I love making my own pizza. Compared to take-out or store-bought varieties, homemade is fresher, tastier and cheaper. But I've always struggled with creating the crust; I'm notorious for whipping up pizza dough that's sticky enough to hang pictures on the wall.
Recently, I discovered a dough recipe that's changed my experience for the better. It's made in a food processor and doesn't require any fooling around with yeast and water temperature, or special flours.
The recipe, which is an adaptation of one written by New York Times food columnist and cookbook author, Mark Bittman (published in the New York Times, April 17, 2012), is perfect to prepare with young kids. There's no need to hand-knead the dough; the food processor does the kneading for you. When it's time to roll or stretch it out, the dough pretty much cooperates. And best of all, making this recipe shouldn't create a big mess in your kitchen.
Make the dough ahead or within an hour of wanting to eat dinner. I often prepare and freeze the dough a few days before I want to use it. The time spent chilling makes it even easier to roll into your desired shape and thickness.
Mark Bittman's Pizza Dough makes enough for two 10inch thin-crust pizzas
What You Need:
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring hands and work surface
1 teaspoon instant yeast if freezing dough; 2 teaspoons, if making pizza immediately
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for oiling baking pans
1 cup water
What To Do:
Place 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon yeast (if freezing dough), 2 teaspoons salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor. Pulse machine about five times to combine ingredients.
Turn machine on low setting and slowly drizzle in water through the feed tube. Near the end of the drizzling, the food processor will get noisier and rock a bit as the ingredients come away from the sides of the processor and the dough forms.
When all the water is added, the dough shouldn't be sticking to the sides of the container. If it does, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, with the machine running. If the dough is too dry and refuses to come together, add more water, one tablespoon at a time. Turn machine off once dough forms to prevent it from toughening.
Using clean, lightlyfloured hands, gather the dough together and gently pat into one large ball; slice into two equal parts. Wrap each half in plastic wrap. If freezing, place dough balls in a large zip-lock bag and freeze for no longer than a week. When ready to use, allow the dough to reach room temperature before rolling out. If you're making pizza right away, let each plastic-wrapped dough balls rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 Fahrenheit. Lightly oil two baking pans and set aside. Lightly flour a clean counter top or large cutting board, and remove each dough ball from plastic wrap.
Gently roll or pat out dough with a lightly floured rolling pin, or your hands, into desired shape and thickness. If dough isn't cooperating because it's too elastic, let it rest for about 10 minutes and then go back to it. Once rolled out, transfer dough to each baking pan and pinch edges to form a raised outer edge.
Layer pizza with your favourite toppings and bake until the bottom of the crust is crisp and the top of the pizza is browned and bubbling, about 10 to 20 minutes.
Linda Watts is a registered dietitian. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.