Sunday, January 17, 2010

Basic Pizza Dough (adapted from James McNair's version)

1 T sugar
1 cup warm water
1 package yeast
approx 3 cups flour (I prefer high gluten bread flour)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Dissolve sugar, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl.  Let sit until the yeast starts to foam (this indicates that it's alive and working).  Add olive oil.  Slowly mix flour into wet mixture.  When most of the flour has been incorporated, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for several minutes, until the mixture is glossy and elastic (as a friend of mine says, think breasts).  If you have an electric mixer, just mix everything together with the dough hook attachment.  (I'm all about saving time and no one will know the difference).  Grease a large bowl with olive oil and let rise in a warm space until doubled in bulk.  Punch down, knead again, and do with it what you will.  The best flavor develops overnight in the refrigerator.  Just remove the dough and set it on the counter to let it reach room temperature a couple hours before baking.

To bake, preheat oven and pizza stone to 500 degrees (475 convection).  Place dough on stone using a pizza peel (I find that aluminum foil coupled with the peel works well) and cook until edges begin to brown, 6 to 8 minutes, depending on how heavy your toppings are.

from PIZZA by James McNair

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