by Stephen Dafoe
Whether it is during the week or weekends, pizza is an excellent meal choice that is quick and easy and worth the time invested.
Not only is making pizza dough great for that traditional pizza, buffalo chicken pizza or donair pizza, it’s also great for other dishes, including donair flatbreads, focaccia, stromboli, and even crackers.
Below is a video of the process, plus some details on flour and yeast.
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp (or packet) active yeast
2 cups Type 00 flour
2 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp olive oil
Getting your yeast right is an essential first step.
If it is frothy and foamy after 10 minutes, that is exactly what you want. If it isn’t – you probably should chuck it and try again.
One cup of warm water is what you’ll need, but make sure it is not too hot, or the yeast will be killed off. Somewhere around 45 degrees Celsius (110 F) is perfect.
Yeast works by giving off carbon dioxide, eating the sugars in the dough ingredients. This process creates air pockets in the dough, making for a lighter dough in your pizza when baked.
Take your cup of warm water, pop in your active dry yeast, stir it and set your timer for 10 minutes.
Spicing the Flour
I’ve been using pizza flour for some time now, particularly since Morinville Sobeys started carrying Type 00 flour.
Type 00 flour refers to the Italian system of grading flour and tells you it is the finest grain. It also has lower gluten than others, making it a good choice for pizza.
While the yeast is rising, I mix my 2 cups of flour with the salt, sugar (which the yeast will eat), and my various spices.
I find putting some garlic powder, and other spices in the flour give the dough something a little extra, but it is an optional step. How much I put in is up to mood mostly.
Adding the yeast and oil
When my yeast is frothy, I pour it into the dry ingredients and start to mix it up. I find reversing direction part way through helps pull the dry materials off the side of the bowl into the mix.
When it is partly mixed, I add my olive oil to the mixture.
When the mix is starting to pull together, I dump it on my well-floured work surface.
There is – in my opinion – no right or wrong way to knead the dough. I typically work it with my knuckles, flipping it over on itself and pressing with knuckles and hands to make sure it is all packed together.
Proofing the dough
When the kneading is finished, compact it into a ball, coat the dough with a bit of olive oil, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
You can proof the dough on the counter, covering it with a warm damp towel, but I like to proof it in the oven.
Simply pop on your oven light, and that should give you about 32 degrees Celsius (90 F).
Leave in the oven for 30 or 40 minutes until it has increased in size.
Stretching the Dough
The last advice is this – do not roll your dough as it will remove natural air pockets.
Gently press the dough down into a disc and begin stretching it outward slowly from the middle, rotating as you go.
When it starts to expand, you can transfer the dough to the back of your knuckles, gently tossing and stretching as you rotate.
There is nothing like making a pizza at home.