Have you tried making Finnish Pulla yet? Are you still petrified of yeast? Well, let’s take a step back in bread baking. Let’s make some classic pizza dough.
This recipe is adapted only slightly from the one we used at baking school. It’s from one of our textbooks, so when using this recipe, imagine that you’re wearing an ill-fitted chef’s jacket, black checkered pants, long apron, and a hat that makes you look ridiculous. Everything you’re wearing is too big. This is because during your uniform fitting, you were told you’d put on weight at baking school – an average of 10 pounds – and they insisted that you leave ample growing room. So, when you lose 15 pounds in the first month (due to freaking out), the costume is 25 pounds too big for the remainder of the year.
Here’s the thing with culinary school textbooks: they give no procedure – nothing very helpful anyway. Because it is assumed that culinary students are freakin’ geniuses and have been paying attention in theory class. Seems risky, if you ask me, but I guess that’s why I don’t write textbooks. So, I’ve added notes for you. Some tips to help you along the way. Also, Italian seasoning. Because it’s awesome. Know that this recipe is very easy to make, and if you’ve been fearing the Yeast Beast, this is a great way to get your feet wet.
This is a classic pizza dough – not a thin crust. It will get poofy and soft as it bakes, and if you allow the bottom and edges to brown properly, you’ll get a little crunch with your bite. I think you’ll enjoy the crust as much as your chosen toppings. A crust should shine, am I right?
You can make two smallish pizzas (10 inches each) with this recipe, or one large pizza. Heck, you could make a bunch of mini pizzas if you like. If you have a pizza stone, bake your pizza pie on that. Or use whatever baking sheets you have. If your baking sheets are dark (rather than shiny silver), the bottom of the crust will brown a little better, so if you’ve got a choice, I’d go with the darker.
This recipe, for the most part, is given in weights. So yes, you’ll need that kitchen scale now, and a liquid measuring cup. When scaling your ingredients, don’t switch back and forth between metric and imperial, okay? It won’t work. I think metric is easier, so I listed those measurements first. Either way, pick one, and scale all of your ingredients accordingly. That’s, like, lesson one at baking school. That, and: don’t get sucked into that big piece of machinery.
During the first round of testing, when I asked 2.0 to describe this crust for you, he mumbled the word beautiful, and then refused to speak as he scarfed down another slice. Need I say more?
. . .
Classic Pizza Dough
recipe: adapted from On Baking, A Textbook of Baking & Pastry Fundamentals
Yields roughly 2 smallish (10-inch) pizzas, or one large pizza.
- 420 grams (14 oz.) bread flour
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 12 grams (0.4 oz.) active dry yeast
- 60 ml. (2 fl. oz.) water, hot (32°C/90°F)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 30 ml (1 fl. oz.) olive oil
- 20 grams (0.75 oz.) honey
- 180 ml. (6 fl. oz.) water, cool
Mise en place – start by getting organized. Read through the entire recipe before beginning. Measure out all of your ingredients. When scaling your ingredients, do all in metric (grams, ml.) or all imperial (oz) – don’t switch back and forth. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can make this recipe entirely by hand. Pizzas can be baked on pizza stones or regular baking sheets. Dark baking sheets will brown the bottom of the pizza more quickly and effectively than silver sheets, so if you have a choice, I’d opt for the darker.
Line two pizza pans with parchment paper – one if making a large pizza.
Whisk together the bread flour and Italian seasoning. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the bread hook, sprinkle the dry active yeast over the 60 ml. water and whisk to dissolve. The temperature of water should be 90°F/32°C – be sure to take the temperature once the water is in your bowl in case it lowers the temp of the water.
Add the flour mixture – no need to mix. Then add the salt, olive oil and honey and cool water. Mix on low speed until somewhat smooth and elastic, and the dough cleans the sides of the bowl – 2-3 minutes. It will be raggedy at first, but will come together form a sticky dough.
Remove the dough from the mixer and knead by hand for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface until smooth and silky. The dough will feel soft and elastic, and no longer be sticky.
Shape into a roundish ball, and place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and then turn/flip the dough to ensure the top of the dough ball is also lightly greased. Cover tightly with saran wrap and a clean dish towel. Allow the dough to proof in a warm spot until approximately doubled in size – about 30 minutes or more.
Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
Punch down the dough and divide into two equal portions (if making two pizzas). Roll out the portions of dough on a lightly floured surface, shaping each into a 10 inch circle (about 1/4 inch thick), and place on the parchment lined baking sheets. Reshape with fingers if necessary, spreading and pressing the dough to desired shape and even thickness.
Top as desired, leaving about 1/2 to 3/4 inch space at the edges so the toppings don’t overflow during baking.
Bake for about 9-13 minutes, until the top of the crust is golden brown and poofed up. Use a spatula to gently lift a portion of the pizza from the pan – the bottom should be lightly browned.
If your oven is small, and you’re making two pizzas, your pizzas might not fit on the same rack. In order to ensure both the top and bottom of the pizza get browned, you can:
- bake one at a time (i.e. prep one of the pizzas and while it’s baking, prep the second pizza), or
- bake at the same time, rotating pizzas from rack to rack at least once so each pizza is exposed to both the top and bottom elements of the oven