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It’s The Best, Promise

by nicole posted September 3, 2012 category baking, nicole

Labor Day has brought rain to Philadelphia, and I couldn’t be happier about it. The rhythmic pitter-patter against the windowpanes and heavy grey skies have me dreaming of stirring hot chocolate over the stove and staying in my pj’s all day.

It’s a nice reprieve from the seemingly endless humidity. Being one who breaks out into a sweat quite easily (I’m certainly not one of those gals who’s prettily flushed after a workout), I’ve resorted to carrying a paper towel with me when I bike into the city. Slicked-back hair may be fashionable, but being slick-faced is not; it’s just embarrassing.

But! Fall is coming, it really is, and with it comes pumpkins and bonfires and layering and boots. All of my favorite things. Oh, and wood-fired pizzas.

Which brings me to the pizza dough recipe I have to share. It’s the best. THE BEST. I know that people often claim things are the best and it usually results in disappointment. Take, for example, beauty product recommendations in fashion magazines, which do not result in “microscope-worthy flawless skin” and “locks so soft I want to run my hands through them all day.” I’m not falling for those traps! No siree! I’ll stick to my homemade apple cider vinegar regimen, which works better than those $100 per oz creams and potions, thank-you-very-much.

But I digress.

This pizza dough is unlike traditional pizza dough because it’s tender. While the crust is substantial, it lack the toughness of most. I leave most pizza crusts on my plate (unless it’s Domino’s, which in case, “Hello, garlic butter!), but this one, this one I devour greedily. No sore jaw from endless chewing, no carb-overload sleepy feeling.

Its flavor is mild, but made complex with the addition of cornmeal. This one will have people ooh-ing and ahh-ing. Believe me. It happens every time.

What’s even better is  you can make a batch ahead of time and freeze whatever you won’t be using. I like to divide the dough into six sections – one section is equal to a flatbread serving.

Don’t be deterred by the fact that it has to rise. You could do your laundry, clean your bathroom and write a letter to an old friend in that time. The rest of the recipe comes together in about ten minutes.

The Best Pizza Dough Ever

Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Cook 1.0

4 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal (or substitute 1/2 cup flour)

1 1/2 t. active dry yeast

1 1/2 t. salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cup + 1/4  cup warm water

In a large bowl or an electric mixer bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, yeast, and salt.  Add the oil and 1 1/2 cups water.  Mix slowly with dough hook attachment until the dough comes together, adding additional water (1 tablespoon at a time) if needed and then mix vigorously on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes.  The dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl as you are mixing, but needs to come away from the sides (think of a tornado).

If mixing by hand, knead the dough for ten minutes or until you get tired, whichever comes first.  Finished dough should look smooth and elastic, but feel a bit tacky.  Don’t be afraid to beat it up a bit.  If the dough is a bit too sticky, add a little flour.

Form the dough into a big ball and rub it with a bit of oil.  Place it in a large bowl in a warm place covered to rise for 1 hour.  (I turn on my oven and place my rising dough on top of the stove).  Punch down the dough when it has doubled in size, and pull it out of the bowl.  Place it on a lightly floured counter.

Cut the dough in half, and then each half into thirds (6 pieces total).  Gently form each piece into a small ball and rub each with a dab of oil.

Place the dough you aren’t going to use immediately into a freezer-proof plastic bag for future use.  It can go in the freezer for three months or the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Take the dough out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before you want to stretch it out and shape it.  Let frozen dough thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Consider topping the crust with this tomato sauce.


2 Responses to It’s The Best, Promise

  1. Oh my goodness, who drew the visual recipe? I LOVE IT!!!!!!! Great style!

    • The one and only Tim Barnes (!):