Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pizza Crust (by Tyler Florence)

Pizza crust with butter, garlic salt, and pepper
Make crusts any size you like. I made 8 mini crusts today.

I've got several pizza crust recipes on this blog, but this is the one I've used the most in the last year. Don't know why I'm only posting it now. Maybe because I use this for quick dinners on nights when I have no time for blogging.
My very favorite pizza crusts require a lot of time: Ciabatta Pizza Crust requires an overnight biga, and Thin Crust Pizza requires a 24-hour rise in the fridge. Most days I do not have that kind of time AND sadly, I need to avoid the ciabatta crust because my gluten-limited son loves it too much. To make that crust for the rest of us while he eats his gluten free crust would just be cruel.
So, this crust turns out a little bit thick, but not too thick, a little chewy, and a little bit crusty. It's a nice vehicle for any pizza, and actually, last night, I used it as the bread for meatball sandwiches, which were really meatball tacos in the end.
It also tastes great buttered with a little garlic salt and pepper on top. Mmm... one of my favorite ways to enjoy it.
So, if you're looking for a pizza crust that's ready in 2 hours or less (the "less" means that you bake and freeze crusts for later use), this is the recipe for you. Enjoy.

Pizza Crust
    --Adapted from Tyler Forence's Pizza Dough Recipe at FoodNetwork.com

Place the warm water and olive oil in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.
Add the flour. Then add the sugar, salt, and instant yeast.
With the dough hook, mix on low until ingredients are incorporated. Turn speed up to medium and kneed dough on medium for about 4-5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. (My dough sometimes separates into two pieces.)
Scrape dough off hook and out of bowl and form into a single ball. Return dough to bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. 
Allow dough to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. While dough rises, preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. (Note: Your oven should have a baking stone for optimal results.)
Scrape risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 3-8 pieces, depending on the size pizza (or pita) you want.
Form each piece of dough into a nice round ball. Cover dough balls with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 15-20 minutes.
Line a semi-rimless baking sheet or a pizza peel with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll, stretch, pull, and press dough out to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness. Place on prepared baking sheet or pizza peel. If you're making 8 small crusts, you should be able to fit four of the crusts onto the baking sheet/pizza peel.
Before sliding crusts into the oven, tap all ten of your fingernails, like claws, into each crust about 3-4 times to perforate the dough (see below). If you skip this step, you will end up with puffy pita pockets instead of pizza crusts. 
(At this point, you can also top the pizza crust at this time and bake your pizzas for 5-6 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Either way, the crust is great.)
Slide parchment with dough on it onto the baking stone in the oven. Bake crusts for 3-4 minutes at 500 degrees, or until there are browned spots on the bottom of the crust.
Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Note: If for some reason one of your crusts puffed up like a balloon (pita bread), just set the other crusts on top of that one until it's flattened. Do not attempt to flatten it with your fingers or hand, or you'll get a steam burn.
At this point, you can either top the crusts with your favorite toppings and return to the oven for 4-5 minutes, or you can completely cool and freeze the crusts for later use. OR you can use them for meatball tacos (see final pic below).

My dough hook gives me two lumps of dough sometimes.
Pizza dough: pre-rise
Pizza dough: after about 1 1/2 hours of rising
I cut dough in eighths today.
Dough balls resting
Four little crusts fit on one pan.
Fingernails are a cheap and reliable dough docking tool.
Crusts ready to go into the oven
Four crusts; one dressed up
One of my favorite ways to enjoy pizza crust: buttered, with garlic salt and pepper
I forgot to take a pic before I'd eaten the other 3 slices of my mini pizza.
See? Just slightly thick
And this one became the shell of a meatball taco.

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