A Real Pizza Work

I don't have any homemade pizza pictures but I thought this was even better 

Don't you just love a good food pun? Admitted dad joke lover here, and I'm still giggling over the title of this post. 

Today we’re making pizza dough. Pizza dough is such a great recipe to have in your back pocket, b/c it's so intimidating and once you master it people look at you in a new light like, oooh, you can make me delicious pizza, I better be nice to you.

Yeast doughs do that to people, but here’s a little secret about yeast doughs: they’re not that scary. Souflees are notoriously intimidating. Croissants are a pain in the ass. Don’t even get me started on French macarons. But yeast dough? Easy peasy.

Pizza dough is great b/c it’s so versatile. Calzones, Stromboli and breadsticks can all be made w/ this dough. You could even try it out in some sweet dishes too, if you want to get really nuts. It wouldn’t be my go-to pie dough, but it’s really easy to work w/, so it would probably be nice in a quiche, or chopped up, rolled in butter and cinnamon sugar and baked as a monkey bread. The pizza dough is your oyster, as the expression goes.

I make huge batches of this at work and I tried to scale it down to something more manageable for the home baker. My math isn’t the best, but I think I’ve succeeded. I can’t for sure tell you how many ounces of dough this will make, but you’ll probably get around 6 good sized balls, perfect for a flatbread or calzone. I’d suggest making these measurements, seeing how the yield works for you and your recipes, and then doubling or halving from there. Pizza dough freezes really well. Just scale it out into manageable portions before you freeze it so it doesn’t take forever to thaw.

A quick note about the flour: I use “00” flour when making the pizza dough at work, which is I guess what they use in Italy? “00” flour is milled very fine and has a consistency not unlike baby powder. It’s the gold standard for pizza dough, but I think it runs pretty expensive, so unless your friends are coming for dinner straight from Rome, I wouldn’t worry about it. I’ve used AP in a pinch and it works fine. If you have bread flour you want to use up, that would probably work as well; your dough might end up a little chewier, which is a win-win if that's how you like your pizza. I’d stay away from cake and pastry flour. 

This dough is really nice and easy to work with. It should be smooth and pliable when you pull it from the mixing bowl. If it’s really tough, there might be too much flour, so try not to use that much when you’re scaling out the dough balls. 

Dough can be made up to five days ahead of time, so if you’re not using immediately, just make through step 5 and store the rounded dough balls in your fridge. Let them sit at room temperature for about an hour so they are easy to work with when you go to roll them out. 

Pizza Dough

1 teaspoon fresh yeast OR 1.25 teaspoons active dry yeast (I prefer active dry)
1.5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups cold water 
1 pound 14 ounces (about 6 cups) flour 
1.5 tablespoons salt 

1) Mix yeast, oil and water in the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed until the yeast has completely dissolved (3-5 minutes)
2) Add flour and mix on low speed for 8 minutes
3) Cover dough with damp cloth and let rise for 20 minutes in a warm area of your kitchen
4) Add salt and mix on low speed until incorporated uniformly throughout dough (5-7 minutes) 
5) Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and cut into equal portions. Round each portion into a tight ball. 
6) If using dough the same day, cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for at least 4 hours. Times will vary depending on the temperature in your kitchen, but they will look soft and pillowy when they are ready. 
7) Assemble pizza/calzones/stromboli or whatever you're hankering for. Enjoy!