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My love affair with cooking began when I realized you don’t have to be a chef, or even a talented cook, to make just about anything from scratch.

That realization came five years ago and honestly, I never really thought about it much before that. When I saw how accessible cooking could be, even to a beginner like me, I became hooked.

One area of food that has always seemed too daunting for this mere cooking mortal is bread.

I’m guessing this stems from my Nana, who makes the Greatest Rolls in the History of the World. My dad makes them at family functions now, and to put it mildly, it’s a time-intensive process. My dad has made The Rolls a million times, most of the time with great success, but even he struggles to replicate my Nana’s rolls exactly. Not to mention, the whole process makes a horrific mess in the kitchen (my mom is nodding her head emphatically right now).

So while I’ve learned to make my way around the kitchen the last few years, I’ve lacked the courage to make any sort of foray into bread making.

Enter this pizza dough recipe from How to Cook Everything, (the cookbook by Mark Bittman that truly changed my life and how I eat) and I feel like I can take on the world. Or at the very least, carbs.

You can do all this in a food processor in about 5 minutes. Maybe less. The dough makes enough for two pizzas, easily feeding three or four people; more if you have a salad or some side dish with it.

If you make this a day or two ahead of time, you simply have to throw on some toppings and cook it for about 12-15 minutes in the oven (note: cook any meat or vegetables before placing them on the pizza. The 12-15 minutes won’t give them enough time to thoroughly cook). I can guarantee you this pizza will taste better than almost any pizza you order by phone, and you can have it in half the time and probably half the money. How ridiculous is that?

Here is what you need:

-3 cups all purpose or bread flour

-2 tsp. instant yeast

-2 tsp. kosher salt

-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine the flour, yeast and salt into the food processor. Turn on and add a cup of water and then the oil through the feed tube.

Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for a few seconds to form a round disk.

Stick in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave it out on the counter for 1-2 hours. Let the dough double in size from what it looks like in the photo below.

And that’s it!

If you plan on using the dough the same day, split the dough in two pieces, wrap with a towel or plastic wrap, and let it puff slightly for about 20 minutes before topping and baking. If you are going to use the pizza dough in a couple of days, put it in zipper bag and place in the refrigerator. If you make the dough and don’t plan on using within a few days, put it in a zipper bag and place in the freezer, where it will keep for a month or.

See? No reason to be scared. Live life courageously. Make your own pizza dough.

(Next week, I’ll post about putting this pizza dough to good use!)

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