Monday, May 3, 2010

Homemade Pizza Crust

Last week my youngest daughter turned 19 and on Sunday we celebrated. The tradition in our home, as it was in my parents' house when I was growing up, is that if it's your birthday you get to pick the dinner and the kind of cake that is made. My daughter chose homemade pizza, and since I would be feeding 10 adults for her birthday celebration, I figured I better get a headstart on the pizza crusts, so on Thursday I made two batches of pizza dough in my bread machine, shaped and baked them for about 8 minutes and froze them until party day.

This is how the pizza crusts looked before I put them in the oven. These are the whole wheat crusts, although I made two regular crusts, too.
This is what they looked like after I took them out of the oven after 8 minutes.
These are the recipes I used for making my crusts.

Pizza Dough
12 oz. lukewarm water
3 tablespoons oil
4 cups unbleached or bread flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons active dry yeast


Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
12 oz. lukewarm water
2 tablespoons oil
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons active dry yeast

Following the directions of my bread machine, I added the ingredients to the bread machine pan in the order given. I put it on the dough cycle, which takes 1 hour and 20 minutes. When the cycle was finished I took the dough from the bread pan and divided the dough into 2 parts with a sharp knife. I let it rest a few minutes and then shaped each piece of dough into the shape of the pan (in this case I used rectangular baking sheets, greased with oil and sprinkled with a little cornmeal). I then let the dough rise in a warm draft-free place for 20 to 25 minutes. I preheat the oven to 425 and baked the pizza crusts for 8 minutes, let them cook, covered with foil, and froze them until the day of the party. I let them come to room temperature, put the desired toppings on, and baked at 425 until the crust is crisp and golden brown.
I also have a quicker way to make pizza dough with my food processor that I got from my The Complete Tightwad Gazette book by Amy Dacyczyn. It makes a great spur-of-the-moment pizza crust that can be done in no time flat. It's called Thick and Chewy Pizza Dough and it's in the Tightwad Gazette II, although I didn't think it was so thick or chewy, I guess it's all in the way you roll it out. I usually use a large sheet pan or pizza pan.
Quick Pizza Crust
1/2 to 3/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
1 package (1 tablespoon) dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine 1/4 cup of the water with the yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand until bubbly, about five minutes. Put the flour, oil, and salt into a food processor, and process about five seconds with a steel blade.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture, and process about 10 seconds, or until blended.
Turn on the processor and drizzle just enough of the remaining water through the feed tube so the dough forms a ball that cleans the sides of the bowl. Process so that the ball turns around about 25 times.
Put the dough ball onto a 14-inch greased pizza pan or large cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap or a bowl (or towel) and let stand 10 minutes.
Pat the dough out so that it covers the pan, leaving a ridge on the edges. At this point I put the crust in the oven for about 5-8 minutes to give it a headstart; otherwise my toppings are done way before my crust-this is just my experience with pizza).
Spread with pizza sauce, and add cheese and toppings. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.

Although my family still loves to go out to the pizzeria on occasion, frozen pizzas are really not an option anymore. They just don't seem to measure up to what we can do at home and for a lot less money.
I'm participating in Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.


Rhonda said...

we all like homemade pizza - I usually baked 4 of them every Friday night when our children were younger - with no leftovers.
I know what you mean about frozen pizza not measuring up, and they are so salty that I really can't eat them even if I want to.

Hope your DD had a very happy bday - and that 19th is a wonderful year for her

DarcyLee said...

Thank you Rhonda. We had a good time and I loved that there was less clean-up with less dishes than we usually have with a regular dinner.