I do not see any reason to buy pizza dough from the store. This has been so for a long while. Pizza dough is incredibly easy to make, and this one from Baking with Julia involves things I always already have around the house: flour, yeast, water, and olive oil. Yes, it does require time, what with the rising and kneading and the forming of the dough. But pizza dough freezes well, so it’s simple enough to make it ahead of time, stick it in the freezer, and pull it out when you want it. I’ve still got half of this dough waiting in the freezer for next week.
This recipe is actually “pizza with onion confit,” and I briefly considered skipping it this week. But I skipped the Finnish pulla two weeks ago (regrettably), and I didn’t want to skip again. So, I thought, pizza is the ultimate customizable food, right? The focus here can be the pizza dough, the onion confit is just one of many, many topping options.
I’ve tried three or four pizza dough recipes, and a couple have been good, but none of them have been great. Some of them require a lot of work, others purport to be easy. I liked this one much better. It cooks up beautifully, and it is quite simple to put together.
The dough starts simply enough by combining yeast, water, flour, and olive oil to make a sponge. That rests a while until it’s doubled in size, and then the kneading starts. The only thing I didn’t like about this recipe is the assumption that one is using a mixer. I didn’t, because I don’t have one. Most of the other recipes in this book tell you what to do, no matter if it’s by hand or by machine. I figured, given the absence of mixing-by-hand instructions, I couldn’t over-knead the dough and went ahead until the dough looked like it should: smooth and elastic, a little sticky but not too much. It took a little longer than it would have by machine, but not so long that it was annoying. I prefer to knead by hand anyway. It’s a comforting exercise.
The dough was left to rise again, and it came out looking like a lovely ball of potential deliciousness, which was then flattened into a disk in preparation for rolling.
And then it was time to get to work. Instead of rolling it with a pin, I used my hands, which requires a little more time and patience, but I don’t like using my rolling pin unless I absolutely have to. It may not be the prettiest sight, but there is something nice and rustic-looking about a hand-shaped pizza pie crust.
The dough makes two pizzas, but next time, I might divide it into thirds. It was a large pizza (for two people) and made enough for dinner and the next day’s lunch. Also, I really wanted to roll it out a bit thinner (I prefer thinner crusts over thicker ones), but I had to stop because it got to the point where it wouldn’t fit onto my pizza stone.
So, next time, smaller amount and thinner crust. I’ll bet it will still be delicious.
On to the toppings! This is always the fun part of making pizza. I decided that I did want a tomato sauce (the onion confit went without), so I threw a can of crushed tomatoes into a saucepan, added garlic, threw in some chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and let it simmer until the liquid had evaporated. While that went on, I assembled my toppings.
The oysters were one of the reasons I decided to go ahead with the pizza. My mother had brought them from her place to put in my Christmas stocking; I’m pretty sure Geordie and I bought them last year and forgot to bring them with us when we moved. Smoked oysters have kinda been a New Year’s tradition for us, so I knew when we were going to eat them, just not how. I wanted to do something interesting with them. After scouting about on the internet a while, I figured why not put them on the pizza?
So that’s just what I did.
After seeing how much the crust puffed up, I’m definitely thinking that dividing the dough into thirds is the best way to go. It puffed up a lot. And I was a little worried about how I would like it, because I’m not overly fond of a chewy, dense pizza crust. I prefer thin crusts, light and crisp.
Well, this wasn’t a crispy pizza crust, but it was light and airy. Not at all dense, which really was a delightful discovery. Nor was it overly chewy. It had a lovely texture and consistency, a little crunchy on the outside but soft in the middle, but not too doughy. And light. It’s not a crust that weighs you down. And for something that has only four ingredients, it tastes wonderful.
A very nice dish for the weekend! Geordie thought the oysters overwhelmed the rest of the toppings, but I really liked the combination. It did have a bit of brininess to it, what with the oysters and the capers, but I guess that’s something I like. What I really loved was the sauce. Very flavorful and hearty in its own way. I don’t like a pizza sauce that’s runny or too thin, so this one definitely worked for me. We’re already thinking about what we want to put on the next pizza!
So, yeah, this one’s going to be the go-to pizza dough recipe from now on. I love that it can be made ahead and kept in the freezer, I love that it really is so easy to work with, I love that it tastes delicious! It really is everything a pizza dough should be, but it’s the first one that’s really been what I wanted it to be.
No complaints here! To see what the other bakers think, check out the Tuesdays with Dorie links. And if you’d like to give the dough a try yourself, hop over to this week’s host, The Boy Can Bake, to check out the recipe. Happy baking!