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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pizza Party: Homemade Pizza Crust

I've only tried making homemade pizza dough once, and it didn't turn out well. I used the wrong type of yeast, partly because I wasn't well versed in yeast, and partly because our store didn't sell instant yeast. (If you're new to yeast, check out this guide; I found it very helpful!) A lot of the pizza dough recipes out there call for a Kitchen Aid mixer to knead the dough, or knead by hand ((shudder)), but this one from Cook's Illustrated can be made in a food processor! I have an awesome Kitchen Aid food processor and was excited to try this out. We invited my BFF Kathleen over for a pizza party and movie night at the beginning of April (you may notice my posts are never in order!) The recipe makes 3 medium pizzas or 2 large pizzas. I just divided the dough into 3 portions, and each of us shaped and 'decorated' our own little pizzas. We had plenty leftover - this makes a lot of dough. But as Chelle suggested, you can freeze half of it for another time.

I am so happy with this recipe, and it really couldn't be simpler. Although Cook's Illustrated says it must be made in a food processor that holds 11 cups or more, it worked just fine in my 9-cup one. Apparently the bread flour is the key to this dough's crispy crust - although you may sub all-purpose for a less crisp crust. The dough is so nice and smooth and easy to press out. It bakes up crispy yet chewy and didn't stick to the pan. I highly recommend this recipe!

For our pizza party, we used browned sweet Italian turkey sausage, turkey pepperoni, chopped onions, 2% mozzarella cheese, and pizza seasoning. Yum!

Pizza Crust

1/2 cup warm water (~110F)
1 envelope (~2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (AKA Rapid Rise)
1 1/4 cups water, room temperature
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for greasing bowl
corn meal, for dusting pan

Make the dough:
1. Fill a 2-cup liquid measuring cup with warm water and sprinkle yeast on top. Allow to sit until yeast dissolves and swells - ~5 minutes. Meanwhile, add flour and salt to food processor and pulse a few times to combine.

2. Add room temperature water and oil to the yeast/water mixture, and stir to combine. While pulsing flour mixture, pour the liquid through the feed tube, reserving a few tablespoons. If the dough has not formed a ball, add the rest of the liquid and pulse. Process for ~30 seconds until the dough is smooth and elastic.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand a few turns, shaping the dough into a smooth, round ball.

4. Place the dough ball into a deep, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Bake the crust:
Note: The original recipes calls for a pizza stone that is preheated to 500F for 30 minutes, and the pizza is then cooked at this temperature for 8-12 minutes. I don't have a pizza stone, so I had to wing this part. Here's what I did:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a sheet pan with olive oil, dust with corn meal.

2. Press the dough to deflate it. Divide dough into desired portions, and place them back in the bowl, covered with a damp cloth to allow dough to rest for at least 10 but no more than 30 minutes.

3. Press dough out into desired shape. Brush lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Prebake crust for ~5-7 minutes.

4. Remove crust and top pizza as desired. Bake pizza for 5 minutes, then raise oven temperature to 500F for 3-5 minutes, or until crust is golden.

Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, originally from Cook's Illustrated


  1. thanks for the pizza review from CI.
    Looks yummy

  2. I recently made pizza dough in a food processor too, and was surprised about how easy it was! I need to try bread flour next time! Sounds like a fun night :)

  3. Your pizza looks great! I just love this recipe, my favorite homemade pizza crust by far! I haven't made it in a long time, you made me hungry for it again :)

  4. We love making our own dough, but seem to stick to the same 'ole recipe. This one looks good - might have to steal it!

  5. Pizza dough by food processor. How interesting! I adore homemade pizza. Sounds yummy.

  6. Absolutely delicious! You can't go wrong with pizza!

  7. Pizza fun! It looks soooo good! I would rather have homemade pizza any day over a restaurant. I wonder if you can make the dough in the Vitamix?


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