Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rising Pizza Crust

I promised a pizza post immediately following my sauce post... and then the mail came in and I got FABRIC in the mail... sooo I may have gotten a little side tracked. Pardon me.

We're going to jump right into this one, no stories to tell, just pizza crust to make and a pizza. Hooray! I mean, I hope you enjoy my stories... it's just I already introduced today in the pizza sauce post.

The magic begins with warm water and yeast. I buy mine by the jar, but you only need one packet for this recipe. Your water needs to be heated to 110-120F, I use my candy thermometer to measure this, but if you keep a very close eye on your water it should start to gather bubbles on the bottom, just barely. Pull it off immediately, it over heats quickly and too much heat will kill your yeast. A candy thermometer runs about $5, I got mine at Hobby Lobby for $4 and threw the 40% off coupon from my HL app on there, so super cheap investment there.

Add the warm water (1 1/3 cup) to a large mixing bowl and then sprinkle the yeast on top (2 1/4 teaspoons if you're measuring, that's typically one packet).

Give the yeast a gentle swirl and let it bloom for 10 minutes. I didn't take a photo of mine bloomed, caught in the moment I suppose, but it should rise to the top and have a frothy or foamy appearance as well as a nice, sweet yeasty aroma. If this doesn't happen, then your yeast is dead and you have to start over, it happens. But you need good, bloomed yeast for this to work.

Once the yeast has bloomed you will add in 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.

3/4 Tablespoon of salt.

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil.

3 1/2 cups of flour, I sift mine but it is not a requirement.

And now it's time to mix. If you have a hand mixer, put on your dough hooks. If you're a lucky dog with a stand mixer, put on your hooks! And now you're going to mix it until it's smooth, this can take anywhere from 5-7 minutes, work on a low or medium speed. The dough should pull away from the sides and start to form into a ball as it gets smooth. If it stays too sticky, add a tablespoon of flour.

Now, if you do not have a dough hook, this can all be mixed first with a spoon and then by hand. It's a ton of work but it can be done. Just sub this in place of an arm workout for the day, because it will make your arms burn.

My dough is mixed well, it's slightly smooth but not perfect. At this point I don't feel my hand mixer can do any better, so I begin working by hand. If you have a stand mixer it may work it better, I can't actually say.

I am going to turn mine out onto my floured baking mat and finish working it by hand. If you bake often, get yourself a baking mat, they rock and save on cleanup. My blue mat is from Ikea but here is an affordable alternative. I knead mine and add extra flour as needed, I put the flour on the mat and slowly pull it into the crust. The goal is to get a smooth dough with elasticity, you should be able to gently poke it and have the dough pop back out.

This is how she looks when she is smooth and ready. It's not "smooth as polished stone" kind of smooth, just a smooth to the touch feel. Roll the dough into a ball.

Add one tablespoon of olive oil to your bowl (you can use the same bowl or a clean bowl) and turn the dough ball until coated. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and over the wrap place a kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour.

Right now my home is keeping an average temperature of about 74 degrees, this is a great temperature for the dough, warmer is fine too. But during the winter, my home can get a little cold, so if your home is cold, heat your oven to 200 degrees and shut it off. Then place the dough, in an oven safe bowl, into the oven and leave it cracked. Time it for 30 minutes, after that time close the oven door and let it rise for 30 more minutes.

Now, the dough has risen! Punch it down and press all the air out of it.

Pop it out onto your mat, and knead the remaining air out.

Separate it into two balls, like so. Cover them and allow them to rise for 15 minutes.

Set one ball aside and we're going to begin rolling them out.

Roll out from the middle to keep the dough from sticking and try to form the best circle you can. I'm not very good at it but I'm pretty decent. I'm making a 12in pizza, so I roll it out a little more because it always seems to retract when I transfer it to the pan.

Spray a pan with cooking spray (or use a pizza stone!) and transfer the dough over. I always give mine a few tosses for fun, but it's not a requirement. Pinch up the edges to form a crust.

