Since I do not own a stand mixer or a food processor I rarely make homemade bread or yeast type doughs. Kneading takes a lot of work! I’m not saying it can’t be done, but once you’ve tried it you will understand the luxury of a machine that does that work for you. Also counter space,which is lacking in many small kitchens, is very helpful when kneading.
At the end of this post I try and explain how I shape pizza dough, I hope that it is helpful and not confusing! Some cooking methods are so much easier to demonstrate than to explain.
3/4 Cups warm water
1 Package of yeast
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Cups flour*
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pour the warm water into a small dish and stir in the yeast; let it sit for 3 minutes. In a large bowl stir together flour, salt and sugar. Add the oil to the yeast and stir into the flour mixture. Mix this together until it’s all combined. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Divide the dough in 2, use your hands to shape the dough and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Top the pizza with whatever you like, just don’t go overboard the crust is thin and if you overload it, it will be too soggy. Bake until the edges of the crust are golden brown.
Makes 2 12in pizza crusts
*you can use half whole wheat flour if you would like, just don’t substitute it completely or you will get a hard, thick cracker crust
A few random pizza related notes:
-a little cornmeal sprinkled on the cookie sheet before you place the raw pizza dough would add great flavor and a subtle crunch
-this dough can be made a day or two in advance of when you want to use it. After the dough has doubled in size, wrap the dough in plastic and place in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature before shaping
-I like to add a tablespoon or two of fresh herbs to the flour mixture, if you don’t have fresh herbs you could use 2 teaspoons of dried herbs
-when I’m shaping pizza dough I slightly flatten a ball of dough between my palms, then if you think of the dough as a steering wheel place your hands at 11 and 1 and pretend that you are making a left hand turn while keeping your hands at those same places, so the edges of the dough are moving and the dough is stretching down. As the dough stretches larger move your hands to 10 and 2. When it is almost at the desired size place it on the cookie sheet and stretch it with your hands to the desired size. I find that the steering wheel method, helps the dough keep a circular shape. But if the dough isn’t a perfect circle it just looks more “rustic” and everyone knows that you made it by hand especially for them!