Tweedlebud Megan's Homemade Pizza Tricks

May 14, 2013

It’s me again, Tweedlebud Megan. It’s been a little while since I talked about anything from my FAVOURITE bread making book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, so I figured it was time to share!

I’ve always made my own pizza dough but it’s never been anything too amazing. I’d use a pizza stone and often (or almost always!) the dough was too soft and didn’t crisp up like dough from a restaurant. Well, here’s the trick...

Cook the pizza at 500 (or higher if your oven goes higher) but heat up the pizza stone first!! That’s it! 

It took me some time to master getting the pizza onto a scorching hot stone, not dropping it or getting burnt...oh! and keeping a toddler away at the same time!!

For my first attempt I followed the instructions in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice and realized I didn’t have the same pizza tools they did. I was not so successful in moving a fully loaded pizza from counter to stone without it looking like a pathetic pizza in the end. 

For attempt two I had another plan. I rolled out the dough, chopped all the toppings and then brought the stone to the counter and quickly made the pizza once the dough was on the stone. It worked perfectly!! By having the stone hot the dough was able to crisp up right away. If only I’d known this sooner!!

Here’s the recipe for the pizza dough!! Enjoy!

4 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour or all-purposed flour, chilled (ha, just saw the chilled part now....I’ve never had chilled flour!!)
1 3/4 teaspoons  salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 olive or vegetable oil 
1 3/4 cups water, ice cold

Step 1: Stir together the flour, salt and instant yeast. Add in the oil and cold water until the flour is all absorbed. 

Mixing by hand:
-repeatedly dip one of your hands or a metal spoon in to the cold water and use it, much like a dough hook, to work the dough vigorously into a smooth mass while rotating the bowl in a circular motion with the other hand. Do this for 5 to 7 minutes or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Using an electric mixer:
-switch to the dough hook and mix on med speed for 5 to 7 min.

Step 2: Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Divide the dough into 3 even pieces.

*I have found that each piece will yield one large crust *

Sprinkle flour over the dough. Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. If the dough starts to stick to your hands, dip your hands into the flour again. 

Mist each ball with oil and slip them into a food-grade plastic bag.

Step 3: Put them into the fridge over night, or straight to the freezer if you don’t plan on using it all right away.
You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 3 days or store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Step 4: On the day you’ll make the pizza remove the desired number of dough ball from the fridge 2 hours before making the pizza. If the dough is frozen move it to the fridge the night before to thaw.

Dust the counter with flour and then mist the counter with oil. Roll out the dough balls into about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches diameter. Sprinkle with flour, mist with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest for 2 hours.

*I’m learning more here...I don’t do this part. Perhaps because remembering to get the dough out onto the counter 2 hrs before seems like a task!!! I can confidently say this part can be skipped and your dough will be great!!!*

Step 5: Put Pizza stone into the oven on the bottom rack (take the other one out!) and pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees!

Step 6: Roll out the dough to the desired size.

*Now, my husband happens to be a chef and I can never seem to roll out the dough to be even or if he’s home, I defer to him. But, when he’s not, I’ve learned a few tricks.

- He takes the ball and turns all the edges under while holding it in his hands

- He punches the dough out with his fingers. 

- He makes sure there’s a good amount of flour on the counter
- When he transfers the dough to the stone he rolls it backwards onto the pin and then onto the stone!

I find that my oven takes FOREVER to heat up to 500 degrees. I have plenty of time to roll out the dough and then get all my topping ready to go!

Step 7: Transfer the dough to the stone and top.

Bake for about 8-10 min depending on your oven temp (greater than 500, it’ll be less time!)

Step 8: Remove from the over and transfer to a cutting board (mine now has pizza stone burn marks!). 

Wait 3-5 min before slicing and serving to allow the cheese to set slightly.

Tweedlebud Tip: If you and your family like pizza, a pizza stone is a great investment. It is a round, ceramic pizza plate that can withstand high heat. They can be found at any store that sells cookware and you don't anything fancy to do the trick. They are even sold at Superstore for about $30! Your homemade pizza will never be the same after you try using one!


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