Pizza Dough | Basics

I have been making home-made from scratch pizza for last 2 years. I haven’t even bought ready-to-use pizza base in the longest time. Though I do agree that it has it’s uses when one wants to make it in a ziffy without pre-planning.

Pizza Dough

A quick and make-ahead dough for those weeknight meals

And this is where the basic pizza dough comes in. The recipe is by celebrated chef and author, Peter Reinhart and it is quick to come together and frozen for future use. It can be safely frozen for up to 3 months. And when the mood strikes, all you have to do in remove it from freezer into the refrigerator and then roll it about 60-90 minutes ahead of baking time.

Ideally you need to to remove the pizza dough from freezer to refrigerator a day before but I have occasionally done it for few hours too. The recipe uses all purpose flour and makes the tastiest pizza ever. It usually gives me 3 medium size thin crust pizzas but depending on the thickness you can make into less or more.

Pizza Dough

It is quick to come together and frozen for future use

This gets even better and you can par-bake your pizza crust and freeze them topped or plain for quick dinners or a pizza party. I did it successfully for pre-Diwali party last week. Find out how to par-bake the base here. I used my whole wheat pizza recipe for the base and it gave beautiful result for both par-baking and final baking.

3 medium thin crust pizza Conversion Chart Print

Pizza Dough | Basics

Ingredients

cups of all purpose flour, chilled
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of instant yeast
cup of olive oil
¾ cup of ice cold water (start with 1 tabelspoon less water in ¾ cup)

Preparation

1.In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt and yeast.
2.Add in oil and cold water. Using a metal spoon or your hand or a dough hook, bring together the dough till it forms a smooth and sticky dough. It should take about 5-7 minutes. The dough should clear the sides and stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky and doesn't come off the sides of the bowl, then add in some flour to help release the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough should be springy, elastic and sticky but not tacky.
3.Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to it. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with baking parchment paper and greasing it.
4.Using a metal scraper or sharp knife, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. You can divide into 2 also if you are comfortable shaping bigger pizza. Dip the scraper or knife in cold water between cuts if the dough is sticking to it.
5.Sprinkle flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a round ball. If the dough sticks to your hand, dip your hands in flour again. Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pan, mist them generously with oil and slip the sheet pan into a zip-lock bag. Put the pan into the refrigerator overnight to the rest the dough. You can keep it in refrigerator for upto 3 days.
6.At this point you can store these dough balls for future baking. After rounding each ball in above step, just coat them liberally with oil and transfer each ball in a separate freezer bag. Store in freezer for upto 3 months. Transfer the desired number of balls to the refrigerator the day before you plan to make pizza.

Notes

Pizza dough adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Using olive oil in the dough is optional, but it is recommended as it gives a moist and supple dough.

You can mix the dough using a paddle attachment on low speed. If you are mixing by hand, try copying a vigorous motion of a dough hook, while rotating bowl in circular motion with the other hand. Reverse the circular motion few times to develop gluten further. If you are using electric mixer, then change to dough hooks and do it for 5-7 minutes on medium speed or till the dough comes together as smooth and sticky.

Repeatedly dip the metal spoon, hand or dough hook in cold water during the dough process.

You can use the traditional method of rolling the dough for pizza using your knuckles as described by Heidi. I have not attempted it.

Pizza Dough

You can par-bake your pizza crust and freeze them topped or plain for quick dinners or a pizza party