The weekend is usually a great time for a pizza party, this week in our house a Tuesday was also a great time for such an event. Our friends were coming over and we wanted to have a dinner that was fun to put together, easy to prepare in advance and a favorite for everyone. Pizza was the winner.
I have made pizza with my mother-in-law, but mainly the sauce and into the oven stage, never the dough stage. She is currently in Italy, had she been in town I would have used her recipe, but I made to with what was called the “Best Pizza Dough Ever” Recipe by Peter Reinhardt.
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cups water, ice cold
Semolina flour OR cornmeal for dusting
The ingredients are simple, and what is easy more simple is how to do it.
Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, yeast) in one bowl and then add the olive oil and water, and get to mixing with a large chilled metal spoon.
I could have used my stand mixer for this recipe, and so can you, but I figured for the first time I wanted to know what it felt like. After about 5-7 minutes of turning the bowl and working the dough it should be “tacky” not “sticky” and able to peeled from the sides of the bowl, but not so much the bottom. If it’s too dry, add a teaspoon of water, if it’s too sticky add a little more flour – but this is something you can just judge by your eye.
Pour some flour out onto the counter top and just gently work the dough is a soft, smooth ball, and then divide into six just about even chunks.
Mist the dough balls with olive oil, or like me put oil on your hands and then drizzle onto the dough. The original recipe calls for putting the dough on parchment paper, which I don’t have, misting the parchment paper, and then wrapping it with a food safe bag. I put some semolina flour on the pan and covered it with a tea towel – I think our results were the same.
Two days later…
Time to get cooking on a Tuesday night! The dough has grown and now the question is how to top it.
I have a pizza stone in the oven preheating to 450 degrees for 45 minutes.
Our toppings included:
Grilled chicken sausage
Oven dried tomatoes
Homemade Tomato Sauce
I rolled out the dough to about 1/4 of an inch in an uneven pattern – no need to strive for perfection here.
And then I kept the toppings simple, the thin dough doesn’t really want to be weighted down with a lot of heavy toppings. And then, we ate – and it was delicious!