Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pizza Dough

5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (You can also use whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 envelopes (1/4 ounce each) rapid-rise yeast
4 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing

- Make the dough: In a food processor (or a kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook), pulse together flour, cornmeal, yeast, and salt. With processor running, add oil and then 2 cups cold water in a steady steam; process until dough just forms a ball.
- Turn out dough onto a floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 3 to 4 minutes. Place in a resealable plastic bag; let rise until doubled in bulk, 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator (let come to room temperature before proceeding, about 40 minutes).
- Divide dough into four equal portions; roll into balls, and cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap until puffed, about 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 500°. Place each dough ball on a baking sheet; using your hands, gently flatten, and pull into 8-by-10-inch ovals. Top as desired.
- Bake until crust is golden brown and toppings are hot, rotating sheets halfway through, 10 to 12 minutes.

- You can freeze individual balls and defrost them the day you plan to eat them (take them out in the morning for best results), or defrost them in hot water.
- We are enthusiastic users of pizza stones. If you use one, it's very helpful to allow it to stay in the oven while it preheats. Stretch your dough out as much as you can and then put it on the stone. It makes a better crust.
- Some toppings we've used are: spinach, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, ground beef, fresh garlic, tomato sauce, Parmesan, etc. Be creative!

Submitted by Jen

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