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Weeknight pizza: No fancy equipment required.
Do you have the following in your kitchen?
Big bowl, sheet pan, aluminum foil, oven
These are the only tools you need to make what has become my go-to weeknight pizza dough recipe. Pizza is a great vehicle for serving up any season’s vegetables to your family, and you can make it taste great with a lot less gooey, saturated-fat-laden cheese than the delivery chains would have you believe.
This recipe is adapted from one by baker Jim Lahey, famous for the no-knead bread recipe that everyone went crazy for five years ago. I changed it to add olive oil, which I think adds a nice flavor, and to incorporate some whole wheat flour and other healthy ingredients. You could just make this with all white flour if you wanted to. It’s great that way.
Do any of you have your own favorite pizza dough recipes? Anyone have a deep-dish recipe they like? I am always looking for new ones.
Weeknight pizza dough (adapted from Jim Lahey)
Serves four generously
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ or flaxseed meal
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry or rapid rise yeast (I have used both, with results that didn’t differ too much)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon dried herbs of your choice (I like an herbes de Provence mix with some fennel seeds in it. The herbs are optional, though.)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/3 cup hot tap water
Combine flours, wheat germ, yeast, salt, sugar and herbs in a large bowl. Pour in water and olive oil and mix together with clean hands, kneading the dough in the bowl for about 30 seconds once the ingredients are incorporated.
Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and leave at room temperature for about two hours.*
At least 30 minutes before you want to make the pizza, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. At the same time, turn out the dough onto a floured surface and cut it in half. Shape each half into a ball and let sit under a dish towel on the floured surface until the oven has pre-heated and you’ve assembled your toppings. Cover a standard baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush with olive oil or spray with cooking spray.
When the oven is ready, gently shape one of the dough balls with your hands or a rolling pin until it fits in the prepared baking sheet. If you are only making one pizza, you can place the leftover dough in an oiled zip-top bag and freeze it, or refrigerate it if you plan to use it the next day (If you refrigerate the dough, don’t zip the bag, just fold the top under the dough ball.)
Top your pizza as desired and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for 3 to 5 minutes, then dinner’s ready.
*A two-hour rise time won’t make this a weeknight option for a lot of working people…unless you make the dough ahead. This dough freezes well. If you take a bagged dough ball out of the freezer the night before you want to eat it, then take it out of the fridge as soon as you get home from work, you should be ready to make pizza in time for dinner.