When we lived in the US, I always wanted to try and make my own pizza dough, but living so close to Trader Joe’s made it easy to cheat since they have their own version in the fridge, and it is quite delicious. Sigh, how I miss Trader Joe’s!
When I got to the Middle East, I found out pretty quickly that pre-made dough is not the easiest thing to find here. So finally, I was faced with the fun challenge of making my own pizza crust!
Luckily on the Nest’s What’s Cooking board, there was a post from someone else about pizza dough. A few were recommended, but the one I saw the most was this one. It’s a blog called Annie’s Eats, and I have tried some great recipes from her blog. However, that recipe was posted for someone with a stand mixer – which I do not have. She linked to the original recipe (with options to make it by hand) that was posted on a Browneyedbaker’s blog, so I followed that one, and used this recipe.
Now remember that I am in the Middle East – some of the things in this recipe were not necessarily available to me. (Also I did not have the car today, so I was stuck with Carrefour, a grocery store across the street). I have not seen anything close to bread flour here, so I decided to try Chappata Atta, which is used to make Indian breads, so I thought it might be a good substitute. Also, the instant yeast that I found did not need mixing with water. (Now I have a ton of yeast though, so I plan to try making a lot of breads)!
Putting this dough together was a cinch, and really took no time at all. Then I let it rise while I watched some tv, and was amazed at just how big it got! When it came to shaping the dough…that was a little more difficult! I had to watch a few videos on how to do it, before I got the hang of it.
Looks delicious doesn’t it? I thought so 🙂 (Don’t mind my horrible pictures – they were taken on my iPhone! It’s the easiest and fastest way to get the pictures posted).
The pizza is a white pizza with garlic, mozzarella, ricotta cheese and parmesan. It’s a creation inspired by our favorite pizza at a cute little place in Montana called MacKenzie River Pizza. Any time we are in Montana to visit Dave’s parents, we have to go there! The pizza we usually get there has ricotta, mushrooms and bacon. (Let’s not talk about bacon though…).
Now for the recipe…the pizza dough recipe is from the blogs I linked to above, and the original source is Baking Illustrated. I have updated this recipe with my substitutions! Also, I wanted to try this recipe before making a full batch, so I halved it.
(Source: Baking Illustrated, pages 153-155) (I modified it to the amounts and ingredients I used, as well as the method).
1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees) (I omitted this, since my yeast could be mixed right in with the flour)
1 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp water, at room temperature (Just realized I used the full amount of water, but it still turned out great!)
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands (I did 1 cup of Chappata Atta and 1 cup of AP Flour)
3/4 teaspoons salt
Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl
1. Combine the salt and half the flour in a deep bowl. (I added my yeast here with the dry ingredients – if you have instant, it will be with the liquid ingredients). Add the liquid ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine. Add the remaining flour, stirring until a cohesive mass forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic 7 to 8 minutes, using as little dusting flour as possible while kneading. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a chef’s knife or dough scraper to divide the dough into three pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball and cover it with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.
4. Working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping the others covered, shape the dough, then transfer it to a pizza peel that has been lightly dusted with semolina or corn meal.
5. Bake until the crust edges brown and the cheese is golden brown in spots, 8 to 12 minutes at 500 degrees (F). Remove the pizza from the oven, cut into wedges, and serve immediately.
White Pizza (my own creation)
Garlic (finely chopped)
Mozarella (freshly grated)
Optional – maybe some basil or tomatoes to add a little color 😛
1. On prepared pizza dough, brush olive oil all over the whole crust. (This is your sauce). Next, sprinkle the garlic over the crust, as much as you would like. (I like my pizza garlic-y!)
2. Add a small layer of mozzarella cheese. Then place ricotta by spoonfuls around the pizza, again, as much or as little as you like. Finish with more mozzarella and some parmesan.
3. Bake as instructed above, 8-12 minutes at 500 degrees F, until the crust and cheese are all brown and bubbly in spots, like pictured above. Mmmm, heavenly 🙂 Enjoy!
Whew! I think this is my longest blog post ever…hope you made it to the end! And I hope my pizza dough directions make sense…I am getting sleepy as I write this! 🙂 Hope you will try to make your own pizza crust soon 🙂