Thursday, July 8, 2010

~ Pizza Dough Recipes ~

How To Make Pizza Dough ...

Strong white flour is best (in some countries this flour is marked as bread flour). Although plain flour can be used as well, it does not have the same high gluten content and therefore the finished pizza dough will not be as stretchy. Watching a pizza chef doing acrobatics with the dough is proof enough how elastic the dough should be, they throw it in the air and catch it with their fingers without it leaving a dent in the dough. This shows that the gluten has done its work and the pizza dough is robust and flexible.

Whilst it is technically possible to get the pizza dough to rise faster by placing the dough in a warm place, experts tend to agree that the finished pizza dough is best left to rise naturally, whatever the pizza dough recipe. After kneading the dough should be left to double in size naturally. This should be a process that is completed by the eye and not the clock. It can take anything between 1 hour and 2 hours depending on the temperature and the amount of draught.

Pay attention to the kneading process: it eliminates excess gas produced by the yeast and quite literally knocks the air out of the pizza dough. Many people find the action of kneading the dough very therapeutic and chefs are often asked how you can tell when the dough is kneaded sufficiently. The answer is: you can feel it in your hands (practice makes perfect).

Pizza dough keeps in the refrigerator for several days and frozen pizza dough can be kept for several months. I always have frozen pizza dough in the freezer for emergencies, and I find that if it is frozen in pieces the size of golf balls then it is defrosted in ten minutes.

When you come to baking your pizza dough, the chances are that you are using a conventional oven rather than one fired from the volcanic rocks of Vesuvius. The baking time is always intense and short and the temperature should be 220°C or 425°F. The pizza dough should always be placed on the upper shelves, and whilst you can cook more than one pizza base at once, they should never be placed at less than the middle. This is because heat rises and you cannot get the best heat at the bottom of an oven.

How to Ascertain the Pizza Is Cooked ....

If your oven has a glass door this is an easy process. If the pizza has a rim then the dough develops blisters and it is golden brown, without a rim the golden brown color of the edge indicates that the pizza is ready to be eaten.

If the oven has not got a glass door it's more difficult to check if your pizza is ready. Do remember that every time you open the oven door, heat is lost and the pizza becomes less than perfect each time the door is opened.

The process, depending on the oven, takes between ten to fifteen minutes and it will take longer if you have more than one pizza in. A thicker crust will also take longer than a thinner crust.

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Easy Pizza Dough Recipe :

Ingredients Required ...

* 1 cup of warm water (105F)
* 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons of olive oil
* 2 teaspoons of honey
* 1 teaspoon of salt
* 1 teaspoon of yeast

Step by Step Procedure ...

1. Put warm water (80 to 110°F) into a bowl. Add salt and honey and mix with a spoon. Add yeast, mix and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

2. Gradually add flour and olive oil and start mixing.

3. When the mixture gets too heavy to mix, start kneading the dough with your hands.

4. Knead the dough until you have a smooth ball. If the dough cracks it is too dry. Add water bit by bit until if forms a nice coherent ball. If your doug feels more like batter, it is too wet and you need to add flour bit by bit. If you need to add water or flour, do it by small amounts.

5. Coat the dough with olive oil, place it in a large bowl and cover it with kitchen wrap or a grocery bag. Let the doug rise for about an hour at room temperature, then push it down again so it deflates. Let it sit for about another hour. If you want to use it the next day, put it in a refrigerator.

6. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface, put a bit of flour on top and make it into the shape of a pie by stretching it out from the center outwards. Use a rolling pin until the dough is about 1/4" thick. Punch some holes in the dough with a fork to let the air escape while the pizza is in the oven.

7. Put on your pizza sauce of choice.Put on your favorite pizza toppings.

8. Bake the pizza in your oven at 400 - 450° F for about 20 to 25 minutes until the crust is light brown.

Additional Information

* You get better results when you use a pizza baking stone. The pizza stone should be preheated to 450F for an hour prior to baking, and should be placed in the middle of the oven.

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