Friday, September 16, 2011

Pizza Crust revisited

A couple of weekends ago, one of the cooking channels had some kind of pizza appreciation type weekend, and I witnessed many different kinds of pizzas and ways of making them.

One thing I wanted to try, was making a pizza on a splatter screen <--like that one, but you can find a good one cheaper and just about anywhere. I liked the idea of an easier way to ensure the middle of the pizza dough being cooked--a problem I sometimes have.

So I set out to use this new idea, plus I had the time today to devote to giving the dough more hand kneading time, instead of my usual quick mixer way.  Fantastic!

The first pizza, I pre-baked the crust, added toppings, then baked until hot & melted.
 My screen had a hard, plastic handle, so I wrapped it well in foil. 
The pizza came out great! Thin, crisp, flaky crust!
 Here you can see the crispy layers!

This second one, I topped the raw dough and then baked it on the screen. It came out soft and wonderful and fully cooked without guesswork! The crust didn't seem to get as golden as the first, even though I treated both crusts the same before baking. (Brush with extra virgin olive oil, butter, parm)

Both were great!
I'm sharing this different technique for the dough because I love it so much. My old one is great when you don't have a lot of time, but if you have 1-2 hours for the dough to rise, try it!
The recipe is the same, just a bit less sugar. I learned sugar makes for a crisper crust! But mine had comparably more sugar than other recipes out there.  I don't see a difference in taste, but I do see a difference in the dough.
On to the revisited recipe!

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup hot water (about 110)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Run hot tap water in a small bowl until the bowl is warm, put 1 cup of hot water into the bowl (about 110 degrees) and whisk with oil and sugar.  Set aside while you whisk together 2 cups of the flour and the salt in a large bowl.
With a hard rubber spatula, gradually stir yeast mixture into the flour. Mix until just barely combined and still wet. Turn out onto 1/2 cup of flour sprinkled on your work surface. Fold over and gently knead in the flour as you go, adding a bit more as needed. Try not to use too much extra flour.  I used almost 3 cups.
Knead about 10 minutes until smooth-elastic-silky and bounces back slightly.

Lightly grease large bowl with a little oil and place dough in it and cover until doubled. About 1-2 hours.

When doubled, putting your hand in a fist and using your knuckles, gently roll your fist, using your knuckles to flatten down (ie: punch down without punching, if that makes sense lol) all around the dough.

Divide the dough in half and shape into two balls.
Cover and set aside for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Taking one of the balls, flatten with your palms.
Using a rolling pin, and starting from the center, roll out, making a circle large enough to fit your screen. Only roll once in each direction, then use your hands to lift the dough onto the screen and stretch gently to fit.
Try not to press the dough into the screen. Be nice to your dough :)

If you like a crispy crust, brush the outter edges of the crust with butter and the inside with olive oil. Sprinkle parmesan cheese around the outter edge of the crust. Pop into preheated oven until golden brown. Let cool a little, then top and bake until hot and cheese is melted.

For a soft crust, brush the raw dough like for the crispy crust and sprinkle with parmesan, top with your favorite toppings and bake until hot and melted!

For another treat, just brush the raw dough generously with butter, sprinkle well with the parmesan cheese in the plastic tubes (I know! bear with me lol), and when it's to your desired doneness, remove from oven and slice in about 2 inch strips and viola! You have Little Ceasar's Breadsticks--only better ;)

Don't forget my Awesome Pizza Sauce !

No comments:

Post a Comment