Anyone familiar with this site knows that homemade pizza is one of my favorite indulgences. I tend to think of it toward the end of the week—with the unrealistic plan of enjoying leftovers on the weekend. That so rarely happens.
The purpose of today’s post is is to eliminate my on-going irritation concerning the whereabouts of my current pizza dough recipe. More exact, I tend to misplace or lose track of my latest pizza-dough-du-jour because it regularly changes. It’s a mirror of my life: as my life evolves, so goes my pizza dough.
Lately, I’m making a dough that uses instant yeast. It is brilliant because it requires no advance proofing of yeast in warm water, thus eliminating 10 to 15 minutes lead time. Instant yeast is combined with dry ingredients and blended with hot water (120 to 130 degrees). The dough is briefly mixed, then given a quick knead to get the gluten going, and left to rest for only 10 minutes—opposed to the usual 30 to 60 minute rise.
Technically, slow yeast development is considered key to optimum rise, texture, and flavor. However, this dough has fine flavor; it is quick, malleable and can be patted out quite thin, all for which I give high marks. I like to keep the flour at least 50% all-purpose or bread flour, then fill in the remainder with whole wheat, semolina, a bit of flax meal, or other fun flours.
When I have my act together I prefer to pre-bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes, which moves past the ‘fussing with dough’ phase and wards off potential sogginess. Then it is ready when I am.
Either way, it’s a simple matter of gathering toppings and baking it all off in a hot oven for 15 or 20 minutes. In the throes of a busy week this dough wins hands down.
Here is my current Quick and Easy Pizza Dough, ready for topping.
Quick and Easy Pizza Dough
- 1½ – 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup warm water (120-130 degrees F)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup of the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Add the hot water and olive oil and stir to combine with spatula.
- Continue adding the flour until the dough just clears the sides of the bowl. In bowl or on a floured surface, knead for about three minutes, until the dough is soft and slightly sticky without leaving a lot of residue on your fingers.
- Let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes, lightly covered with a towel.
- While the dough rests, preheat the oven to 400-425 degrees F. Well oil a pizza pan or baking sheet. With floured hands pat the dough into the pizza pan. Add sauce and toppings of choice and bake in lower third of oven for 15-20 minutes, until center is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Yield: 1 large or 2 medium
To pre-bake the crust: Well-oil 1-2 pizza pans. With floured hands, pat the dough into a large pan, or divide the dough in half and pat with floured hands into two oiled medium pans. Bake at 400-425 degree oven until firmly set but not colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on rack or store lightly wrapped until needed. A well-sealed crust can be frozen up to a month.