If your kitchen is cool, like in winter or the height of summer when the air conditioner is on, then turn your oven to 250 degrees for 5 minutes to warm it up slightly. After 5 minutes, turn off the oven and place your bowl of dough on the bottom rack (remove the other shelves) and close the oven door almost all the way, leaving it slightly cracked open.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- Sprinkle your counter top or work surface with a thin layer of cornmeal. Place your pizza dough onto the center of the cornmeal area and with a rolling pin that has been lightly floured, roll out your dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Place onto a non-stick baking sheet or pizza stone.
- Finally, add a layer of your favorite sauce, then a layer of your choice of cheese and finally, sprinkle with your meats and vegetables.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, until the crust has turned a golden brown and the cheese is nicely melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes before slicing and serving to your family and friends.
- Enjoy this garlic and herbed pizza dough that you have made entirely from scratch. Your friends and family will be mightily impressed.