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Make-Ahead Pizza Dough

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Yields 2 lb. dough, enough for 8 cracker-thin crusts, 4 Neapolitan-style crusts, or 1 Sicilian-style crust plus 2 cracker-thin crusts or 1 Neapolitan-style crust

  • by Zoë François, Jeff Hertzberg from Fine Cooking
    Issue 116

Olive oil keeps this dough tender, and a little sugar encourages browning and boosts the flavor. You can double or triple this recipe.

  • 1-3/4 cups lukewarm water (about 100°F)
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dry yeast (fast-rising or active dry)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 19 oz. (4-1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour

Pour the water into a 3-quart bowl or large, lidded plastic food container. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the oil, salt, yeast, and sugar. Don’t worry about dissolving all of the ingredients; just stir well to combine. Don’t bother “proofing” the yeast, either—it shouldn’t fail if used before its expiration date.

Add the flour and mix until uniformly moist. The dough will be quite wet; no kneading is necessary.

Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap or partially cover the plastic container (leave the lid open a crack to let gases escape). Let the dough rise for 2 hours at room temperature. The dough will fully expand and may even begin to collapse within this time.

Do not punch down this dough—it will collapse on its own and later shrink while it chills in the refrigerator; it will never regain its height, and that’s OK.

Refrigerate the dough, loosely covered, for at least 3 hours before using.

Make Ahead Tips

The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. After 2 days, tightly cover the dough in its bowl with plastic wrap to keep the surface of the dough from drying out. You can also freeze the dough in well-wrapped 1/2-lb. balls for up to 3 weeks. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Variations

Whole-wheat dough variation: Substitute 5 oz. (1 cup) whole-wheat flour for the same weight of unbleached all-purpose flour, and add 2 Tbs. additional water.

Cornmeal dough variation: Substitute 5 oz. (1 cup) stone-ground yellow cornmeal for the same weight of unbleached all-purpose flour, and add 1 Tbs. additional olive oil.

This makes a very good pizza dough.

Favourite pizza dough recipe - so simple to make! I make this once a week.

This is the best ever pizza dough I have made, and I have made a few 100. Fabulous and divine. Thx a bunch

We made the cornmeal version for my daughter's sleepover party - five 9 and 10 years old! We made three different pizza dough recipes and they preferred this one hands-down. It was so easy to make and I loved being able to prepare it in advance. I made it in a heavy-duty baking sheet, and that worked really well too. The dough was crisp and nicely browned on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside.

FC Apr/May 2012 "Pizza Your Way, Any Day" was just what our family needed this week. With seven of us at home on different schedules, and with different ideas of "The Perfect Pizza," this do ahead recipe worked fabulously! My 14 year old son made the dough, then refrigerated it as the directed. The kids roll out their crust, thin or thick, everybody always wants something different, which is no problem here. The taste was flavorful but didn't overpower the toppings, which were prepared beforehand and stored in individual containers. The recipe turned out perfect! We prefer corn meal to keep the crust from sticking to the pizza paddle and stone. There's nothing like a fresh 7 minute pizza. Thanks again for a great recipe!

This dough was so easy to make. I did have to use more than the recipe called for however. I got three, thin crust pizzas, about 14" around. I used parchment paper, and heated one pizza stone, and one stainless baking sheet, then slid the dough, on parchment, right onto the sheets/stone (I made two pizzas). From past experience, I brushed both lightly with olive oil before adding the sauce and toppings. The crust was crunchy and firm, and the guests said it was the best they had ever eaten! I made one with sausage, hard salami, onions, red sweet pepper, mushrooms and onion, the other was canadian bacon and pineapple. It took awhile to get it to roll out thin. Just let it rest for a few minutes, then work on it again. It was absolutely great, and the convenience of making it ahead of time, and keeping it in the fridge is a wonderful advantage. Just remember to take it out, form it, and then shape it at least an hour before you plan to top it. I used fresh mozzarela, fontina, and a little smoked gouda, along with a packaged 6 cheese Italian cheese mix. This is a keeper recipe!!

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