Monday, April 26, 2010

In Search of Perfect Pizza Crust, Part 1

My first attempt at homemade pizza crust, circa summer 2007.

I'm really digging the shot of my former kitchen, pre-IKEA makeover. I am spoiled rotten now with my walls of storage and my stove with four working gas burners. This lovely cooktop above had one reliable burner, but when you turned it on the back burner warmed too. Didn't seem to matter much at the time. I still cooked like mad back then.

Another pizza made with the same crust. These fed a crowd, thus the half-n-half designs with cheese, shrimp, tomato slices, olives, basil, artichokes. We had some fun.

This was a great crust for thin and crispy pizza. And ever since, I've been on the hunt for a delicious whole-grain crust.

My pizza crust posts are coming in installments so you can follow my journey.

Food-Processor Pizza Dough
From a take-home Williams-Sonoma recipe card, 2007
Make two 12-inch pizzas.

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (105F to 115F)
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade, combine the flour and salt and process with 3 or 4 pulses. With the motor running on the dough speed, slowly add the yeast mixture, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Continue processing until the dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute, then process for 1 minute more.

Coat the inside of a large bowl with the olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat an oven to 450F. If using a baking stone, place it in the oven now. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch the dough down and divide in half. Using a rolling pin, roll out 1 piece of dough. It should be slightly thinner in the middle than at the edges. Pinch the edges to form a slight rim. Transfer the dough to a pizza peel or baking sheet, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 20 minutes.

Top the dough with the sauce and toppings of your choice. Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400F and bake until the crust is golden, about 10 minutes more. Repeat to make the remaining pizza.

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