Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Homemade Pizza Dough & Sauce

This recipe is from 500 Pizzas & Flatbreads: The Only Pizza & Flatbread Compendium You'll Ever Need by Rebecca Baugniet. It's never failed me. Before I started using this recipe I always seemed to have the problem of my pizza dough being too tough and springy. I could never get it to roll out easily at all and it drove me crazy! The Basic Turkish Pizza Crust contains more fat, and therefore results in a softer, more pliable dough.

My "red sauce," which I call "homemade" even though the ingredients come from a can, make delicious pizzas. I used to use jarred pasta sauces but they never seemed to taste that great even though there are different varieties. And they're more expensive! A big can of tomato puree is cheaper than jarred pasta sauce.

Basic Turkish Pizza Crust

2 ¼  tsp active dry yeast (or 1 envelope)
1 c. warm water
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 -1 c bread flour

  1. Sprinkle yeast over the warm water in a large bowl of standing mixer. Stir to mix and set aside for 10 minutes until yeast has dissolved (becomes foamy). 
  2. Mix in sugar, melted butter, and olive oil. Add salt; then mix in flour one cup at a time. When dough begins to form, change to dough hook attachment, and run mixer for 4-5 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl. Roll dough around so ball is lightly covered with oil. Cover bowl with clean paper or dish towel and place in warm spot to rise for one hour, until dough has almost doubled in size.
Important tips about this recipe:
  • Sometimes I put in the butter, sometimes I don’t. I still think it comes out fairly easy to roll out.
  • I don't know why the recipe doesn't call for a few tsp of sugar, but I always put it in for the yeast to have some food.
  • This recipe makes a lot of dough so you have a thick, fluffy crust. You could probably make it into two smaller, thinner pizzas but I like my crust really thick so I usually leave it or eyeball a little less water and flour.
  • I don’t use a standing mixer since I don’t have one. I add the flour into the liquid mixture a little bit at a time, scraping the spoon and the sides of the bowl while mixing. I usually end up using around 2 1/2 cups of flour instead of the full 3 cups.  Eventually I start using my hands when it gets too difficult to mix with a spoon. Remember, you can always add more flour but you can't just add water to loosen the dough again. Adding a little bit at a time prevents you from adding too much.
  • Sometimes I put in spices like garlic powder, basil, oregano, etc…
  • There isn't any real kneading needed!
  • While the dough is rising, I preheat my oven and baking stone at 425 degrees for 45 minutes.
  • You can use this recipe for breadsticks.

To make the pizza

  1. Roll out the dough onto a pizza peel that has been heavily sprinkled with cornmeal. I used flour once, but it made the bottom of my pizza taste really floury. If the dough is still wet, try working some more flour into it before you put it on the pizza peel. 
  2. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough and coat the roller with flour to help you roll it out--as needed. Sometimes my dough seems more wet than other times. 
  3. Add toppings. Sometimes I spray the crust with olive oil. I almost always sprinkle garlic powder around the outside ring--this makes a delicious crust. Sometimes I add parmesan cheese to the crust as well. 
  4. Slide pizza from the peel onto the baking stone. If it sticks, try sliding a pancake turner or another flat kitchen tool to loosen the crust from the peel. 
  5. Bake the pizza for 12 or 13 minutes at 425. It could be different depending on your oven. I'm not sure about using a pizza pan since I never use one! 

Red Sauce

28 oz can of tomato puree (makes a lot of sauce!)
1-2 garlic clove, minced (3-4 tsp)
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp oregano
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar (or to taste)*
1/8 tsp all spice

Mix all ingredients and cook over medium heat until bubbles slightly. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. You'll want to keep a cover on it or else you'll have a big mess to clean up!

Honestly, these ingredients are just guidelines. I usually add it all and then taste and see how I like it, and depending on the planned pizza or my mood I may or may not add more garlic or basil or crushed red pepper. The recipe seems pretty basic, but it always seems to make really good pizza and great dipping sauce for breadsticks.

*Sugar in tomato sauce is very important. I've seen suggestions to make pasta or pizza more "healthy" by skipping the sugar, but tomatoes are so acidic that you'll get a terrible acid-bitter taste unless you balance it out with sugar. You can also try a sugar substitute like Splenda,but I haven't tried it. The easiest way to gauge how much sugar you need or not is to add a little at a time and taste test when you simmer it a while.