Using your fingers, poke the dough all over like above. Don't poke holes all the way through, just press into the dough.

You're going to set this aside and let it rise for 15 minutes. You can roll out your other dough during this time. And get your toppings ready.

This is a perfect time to preheat the oven to 475F, the oven should have more than enough time to heat up and distribute the heat while you wait for the dough to rise and add your toppings.

Now while I planned to make pizza, I some how forgot to buy cheeses... oops. I mixed what I had on hand, which worked out really well. This is a mild cheddar and mozzarella mix, I highly suggest having mozzarella as one of your cheeses. It just makes it right. Yes, I am flat out lucky I had mozzarella on hand.

Your toppings are up to you! I love this Boar's Head pepperoni I get at Sprouts in the deli area and I had left over Boar's Head canadian bacon too. It's a pure coincidence it's all Boar's Head, I'm not paid to use it... I just LOVE their meats. You could make this all veggies or just plain cheese, use your imagination!

 Now my pizza dough has risen, see how the crust thickened? I add my sauce that I made while I was making my dough.

Add my cheeses.

Add my meats and stop to show you were the canadian bacon is.

Finish adding the pepperoni and it's ready to bake.

Slide this puppy into your preheated oven and bake for 12-16 minutes, at this time you can choose to pull it out or bake it longer. Of course, I suggest keeping an eye on it at all times to make sure it doesn't burn. I ended up baking mine for 20 to get my toppings and cheese a little more crisp, but that's my preference.

Also, bake your pizzas one at a time. It's a pain but they turn out better!

Once the timer goes off and you're satisfied with the pizza, pull it out and let it cool for at least 5-10 minutes. In my experience, I cut it fresh out one time and it all pulled apart on me, sadness. So now, much to the dismay of my boys, I let it cool down a little.

I love this recipe, I like a thicker crust, but this one remains chewy in the center so it's not hard to eat.

I do wish I had double the pepperoni but then I risk making the pizza too greasy... such a dilemma.

Ah, see how thick and beautiful she is? Just remember, my husband and son had to wait for me to photograph this before they ate. They sure do love me!

And I serve it up, just like this. Slice and eat, baby.

And now I'm hungry... did I even eat lunch yet? Too bad I don't have pizza, sigh.

Rising Pizza Crust

  • 2 1/4 Teaspoons Yeast
  • 1/3 Cups Warm Water
  • 3 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
For Pizza
  • 2 Cups Shredded Cheese
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Any Toppings You Desire
Heat water on stove top using a candy thermometer to measure the heat. Heat to 110F-120F, aim closer to 120F. 

Pour water into a bowl and sprinkle yeast over the top. Gently swirl and let yeast bloom for 10 minutes. The yeast will rise to the top as it blooms and have a foamy appearance.

Add in sugar, salt, olive oil and flour. Mix dough with dough hooks until the dough is mostly smooth. About 5-7 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and finish kneading by hand. If dough is still wet or sticky, add extra flour and knead it into the dough. Your dough should be smooth and elastic. Give it a gentle poke and the dough will bounce back.

Coat a bowl with olive oil. Put your dough ball into the bowl and give it a few turns until it is coated.

Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, allow to rise for 1 hour.

Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto your baking mat. Punch it down and knead the air out. Separate it into two dough balls and cover them. Allow them to rise for 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 475F.

Take one ball at a time and roll it from the center out, creating the best circle you can. Transfer dough to a greased pizza pan. Pinch up the edges to create the crust and then use your fingers to poke all over the dough, do not poke through the dough. Set aside and allow to rise for 15 minutes. Repeat with the other ball or put that ball into a freezer bag and freeze it for later.

Once the 15 minutes is up, top the crust with your sauce, cheese and toppings. 

Put in preheated oven and bake for 12-16 minutes or until desired doneness.

Remove from oven and cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing.


  1. Hi! I just came from the tea party link up and that post is great! First, the recipe looks really delicious, and i love that it's super comprehensive! And your food photography is amazing! seriously! :)