I don’t do dough. I don’t do bread. I don’t do yeast. Or so I thought …
Alton Brown first introduced me to the wonderful world of bread-making a few months ago, but it wasn’t until a recent culinary school lesson that I really felt I’d perfected the simple yet finicky process of making dough. Once frozen with intimidation, I can now finally say “Fear not, my fellow dough doubters!” Check the list of tips below then tie on an apron and let the flour-flinging begin with my recipe for The Ultimate Pizza Dough.
Tips + Tricks for Total Doughmination:
- When dissolving the yeast, use hot water – as in water that’s at a temperature your hand can stand. If your hand likes it, the yeast will like it.
- Adding a tablespoon of flour to the yeast while it’s dissolving will make for a better rise (better rise = better dough).
- “Knocking down” the dough refers to throwing it firmly against your work surface while holding on to one end. Fold the dough in half, then do it again. This helps to evenly distribute the yeast.
- For storing the dough in a “warm dry place,” try your dryer shortly after it’s been used.
The Ultimate Pizza Dough
Yield: About 3 (12-inch) pizzas
- 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/4 cups hot water
- 1 pound all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Extra flour for dusting work surface
- In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast, sugar and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour in the hot water. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Mound the flour on your work surface and sprinkle in the salt. Use a fork to incorporate the two ingredients then form a large well in the center of the flour.
- Pour the dissolved yeast mixture into the center of the well and then little by little, use a fork to pull flour from the well into the center. Continue until mixture begins to thicken.
- Using your hands, begin kneading the dough until it comes together. Continue kneading until all of the flour has been incorporated evenly into the dough. Shape it into a ball.
- Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover it with a greased piece of parchment paper. Let it rest for one hour in a warm, dry place until it doubles in size.
- Knock down the dough on your floured work surface then cut it into the desired amounts.
- Place the dough onto a greased cookie sheet and cover it again with a damp towel. Let the dough rise a second time for one more hour.
- Knock down the dough sections a second time then roll it into the desired shape, top it with your desired toppings and bake it in a 500ºF oven until golden brown.