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Making Amazingly Simple Pizza From Scratch Part One: The Dough

People who have never made pizza are often surprised at just how easy it is to make it from scratch. The following is adapted from what we did at the pizza parlor I managed.

I should mention that the reason for the adaptation is that ours was a very popular parlor and we made everything in bulk. On an average day, we would go through 60 giant, 75 large, and 150 small pizzas. The original recipes created enough dough, sauce, and toppings to make these many pizzas every day. Unless you are planning on opening a pizza parlor, chances are good that you wouldn’t be making that many pizzas, hence the adaptations.

The recipe is divided into three parts; pizza dough, pizza sauce, and pizza. The last part is where the pizza is put together and cooked. It is also specifically for what became known as “Rex’s Pizza” or “Kitchen Sink Pizza”. That is a pizza that is loaded with toppings, with lots of cheese. I’m dividing the recipe for clarity. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it is difficult because it honestly isn’t. It also isn’t time-consuming. It takes less than an hour to make these pizzas.

This is part one, the dough, enough for two large pizzas.  One of the biggest problems with store-bought pizza is that the dough isn’t fresh. It could have been made weeks or months earlier, by the time you actually buy it and get it home. This leads to a crust that tastes somewhat like cardboard. At the very least, it is flavorless. If you want excellent pizza, freshness counts.

Dough ingredients:

5 cups flour (I prefer whole wheat)

2 cups water at about 110 F or 45 C

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 packets of active dry bread yeast

2 heaping tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Dough instructions:

1. In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in the water, then add the yeast. Let the yeast mixture sit for 10 minutes.

2. Add the flour, olive oil, and salt, mixing it thoroughly. This should have a stiff-dough consistency, rather like bread dough. Don’t be afraid to use your hands.

3. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes.

4. Roll the dough out on a floured counter or table until the thickness is about a quarter inch.

5. The dough can then be cut to fit two round pizza pans. If you wish, the dough can be used to line a cake pan, instead. At home, I often use a cake pan because it holds the toppings better.

As a tip, put coarse cornmeal down in the pans before transferring the dough to the pans. This makes it easier to remove the pizza once it is cooked.

The next step is the sauce, in part two. Note that the sauce can be made while the dough is sitting idle, prior to rolling, cutting the time needed to make the pizzas.

Incidentally, if you prefer thick-crust pizza, simply roll the dough thicker.

The total prep time for the dough is about 20 minutes.

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Written by Rex Trulove

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