14 March 2009
I've been thinking about posting this recipe for awhile, but have had a fire lit under me by a friend who lives in Tucson. Thanks, Amy! I don't remember exactly where I got this recipe (somewhere back in the deep, dark days just after the birth of the internet), but it says it's a knock-off of Pizza Hut's crust recipe. I happen to think it's much, much better. I've tweaked it a bit and we divide the dough into 12ths for individual pizzas. [Edit: I miscounted - I split the dough into 16ths. Those of us with smaller appetites have one, and we have extra for those of us (teen-aged boys) who have huge appetites.) We also like them thin and crispy, so I roll them out thin with my marble rolling pin. Since we like it thin, I've cut the yeast in half and we're planning to cut it again (possibly even eliminate it) to see if it makes any difference in the final product. I'll post the recipe as written with my tweaks in italics.
2 packages dry yeast (I used 2 T instant yeast, but have recently cut back to 1 T and will try 1/2 T tonight)
2/3 C warm water
2 T and 2 tsp sugar, divided
2 C cold water
3 T corn oil (I use olive oil)
1/4 tsp garlic salt (I use fresh chopped garlic.)
1 tsp salt (I like sea salt.)
1/2 tsp oregano (We're big basil fans, so we skip the oregano and use fresh basil if we have enough, or dried basil if we don't.)
6 1/2-7 C all-purpose flour (I don't measure in the Bosch and tonight I'll be using fresh flour, finely-ground from Prairie Gold wheat)
In a large bowl, add 2 tsp sugar to the warm water, then stir yeast into the sugar solution. Let stand until bubbly (about 5 minutes). Add the rest of the liquid ingredients. Add the garlic, salt, and herbs to the liquids. Slowly add in the flour, mixing well with a wooden spoon after each addition, until you can no longer stir the dough.
Empty dough into a floured counter and begin to knead, adding more flour as necessary. Knead until the dough is elastic. Place the dough into a greased or oiled bowl, flip it over so the oil coats the top and cover with a tea towel; let it rise until about doubled in size. The bowl (if it's heat-proof) can be placed in a warm oven: heat the oven to 150˚, turn it off, then place the dough in the oven.
When dough has doubled in size, oil your fist and punch it down (from here on out, you don't want to add more flour to the dough, so use oil, but a little goes a long way). Split the dough in two and roll out on oiled counter into two 15" round crusts. Let rise for 20 minutes. Bake at 450˚ for 20-25 minutes on oiled pizza pans or stones that have been sprinkled with cornmeal to prevent sticking.
Top your pizza and bake until cheese is melted and toppings look just the way you like them.
The way I do it: place all ingredients except the flour into the bowl of the Bosch with the dough hook. Mix together and begin adding flour, until it cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead until the dough is elastic and stretches without breaking (about 10 minutes).
Divide dough into 12 pieces (some of mine are larger and some are smaller, but my kids are also larger and smaller, so it works). Roll out each piece very thin; poke holes with a fork to allow steam to escape. If the dough doesn't want to roll, let it rest for 10-20 minutes, then roll it out. Grill or bake on pizza stones at 500˚ for about 5 minutes each. Allow each person to 'decorate' his pizza and place back in the oven (at 400˚) or onto the grill until cheese is melted. Using a pizza peel, we put the pizzas directly on the oven racks for this second baking or directly on the grill.
Slice and enjoy.
This is a great dish to make when having people over. Our favorite times of hospitality have been when we've invited new friends over and we put them to work in the kitchen. It's so fun to cook together. Working together seems to break down barriers to relationship better than almost anything we know.