Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pizza Crust

In response to Liz's request, here's the pizza crust recipe that I use. I've had really bad luck with pizza crust. The recipes I tried always came out break-your-teeth hard, and I'm not sure if it was me or the recipe that made it bad. Anyway, this is the recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook, and it hasn't failed me yet, although I'm sure there are better ones out there. I've had no trouble doubling or dividing this recipe, and it still comes out pretty well even when I don't have time to "let it rest" for 30 minutes. I haven't tried it with whole wheat flour, but I'm sure it would be great. Oh, and you really don't even need an electric mixer. If I don't feel like cleaning my mixer, I just do it by hand and it works out just fine!

2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package regular or quick active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 Tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 cup very warm water (120 to 130 degrees F)

In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast. Add oil and warm water. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour until dough is soft and leaves sides of bowl. Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead 5-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes. Continue as directed below for thin crusts or thick crusts.

For thin crusts: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease 2 cookie sheets or 12-inch pizza pans with oil. Divide dough in half. Pat each half into 12-inch circle on cookie sheets. Partially bake 7 to 8 minutes or until crust just begins to brown. Add toppings and bake as directed (8-10 minutes at 425). (I usually do the thin crust, but I just press it out with my hands to cover an entire cookie sheet or two instead of doing circles. I also don't partially bake it before topping it. I just put everything on and bake it for 15-20 minutes.)

For thick crusts: Grease two 8-inch square pans or 9-inch round pans with oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Divide dough in half. Pat each half in bottom of pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 30-45 minutes or until almost doubled in size. Move oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Partially bake 20-22 minutes or until crust just begins to brown. Add toppings and bake as directed (20 minutes at 375). (I've only done this version once, and it was too thick for my taste. Way more crust than pizza!)

I'd like to try some new crust recipes too, so I hope some of you have recipes to add!

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