When I was still an English teacher, I taught this one kid, who in his junior year answered, “Fo’ sho’, fo’ sho’,” in this really reassuring tone for nearly for every affirmative answer. I heard it so much, sometimes it slipped out of my mouth, too. And now, some years later, one of my weird things is private rhyming. Private rhyming? That does sound weird, you’re thinking. I know. It is. It might go something like this:
Husband calls from his office, “Hey, what are you doing right now?”
My brain, “I’m making fo’ sho’, fo’ sho’ pizza dough!”
Me, out loud, “I’m making pizza dough!”
But I had to let the cat out of the bag here, because this pizza dough is absolutely a sure thing. There is no better name. It’s easy to make, work with, and one batch makes two thin crust 14-inch pizzas. I usually make one pizza on the day I make the dough, and then the second is another quick and easy dinner sometime during the next week. I have a feeling some food professionals might say otherwise, but I have left this dough in the fridge up to a week before finishing it off and it’s been fine.
First, you make your starter. After mixing together the ingredients at the bottom of a bowl – hopefully your stand mixer bowl – just let it sit and prove for 30-40 minutes. My kitchen tends to be on the colder side, so I usually let mine sit for 40 minutes before it’s ready.
From just mixed to all ready.
Next, you put all the rest of the ingredients on top of your starter and use a dough hook to twist and knead your dough for a full 5 minutes.
5 full minutes! Look at that well developed gluten!
If you have to do this by hand as I did before my stand mixer came into my life, knead it for what feels like forever, then wait until your arms are sore, then when you’re getting angry and wondering if it’s worth it, you can probably stop. Even after doing all that, I still think the dough comes out better with the mixer. It’s more elastic and has a more pleasing texture once it’s baked.
Once you’ve got this beautiful elastic dough, you put it in an oiled bowl and let it prove in a warm place for 90 minutes . I like to heat my oven up for a few minutes, turn it off, then put the bowl in there for the whole proving time.
After 90 minutes. Poof!
Because you oiled the bowl, the bowl, the dough comes out easily. It should feel pretty soft. Separate the dough into two balls for your pizza night. Yeah, yeah, I can hear the 6th grade jokes on that one.
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup cold water
Make the starter for the dough by mixing together the yeast, warm water and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix in 1/4 cup of the all purpose flour and all the whole wheat flour. I prefer to use a whisk for the mixing here. Leave the mixture alone for 30-40 minutes until it looks foamy.
Add the remaining 3 cups of flour, olive oil, salt and cold water. Knead the dough for a full five minutes using the dough hook attachment on low speed (~2 or 3). After five minutes you should have a smooth ball of dough that easily slides off the dough hook.
Place your ball of dough into an oiled bowl, then flip the ball over so that both sides are oiled. Cover (I like to use plastic wrap) and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Your dough should more than double in size. My kitchen tends to be on the cold side, so while the dough is being kneaded, I warm up my oven for just a couple of minutes and then leave the bowl of dough in there with the door open a crack (oven off, of course!).
To make the pizza, preheat your oven to 500° with the pizza stone inside. Meanwhile, roll out half the dough on a lightly floured surface. Once the oven is ready, place the rolled out dough on the stone (cornmeal on the stone first is an option). Place your toppings on the dough and then bake for 10-13 minutes.
Let the pizza cool for a few minutes before slicing. This will not only keep you from burning the roof of your mouth. This also give time for any juices to settle and for the bottom of the pizza to firm up a bit. Once cooled, you should have a nice crisp crust.
Congratulations! You just made your own pizza dough!