Friday nights at Connecticut Country House, it’s all about pizza – homemade pizza that is. First and foremost, I love the freshness and lightness of homemade dough. Not to mention the same goes for all the infinite combinations of toppings.
Fair warning: once you make your our own pizza dough, there’s just no going back!
A Simple Pizza Dough
1 envelope rapid rise yeast (1/4 ounce)
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
Place yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups of warm water and stir until yeast is dissolved. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes until it turns creamy. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir well. Add 2 1/4 cups of flour, incorporate well, and scrape down sides of bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or towel, and set aside in a warm spot to rise until bubbly and about double its size – about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
When ready, take a spatula and deflate the sticky dough. Add 2 1/4 cups of flour and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt to the sticky dough, and incorporate well. You can use a mixer with a dough hook for this. But I use a sturdy spatula at first and then I do it by hand – this works beautifully as well. Be sure to clean the sides of the bowl, and incorporate as best as you can into the dough. This process will take about 5 minutes.
Lightly oil a second large mixing bowl, and turn the dough ball into it. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or towel, place in warm spot, and let it rest and rise for another 1 1/2 hours. When ready, roll out onto a well floured surface. Makes 1 large pizza or 2 smaller ones.
In the fall and winter when we have a fire going in the big cooking fireplace, I sometimes place the dough bowl close enough to the hearth where it will be nice and warm, but far enough away so it doesn’t cook my dough. The consistent warmth tends to really speed up the rising time.