Thursday, March 31, 2011
2 TBS Self Acting Yeast (Fast Rising)
2 TBS Granulated Sugar
2 cups Warm Water (temperature you would you for a nice bath)
1 tsp Salt
2 TBS Olive Oil
4 cups flour
yield: 2 pizza crusts
1. Combine warm water, sugar and yeast in a bowl. Set aside 5-10 minutes to allow yeast to activate. Result will be frothly & bubbly mixture.
3. Add 1 cup flour and mix in until mixture is smooth.
Sommer's Secret: The beginning of your dough will effect the end result of your dough. Your dough's texture will dictate what your bread will be. If it is hard and dense your bread will be dry and tough.
4. Slowly add in additional flour until the dough begins to pull away from sides of the bowl.
Sommer's Secret: Dough should be somewhat sticky and elastic. Amount of flour needed will depend on weather and climate. Don't add so much that the dough is not sticky at all. The dough has the consistency of it just coming together and it is really moist- you'll have to fight the temptation to add extra flour. Use more oil on your hands to keep the dough from sticking too much.
5. Coat the bottom and sides of a bowl with a few teaspoons of olive oil and place the dough into the pre-oiled bowl. Turn once to fully coat the dough with oil.
6. Cover with plastic wrap and foil. (I don't think the foil does anything but it's always how I've done it!) Set aside and allow the dough to rise until double.
Sommer's Secret: Use a bowl with a lid that will pop up after the dough reaches the top- it takes the guess work out of determining when it's "doubled" in size. A friend recommended using a gallon size ice cream bucket for this an the "popping noise" reminds you it's done!
7. Coat the bottom of your pan with olive oil. You can also sprinkle corn meal on the bottom to keep it from sticking.
Sommer's Secret: Be sure to get fine ground corn meal. I got this one steal cut one that was too crunchy and didn't taste too great....
8. Pat out the dough onto the pan. You can use your hands or a rolling pin if you like.
Sommer's Secret: Use oil rather than too much flour to keep the dough from sticking to keep the bread tender insead of tough.
9. Lightly coat the edges of the pizza crust to assist with browning.
10. Spread a thin layer of sauce. Leaving room around the edges for the crust.
Sommer's Secret: Go easy on the toppings and spread evenly- less IS more. You don't want a soggy pizza. I use a combination of Parmesan and a grated cheese mixture of Provolone, Mozzarella and Cheddar for added flavor dimension. After adding on the toppings I add one more thing layer of cheese to seal the toppings in once the cheese is all melted.
11. Bake 15- 20 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown.
Sommer's Secret: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and then turn down to 350 when you put the pizza in the oven.
11. One final swipe of olive oil around the pizza crust allows for a pretty sheen and keeps the crust soft especially in drier climates.