I have had some major snafus with pizza dough in the last couple of years. I’m not quite sure what the problem has been, but I remember days when pizza-making was super easy. I could just whip up some dough, let it rise, and easily roll it out, slathering on the toppings with a really, really happy face. The last couple of times have been angry face extravaganzas. Rolling, watching the dough jump, no, leap! back into place, waiting for a few minutes (like they always say! be patient!) and then rolling again. During those few minutes, a lot of words like this – #&%*$^%^ – were said.
Of course, eventually I’d get something resembling a pizza, nevermind the wayward shape. And then it would come time to bake it, and I’d run into more problems. Dough sticking to the wrong surface, despite the hefty slathering of cornmeal on the surface. Toppings falling off. My pizza stone being a thorn in my side (I have never successfully used one, but maybe mine is just sucky.) – the problems are ongoing. I do end up with a pizza – I haven’t resorted to rolling them over and making calzones (though I should, actually), and I haven’t quite ruined dinner because of it. But still….it could definitely be better.
That explains why you haven’t seen a pizza recipe over here since May of 2010 (I still remember that pizza, too. Some kinda tasty). Damn, that’s over 2 years! Without pizza! How in the world have we gotten by without pizza?! I actually have no idea.
But that changes as of today. How fitting for November 1st, no?
By now, I’m sure we’ve all heard of Jim Lahey’s no-knead dough, right? He makes bread in Dutch ovens, for crying out loud. P.S, why have I not tried this??!! I have seen his pizza recipe all over the Internets, for months. I get a slice (pun intended) of hope, then I remember how my past adventures in pizza dough turned out, and I close the page. A few months ago, I even clipped a recipe from Bon Appetit, and every time I see it in my stack, I have skipped by it.
But then a couple of weeks ago, I happened to have bacon and corn in the fridge, and I happened to remember a recipe from Joy the Baker that I pinned a few weeks ago, and I decided that this was the moment.
(LOOK HOW PRETTY!!!!!!)
And now, there is no turning back, folks. The pizza dough was easy-peasy to make, it rose nicely, though it was dry as all get-out, and my smoke detector didn’t even go off when the oven hit 500 F. It was meant to be. Meanwhile, I have a few extra doses of homemade pizza sauce and another pizza’s worth of dough in the freezer, and I swear it’s asking me to put more bacon and this time, some brussels sprouts on top.
pps: thanks for all the lovely comments on the last post. I’m glad I’m here, too. But more importantly, I’m glad YOU are. xo – hw
Corn, Bacon, and Arugula Pizza
Adapted from Joy the Baker, dough makes 2 pizzas
time commitment: 3 hours (2 hours of rising dough, inactive)
printable version (with pizza dough recipe)
1/2 recipe of Jim Lahey’s no-knead dough (recipe below)
3/4 c pizza sauce (store-bought or homemade. I used a wayward variation of this recipe)
1 1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese
2 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 c cooked/roasted corn
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
arugula and red pepper flakes for topping
Follow recipe for pizza dough below. Meanwhile, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 500 degrees F right before you start pressing your dough into the pan.
Top pizza with sauce (all the way to the edges) cheese, and toppings.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the edges are charred and bubbling. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for a few moments then slice and top with crushed red pepper flakes and fresh arugula. Serve immediately.
Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough
Adapted from Joy the Baker & Bon Appetit, March 2012; makes dough for 2 pizzas
time commitment: 2 hours, 15 minutes (2 hours rising dough, inactive)
printable version (pizza dough only)
3 c bread flour
3/4 c spelt flour
2 1/2 t (1 packet) active dry yeast
3/4 t salt
3/4 t honey
1 1/2 c warm water
extra virgin olive oil for the pan
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, salt, and honey. Add warm water all at once. Work the mixture together until all is incorporated, using either a wooden spoon or your hands. The dough will be slightly shaggy and much drier than what you’re used to with pizza dough.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Let rise at room temperature for 2 hours.
After resting, dump the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide in half. [Note: If you’re only going to make one pizza, wrap the second piece of dough in plastic wrap, place in a ziplock bag, and place in the freezer. Defrost dough in the fridge overnight and allow to come to room temperature before pressing out into the pizza crust.]
Working with one dough at a time, liberally oil a 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Place the rounded dough on the pan and stretch and press the dough out into a flat rectangle. If the dough springs bag as you’re pressing it out, simply wait five minutes to allow the dough to rest and then try again. The dough should be very thin and may tear in places are you are spreading it, but don’t worry – just patch it up.