Is today a special day for you? It should be because I am going to share a very special recipe: pizza dough, plus a timeless topping of tomato sauce and mozzarella, that is “pizza margherita”.
Pizza dough is not hard to make, the tricks are: perfectly measured ingredients, 15 minutes of good kneading (10 if you can convince your husband to do it for you or if you use an electric mixer) and a warm place for leavening.
This pizza dough is for a thin pizza, good for all sorts of toppings as well as to make calzone. More pizza recipes will come, all based on this basic pizza dough.
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 6 1/2 tbs lukewarm water (100 ml) to dissolve the yeast
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (400 gr)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 10 tbs lukewarm water (150 ml)
- For the margherita topping
- tomato sauce
- mozzarella, cubed
In a small container mix the yeast with 6 1/2 tbs of lukewarm water (100 ml), cover with plastic wrap and let rest for about 10 minutes in a warm place until the yeast is completely dissolved and a thick layer of foam formed on top (picture 1).
In a large bowl sift the flour and make a well, pour the sugar in the center. Pour the salt in a small well toward the side. Pour the olive oil, the dissolved yeast and the rest of the water in the center (picture 2).
Mix with a fork starting from the center amalgamating the flour to the wet ingredients. Keep mixing with a fork until all the ingredients are moist (picture 3).
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and kneed for 15 minutes. Press with the heel of your hand rolling the dough away from you, after each press-roll round turn the dough of 1/4. Put the weight of your body into pressing and pushing away (see pictures above).
Suggestion: if you are not lucky enough to own a fantastic electric mixer, hire your hubby ;) He will do a much better job in almost half the time. Why? Just because he is stronger. No way that your husband is going to help you out cooking? Let me suggest you how to convince him. Make pizza for him a few times, enough to get him addicted, then tell him, you would really really like to make it, but kneading is so hard for you, he is strong (and handsome) it would be so much easier for him. Once you succeeded a first time: praise him. Tell him how good of a job he did, how much better the pizza was (and it will be, no lying to the hubby). I am not saying he will look forward to kneading pizza dough for you, but he will do it :P
Once you kneaded your dough for 10-15 minutes. Coat the bowl where you mixed the ingredients with spray oil, position the dough in the center and coat it with oil too (picture 4). Cover with plastic wrap and let leaven for 45 minutes in a warm place.
If you house is not warm enough, turn on the oven at the minimum temperature and turn off after about 5 minutes. Turn on the oven light, to maintain a cozy temperature, and toss your dough in. The oven is warm and with no air circulation, perfect for leavening.
After 45 minutes (picture 5), the dough will be at least double its original size, take it out of the oven and turn it on at 425ºF (225ºC).
Take the dough out of the bowl, divide it in two, set one half aside and start working on the other half. Stretch it out with your hands, first pressing it on a floured surface and then holding it with your hands and turning it, the weight of the dough (and gravitational force) will stretch it (picture 6).
Pour 1 tbs of olive oil in a flat oven pan and coat it spreading the oil around with your hands. Lay the pizza dough on the pan. Repeat for the second half of the dough.
For a crispy pizza bake for 10 minutes then add your favorite topping and bake for 10 additional minutes. Or top the dough and bake for 20 minutes, until the dough is lightly brown and the mozzarella is well melted.
Top the pizzas with tomato sauce and mozzarella cubes, sprinkle some oregano and bake for 20 minutes at 400F (250C), additional basil is also good on pizza margherita. For a crispier pizza: bake the dough for 10 minutes, add the toppings and then bake for 10 additional minutes.
Cut and serve.