Family Pizza Night – Dough Recipe

For at least two years, we’ve made Thursday our dedicated Pizza Night. I vividly remember how Pizza Night started in our home. Like I do pretty much every night, I grabbed our delicious home made dinner out of the oven and put in on the table, only to be hit with ‘Ewww’ ‘Yuck’ and ‘Why do you always have to make such gross dinners?’ from my kids. The sad thing is, these comments are an every single night occurrence.

I usually just let their comments roll off, and remind myself I’m going to miss these days when I have three teenage boys eating me out of house and home. But this particular night I had had it, and I was truly confounded because whatever I had made I genuinely thought they were going to like. So I said,

‘Okay kids, what will you eat? Honestly, what do you like?’ The only child who answered was Chase and he said, ‘I like pizza.’ and Thomas and Kaiya nodded in agreement. So I decided, alright, it’s time for pizza night. And we’ve done it ever since. No complaints from the kids.

I used to think making dough was a big waste of time and such a huge mess. But now it is actually one of my favorite dinners because I usually make the dough in the afternoon before I pick the kids up from school. I have the kitchen cleaned up, and have minimal evening cleaning after pizza. Plus I realized, if you don’t make your own dough, it doesn’t taste very good. I have probably made this recipe a hundred times now, and it’s not getting old. We just love our home-made pizza dough, it comes out of the oven soft, chewy, and delicious!

In the beginning we tried many different recipes. We settled on this one because the rise time is only an hour, and it is made using a mixer. These are the ingredients, and it makes seven small personal pizzas or 2 14 inch pizzas.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups flour, plus more for rollingĀ 
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast (either active or quick rise)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water from tap
  • 3 tbl olive oil
  • 12″ saran wrap
  • 1 handful of corn meal

The tools. We accumulated them over time, nothing is required, just helps if you’re making dough routinely.

  • The Kitchen Aid is great for the initial mix of the dough. On days when I’ve am very rushed I skip the hand kneading and just let the kitchen aid do it. The downside is if you don’t feel it with your hands the look can be deceiving and the dough may not turn out the right texture. Although usually it’s always been good enough for us.
  • We love the baking stones, it make a big difference in the chewy-ness of the crust.
  • Also, I didn’t add a pizza peel in the picture, but they are very helpful for sliding the pizzas in and out of the oven.

The Process:

  1. Mix flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the mixer until well combined. I usually just use a whisk and mix it quickly.
  2. With the mixer running add hot water and oil. I use the knead attachment. It looks like a big hook.
  3. After about three to five minutes, the dough should come together and look like this:
  4. Once it comes together stop the mixer otherwise the dough will start to separate again. Sprinkle a couple hand fulls of flour on the counter to use as a knead surface.

  5. Turn the dough onto the flour scraping the bowl to leave as little dough inside as possible.

  6. Knead the dough until it feels smooth and elastic. Usually I knead 5 to 10 minutes, but you’re really going for the smooth and elastic feel more than for a certain amount of time. Work in more flour if the dough is sticky. If it feels dry once you’ve been working it for a minute, put it back in the mixer with and add water a tablespoon at a time until it becomes workable.
  7. Once it is smooth and elastic, set the dough ball on the counter and oil the inside of the mixing bowl. Then place the dough ball into the oiled mixing bowl.
  8. Cover the bowl with a piece of cling wrap.
  9. Place in bowl in a warm area. I use my oven by turning it on 350* for 1 minute then turning it off. It creates just perfect slightly-warm area.
  10. Let it rise for at least an hour. I have let it rise for as many as five hours, on days when I’ve had a busy afternoon. It still comes out great.
  11. When you come back, it should have doubled in size at least.
  12. Take dough out of the oven. Preheat the oven as high as it goes, (mine goes to 550*) and put the baking stone in the oven.
  13. Take the dough and turn it back on your floured work surface. Kneed it a few times to get the air out. Then divide into the number of crusts you want.
  14. Take each piece and roll it into a ball, then stretch it out. I use a number of methods. I usually start by stretching it with my fingers in the air.
  15. Then I’ll put it around my fist and twist my fist back and forth. This works really well for me.
  16. Then lay it on the counter.
  17. Repeat with the remaining sections of dough.
  18. Now prep the pizza peel by sprinkling a small amount of flour and cornmeal on it.
  19. Then top the pizza. A few tips I’ve learned are: Use less sauce and less cheese than you think you should. It comes out better that way.
  20. Bake until crust is golden brown, the cheese is bubbly, and the pepperoni is crispy.
  21. There is just something satisfying about eating pizza this hot and fresh. It makes it worth every moment of effort!
  22. Our pizza dough recipe is based on Chef Bobby Flay’s Recipe on Food Network.

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