My kids love pizza night. They are young enough that the whole process is fascinating to them and there is a lot of excitement for little cost. My husband and I are in search of the “perfect” pizza crust that is doesn’t require a huge amount of advance preparation. This one is close. It has about 10 minutes of hands on work, and then rises for an hour and a half to two hours. This helps the yeast flavor to develop. I had been experimenting with quick doughs, but was disappointed with their cardboard flavor. The kids didn’t mind, but Mr. Heather and I operate under the idea that if we’re going to be taking in calories, they had best be delicious calories.
The lack of sugar in this recipe slows the yeast growth, which is the reason for the longer than usual rise time. We enjoy the additional flavor. While not perfect, this recipe definitely makes our list for beginners. This recipe makes 3 small pizzas about 10 – 12 inches across, depending on your dough handling ability. We opt for a rustic effect, (at least that is how we explain our less than round pizzas). If you have children, involve them in the process. In our home pizza night is an informal production consumed in the kitchen as we wait for the next batch to bake. At home, how often is food also the entertainment?
I am aware this is filed under vegetarian with meat in the picture. The crust itself is vegetarian.
- 1 TBSP active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour + a little more for dusting
- 1 TBSP olive oil + extra to grease the bowl for rising
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning – OPTIONAL
- cornmeal for sprinkling
Add the yeast to the warm water and set aside. Sift the flour into a large bowl. (If you don’t have a sifter and even I don’t, simply use a whisk to fluff up the flour, its not that crucial.) Make a “volcano” with the flour, pile it into a mound and then make a large hollow in the center. Check your yeast, is it beginning to foam? Great, pour it into the center of your volcano. Now add the olive oil, salt, and Italian seasoning if you choose. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to work the flour into the water. Scoop the flour from the side of the bowl toward the center, turn the bowl, and repeat until a sticky dough has formed.
Flour your hands well, and flour your work surface, too. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead it for a couple minutes. This dough does not need to be worked as much as bread dough. Shape into a ball. Grease a large bowl, place the dough inside, and give it a few turns to cover it with oil. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and place in a warm (at least 75F but not more than 100F) place to rise. Allow to rise for 1.5 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Punch the dough down and divide into two or three equal portions. Press the dough into a disc and roll or toss into a circle.
If you use a pizza stone, allow the stone to heat for 10 minutes in a 450F oven. If you are using a metal baking sheet, preheating is unnecessary.
Sprinkle the stone or cookie sheet with cornmeal; set the pizza crust on the surface and top with your favorite pizza sauce and toppings. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes (watch it carefully, this depends on your toppings) and enjoy.