I always believed that dough, particularly dough with that mysterious ingredient *yeast*, was difficult to make. . . something best left to professionals, or bought pre-made in a plastic bag from the grocery store. Guess what, yeast is nothing but a hard-working ingredient, and this recipe is easy!
I also was kind of afraid of getting messy. I didn't like the idea of sticky dough all over my hands and stuck in my rings. Turns out that, yes, dough is sticky, at least at first, but then it's really not a big deal. Whatever dough is stuck to you or your jewelry just washes off with soap and water – nbd!
And the payoff – well, there you go: homemade pizza dough is pretty amazing. And inexpensive, too. The only real investment is time. . . but budget that, and you're good to go. A few minutes to create the dough, then relax while yeast does its magic. Rolling out and shaping the dough is crafty fun. Then - the satisfaction of choosing favorite toppings, popping into the oven, and at last: into our bellies!
The original recipe calls for “plain” olive oil, but I went for added flavor, using our Tuscan Herb infused olive oil. Or try the Garlic infused olive oil – or others! Have fun and enjoy!
Olive Oil Pizza Dough
4 C flour
2 pkg active dry yeast (4 ½ tsp total)
1 tsp salt
¼ C olive oil, plus additional for bowl (I use Tuscan Herb infused olive oil for the dough)
1 ½ C water – lukewarm
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the olive oil and water, and mix briefly to form a soft, sticky mass. Tip onto a floured surface and knead for two minutes, slamming the dough down two or three times (helps to develop gluten). A soft ball of dough will develop.
Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, turning to coat with oil. Put the bowl in a large plastic bag and seal, or cover with a clean, dry cloth. In a warm place, let dough rise until doubled, about 1½ hours.
Return the dough to the lightly floured surface and, using oiled hands, punch it down. Divide into two balls. (At this point, you can place the dough in sealed containers in the refrigerator – dough will continue to rise, filling the container. Store up to one day before using.)
Pat, stretch, and roll out each ball into a circle about ¼” thick. Using a round cookie or biscuit cutter (I used a mason jar ring!), cut into little round pizzas – or as desired. Set pizzas on baking sheets (line with parchment paper or dust sheets with cornmeal first, if desired).
To make pizzas:
Choose your favorite sauce, toppings, cheese, herbs, etc. (I used jarred spaghetti sauce, shredded Italian cheeses, sliced mini pepperoni, and fresh mushrooms sauteed in Garlic infused olive oil. Mmmm!)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Top each dough round with desired sauce and toppings. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Set aside up to 45 minutes, or bake immediately. Bake pizzas for 12 – 15 minutes.
(Adapted from Olive Oil: Cooking, Exploring, Enjoying - by Clare Ferguson)