Lesson 2

backyard pizza dough secrets

How to make great Backyard Pizza dough or even in the kitchen! 

4 1/2 cups (20.25 ounces) unbleached high-gluten, bread, or all-purpose flour,

(For Best Results Use High Gluten. It gives the pizza the strength to make it great!)

1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon (.11 ounce) instant yeast be sure it’s instant and that you don’t need to hydrate it! 
(1 ounce) olive oil
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) water, 70f
4 oz. of Semolina flour #1  

The # 1 designates the large grain semolina, it looks like cornmeal. If you can’t get that any semolina is fine. Note: semolina is primarily used for pasta making it adds chew to the pizza. If you can get it just subsite with flour.

  1. Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). With a large metal spoon, stir in the oil and water until the flour is all absorbed you can add the oil in after a minute or two (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment), If you are mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the metal spoon into 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. Reverse the circular motion a few times to develop the gluten further. Do this for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed. If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn’t come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky.
  2. Sprinkle a small bit of flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. You don’t want to use a lot ( if you can don’t use any). Using a metal dough scraper, cut the dough into 5 equal pieces (or larger if you are comfortable at shaping large pizzas), you can dip the scraper into the water between cuts to keep the dough from sticking to it, Make sure your hands are dry and put a little flour on them if the dough is too sticky.  Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. Do this by folding them in half and then turning clockwise and fold in half aging. You will be smoothing out the dough ball and folding it in half each time (about 4 times works) then pinch the edges together to make a tight seal and a nice ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, dip your hands into the flour again. Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pan, DOUGH TRAY or small oiled bowl. Mist the dough generously with spray oil and cover with dough tray lid or plastic. You can put the oil on the dough balls with spray oil, or brush, or by hand!

3. Now the dough needs to rise.  I like to let it sit out for one hour first then I put it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days! You can do one day if you want but for me, 3 days is perfect for my dough.

On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 1 hour before making the pizza. You want the dough to warm up! So keep it covered and let it get to 55f. If your dough is too cold it’s hard to stretch and can make a lot of bubbles when cooking

4. Get Ready to dust the counter with flour and place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick, about 10 inches in diameter. Take your time to press down the dough all around. Make it level and round. (Keep a small crust too).

Make the pizzas one at a time.  Make sure your oven is hot and the flames are not too big. When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction (about 9 to 12 inches thick or thin in diameter for a 8-ounce piece of dough), Put flour on the pizza peel.  Generously dust the peel with semolina flour or regular flour, you don’t want your dough sticking to the peel.

Lightly top it with sauce and then with your other toppings, remembering that the best pizzas are topped with a less-is-more philosophy. The American “kitchen sink” approach is counterproductive, as it makes the crust more difficult to bake. A few, usually no more than 3 or 4 toppings, including sauce and cheese is sufficient. Spread them lightly around so the dough can cook. You’re on your way to being a pizza master.

Love Life and Get Cooking

pizza dough

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