When we moved up into the mountains it was clear I needed to develop a pizza dough recipe that was quick and easy to make and would also pass the high standards of my family.
When our schedule was busy or I was not around to cook my husband would order pizza delivery. Living in the mountains has made this impossible. No pizza delivery up here!
Pizza is one of those meals that my husband and two kids are always happy to have so I needed to find a way to make it easy so that they could make it when I was not around.
I have a pizza dough recipe I developed for my catering business but it was one where the dough rests over night and takes some skill in stretching it out. This is a delicious pizza crust but not one my family could make on their own.
For Cal-Wood I have developed a pizza dough recipe that is easy to make for lots of people. I usually serve 60-95 people per dinner so I needed an easy pizza dough for large-scale cooking. I developed a foccacia like dough that is spread out on a full size sheet pan that holds 40 servings of pizza. The guests and more importantly the kids who visit Cal-Wood love this thick crust with the tender crumb and lots of yummy toppings.
My family wanted something more chewy and crispy like the New York Style Pizza they would order out when we lived in civilization.
I have been working for the last year on different recipes but had yet to get one that was both tasty and easy to make. I believe that I have finally found the perfect, easy, flavorful and chewy pizza crust for my family.
One of the key techniques in this recipe is that the dough is mixed and kneaded in a food processor. This process takes about 5 minutes and is so easy anyone could do it.
This dough freezes great after the first rise and will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months. I will usually make about 12 dough balls, a vat of sauce and mix up some cheese with italian seasonings and freeze it all in single pizza portions. That way I can pull enough for each pizza and defrost for the next day.
Simple and Delicious Pizza Dough
This recipe makes enough for two 12 inch pizzas.
2 3/4 cups or 12 .75 ounces all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbs honey
1 cup warm water 110 degrees
1/8 cup good extra virgin olive oil and some extra for oiling a bowl
This recipe is easy because you mix and knead your dough in the food processor. I love this part because it takes about 5 minutes total to put this recipe together and knead. Really…I kid you not!
Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees and put in your pizza stone if you are using one.
If not, my friend Doug has this great technique where he starts his pizza on a parchment lined sheet pan and then takes it out half way through baking. You lift the pizza up off the sheet pan by the parchment and just put it directly on the oven rack, parchment and all to finish baking and your crust will become deliciously crispy on the bottom.
Add the flour and salt to the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times to mix.
Add yeast and honey with warm water in a bowl and let rest for five minutes. This allows to yeast to start working.
Add water mixture to your food processor and mix until dough forms a ball.
Pulse dough 15 times. This should be enough to knead the dough.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 4 or five times to bring it all together.
Oil a bowl and add dough. Turn the dough over to make sure it is coated in oil on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to 2 hours or until doubled in size. It only takes an hour up here in the mountains.
After the first rise you can wrap and freeze your dough for up to 3 months.
If you are going to bake your pizza you can start stretching your dough after it has doubled in size during rising.
Do not roll out your pizza dough with a rolling-pin. This will make for a tough and dense pizza dough instead of a light, airy and chewy crust.
On your work surface lightly dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour. Cut your dough into 2 pieces and cover the one you are setting aside.
Stretch your dough gently and then lay it on the parchment pushing it into a circle. Work with the dough gently and push from the edges out. This may take some practice and your pizza does not need to be a perfect circle. Mine is usually oblong in shape.
Top with what ever you have about and bake at 500 degrees until browned and cheese is melted and starting to brown on top.
For this recipe I have used sausage, fennel, sweet tomato and feta cheese and instead of a tomato sauce I brushed the dough with olive oil and garlic.