Between culinary school, travelling, and other obligations, TGIF is quickly becoming my favorite mantra. When those Friday nights finally arrive, lately I’ve noticed we’ve fallen into an irregular routine, one that’s probably repeated in households across the country in some form or another: Friday Pizza Night.
While we have some excellent take-out and delivery places in our neighborhood, JiT and I have come to love making homemade pizzas. With a little advance planning, its amazing how delicious, easy and fun making your own can be…even when you’re dog-tired. The secret, I’ve discovered, is in the dough. We like a fairly crisp crust, with just a slight chewiness near the center but a delicious snap on the outer crust. It needs to be flavorful, but not so much that it overpowers your ingredients. And it needs to be easy to put together.
For me, the real secret is taking 10 minutes on Thursday night to toss the ingredients into a bowl, turn on the dough hook and let it do its thing. When the dough is ready, cover it in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge overnight to rise.
When I arrive home on Friday night (hopefully still slightly damp from a quick trip to the pool for some laps), I just need to roll out the dough, sprinkle on some toppings and shove it in a blistering hot oven. Meanwhile I throw together a salad, JiT pops open a bottle of wine and picks out a movie on Netflix. Everyone exhale the week and inhale some pizza. All is right with the world.
This dough recipe is based on one from Smitten Kitchen….who I consider the virtual blog authority on pizza. If this is your first foray, I suggest reading her easy pizza making tutorial for lots of great tips. I’ve doubled the recipe, so you’ll end up with 2 sizable, thin-crust pizzas (enough for 4, or 2 with leftovers for Saturday lunch). Also, while the recipe calls for all-purpose flour, I’ve been using Eagle Mills new “double fiber” flour, which has 2 grams of fiber per serving. Still tastes the same as regular, but you can feel a tiny bit better about it. So there. Is it Friday yet?
Easy Homemade Pizza Dough
Dough for 2 medium-sized thin-crust pizzas
3 cups all-purpose (or “Double Fiber”) flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm (110 degree F) tap water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Combine flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Turn mixer on low speed and add water and olive oil. Stir together with the dough hook for about 2-3 minutes, until the dough begins to come together into a ball.
Dump dough ball onto a lightly floured surface knead with hands for just a minute or two more, until dough ball is smooth. Spray the inside of your bowl with an olive oil mister or cooking spray. Dump dough ball back into the bowl, spray the top and cover the dough with plastic wrap, so that the plastic is touching the top of the dough. Place in the refridgerator overnight.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 500 degrees F. If you’re using a pizza stone, place it in the center of your oven. Pull the dough from the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and punch it down. Divide dough into two equal-sized balls and let them rest and come up to room temperature for about 15 – 20 minutes.
For each pizza, lay out a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll one ball of dough to desired thickness (ours is about a 1/4 inch). Add your toppings as desired (keep in mind that the thinner you’ve rolled your dough the less toppings it can support so don’t overload a super-thin crust).
To more your pizza to the oven, slide a pizza peel or a cookie sheet with out any sides under the parchment paper, then slide the parchment paper onto your pizza stone or directly onto your oven rack. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden. Repeat with the second ball of dough. Enjoy.