Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Date Night In

Around noon on Fridays I usually send my husband a text saying 'in or out?', aka are we going out for dinner or staying in? While I like date nights out, it sure is nice to get creative at home with dinner, find a good movie to rent and pop open a bottle of wine. One of our favorite date night in dinners is pizza. When we first decided it would be fun to make our own pizza I was a little hesitant about the work involved in making pizza dough but after playing with a few recipes, I found what I think is the best base pizza dough EVER!

What you'll need:

3 1/2 - 4 cups Bread Flour ( you can sub in all-purpose flour but it will be a chewier crust)
1 tsp. Sugar
1 envelope instant dry yeast
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 1/2 cup water at 110 degrees F
2 tbsp Olive Oil, plus 2 tsp.

What you'll do:

1.Using a stand mixer with a dough hook combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.

2. With the mixer running at medium speed, slowly add water and 2 tbsp. olive oil and beat until dough ball forms. The perfect dough ball wont stick to the sides of the bowl or have crumbles in the bottom of the bowl. If the ball sticks to the side, add 1 tbsp of flour at a time until the dough pulls from the side. If there are crumbles in the bottom, it means your dough is to dry so add a tbsp of water at time.

3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth ball.

4. Coat mixing bowl lightly with 2 tsp of olive oil and place dough back into the bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and place in a warm area to let rise (I usually place in a non-heated oven) for 1 hour.

5. Remove dough from bowl onto a lightly floured surface and divide into the number of desired pizzas ( we've done 2 and 4). Cover with a towel for roughly 10 more minutes.

6. While the dough has it's last rest, now is the perfect time to place your pizza stone in the oven and start heating the oven to 400 degrees.

7. Roll out dough to desired thickness and shape. Take a fork and poke several holes into the crust. This will help the pizza cook.

8. I would suggest building the pizza on the pizza stone as it can be tricky to transfer a pizza from one surface to another once topped.

9. The amount of toppings placed on the pizza will determine the cook time. Well topped pizzas should take about 30 minutes to bake through and create a yummy, crispy crust. Check the bottom of the crust occasionally and when the bottom is slightly golden it should be good to go!

Note: While the entire process take roughly 1 hr 30 mins. there's only about 20 minutes worth of work.
Note: The above recipe is a base recipe. Add what ever flavors desired. Roughly 3 tbsp. of honey give it a sweet flavor and 2-3 tbsp of Italian seasoning gives the crust a very fresh herb taste.

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