Friday, March 23, 2012

Homemade Pizza

I still remember the first time I made pizza at home--aside from tossing a frozen pie into the oven.  I excitedly purchased fresh pizza dough, gathered a variety of toppings and the assembly fun ensued.  I was a proud cook as the resulting pizzas (one red and one white) were admired and consumed by family.  It was a good day, and I knew a tradition had been born.  

That was just the beginning, however, because just when I thought it couldn't get any easier or more gratifying--it did.  A short while after that first homemade revelry, I became a culinary instructor at one of my favorite homes away from home, Williams-Sonoma.  And shortly after that, I was scheduled to teach a technique class on all things pizza, which included homemade--as in from scratch--pizza dough. Before teaching this class, I hadn't considered making my own dough, and after it, I've never considered not making it.  Reason being, as most devoted foodies will attest, the thrill of actually making something homemade--and making it well--somehow always trumps the alternative.

There are few recipes that are simpler and yield themselves to multiple interpretations as this pizza dough recipe.  With a few basic ingredients, and the kitchen work horse known as the food processor, you'll be set to enjoy as many varieties of this Italian classic as your creative tastes will allow.  Savory. Sweet. Grilled. Baked. The possibilities are endless--and that's just the way I like it.  I think you will, too.

Happy Eating!

Food Processor Pizza Dough
Williams-Sonoma Kitchens
Mixed in a food processor, this dough comes together quickly.  Be sure to check the expiration date on the yeast; if it is outdated, the dough will not rise properly.

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar 
1 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees F)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.  

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade, combine the flour and salt and process with 3 or 4 pulses.  With the motor running on the dough speed, slowly add the yeast mixture, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more.  Continue processing until the dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute, then process for 1 minute more.  

Coat the inside of a large bowl with the olive oil and place the dough in the bowl.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.  Divide the dough in half and roll out on a floured surface.  Makes two 12-inch rounds.



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