This is how making pizza dough used to make me feel:
But no more. Pizza and I are friends at last!
I may not be the world's biggest fan of Tyler Florence, but his pizza dough recipe works miracles. You think I'm kidding, dear reader, but I am not. This recipe is so divine, I could make pizza everyday and, possibly, not get sick of it.
Pizza Dough (courtesy Tyler Florence, Foodnetwork.com)
1 c. warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 c. flour
Dissolve sugar in warm water and proof yeast for 5 or 10 minutes.
Stir in oil, then salt.
Add in flour 1 c. at a time until all flour is incorporated. (As with all yeast doughs, I stir in the flour by hand until I've decided it's too stiff, then use my kitchenaid's dough hook.)
Turn dough out on lightly floured counter and knead until smooth and elastic. (Most of the time I don't use flour on my counter. Just knead away. If it's sticking, though, use the flour.)
Place in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat dough.
Let rise until double in bulk. (about 1 hr.) Punch down.
Turn on your oven to 500 and place your pizza stone in to get hot.
Roll and stretch dough into a cylinder and cut in half.
Let sit for 10 minutes to let dough relax. (This is the crucial step. I don't care how much of a hurry you are in, this must be done, or your dough will be very uncooperative.)
Shape into rounds using your rolling pin on a lightly floured counter, or using your hands and tossing in the air.
Transfer your dough to the pizza stone and top as you like.
Bake for 7 - 10 minutes.
A few of our favorite ways to top our dough:
Parmesan Garlic Hearth Bread
In a small saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp. of butter with one clove of garlic. (It can be whole if you have whole cloves around. I usually have a jar of minced garlic in the fridge, so that's what I use.)
When your dough is shaped and transferred to the pizza stone, "paint" on the garlic butter with a pastry brush. Top generously with grated parmesan cheese and slip into the oven.
This should cook more quickly than a pizza would. Check it after 4 or 5 minutes.
Once your dough is on your stone, spread out a thin layer of prepared pesto (I use my fingers to spread it because it only takes a very thin layer) and top with mozzarella cheese.
Top this with cooked, cubed chicken breast. This would also be excellent with a crumble of bacon and some artichoke hearts.
Sprinkle a little parmesan over the top of everything.
Mix about 1/3 c, refried beans with a couple tablespoons of prepared salsa and spread on dough. Top with cheese. Mozzarella is good. We used a Mexican bend from the store.
Sprinkle on what you like. We used taco-seasoned ground beef, black olives and tomatoes. Next time I might add green pepper. And if you like cilantro and green onions, both would go well on here.
Spread dough with a thin layer of tomato sauce (like this one, also by Tyler Florence)
Top with either rounds of mozzarella cut from a fresh ball, or shredded mozarella.
Dot with leaves of fresh basil. (Leaving them whole is very authentic, but you can also slice them in a little choffonade, if you're not crazy about eating the whole leaves.)
If you have a favorite way to top your pizza, let me know. I'm always on the lookout for fun new ways to make pizza even better!