I picked up Jamie Oliver’s older book, The Naked Chef, and found a recipe for pizza dough I really like. It makes 4 medium sized pizzas but I’ve been doing as he suggests and prebaking the extras for 5 minutes, then freezing. Makes it very easy to pull out a pizza shell, top it and bake it whenever I want! I added some olive oil to the dough. He uses the same dough recipe for bread, rolls, foccacia, beer bread, etc. with minor variations but didn’t mention adding olive oil, which I’ve always added to pizza dough.
I can begin to mix this in my big Kitchen Aid mixer but then it bogs down. My mixer is 20 years old so maybe newer ones can handle it. But I start it in the mixer and get everything pulled together, then finish kneading it by hand for 5 minutes or so. He also uses half semolina flour and half bread flour. I just use all whole purpose flour.
- 3/4 oz active dried yeast (about 8 tsp or round up to 3 Tbs)
- 2 Tbs honey (or sugar)
- just over 2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 7-8 cups flour
- 2 Tbs salt
- extra flour for kneading
Mix the yeast with 2 cups of lukewarm water and honey and let it sit while you measure out the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and hook up your dough hook. Give a quick stir to distribute the salt evenly, then pour in the yeast and water mix. I can run this a few minutes, until the bowl is being cleaned basically (all the flour incorporated). You might need a bit more water. Knead about 5 minutes, either in your mixer or by hand.
Place in a bowl and make a few slits in the dough with a sharp knife and put in a warm window sill or other place, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in volume. Depending on weather and how warm your house is this could take an hour or two. If your house is chilly, you can turn the oven on for just a minute to warm it up, then turn it off and place the dough in there with the oven light on.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. This would be a good time to start preheating your oven, to 475 F or 500F. Put your pizza stone in the oven BEFORE starting to preheat if you’re using a stone. It needs to preheat like the oven.
Roll each piece of dough out into a circle about 3/8″ high. Let them rise a few minutes. I find large baking pans or trays to be good for this as 4 pizzas take up a fair bit of room! I also learned to poke a bunch of holes in the dough with a fork or paring knife to help keep the dough flat as it bakes. Without toppings on it to weight it down the dough can rise up several inches in places as it’s baking. Poking holes in it keeps that from happening. Bake each about 5 minutes, one after the other. Let any you’re going to freeze cool, the wrap and freeze.
Top the one you’re eating tonight however you’d like. My current favorite is Pizza Margherita.
If you’ve got fresh tomatoes you can make this delightful marinara sauce. Or just use a few cans of canned tomatoes instead. The other night I made a vegetarian pizza with slices of zucchini, onions, sliced tomatoes and olives. Mmmmm…
When you’re ready to use a frozen one, just pull it out of the freezer while the oven is preheating, top it as you like and bake it until done. You don’t need to thaw it out first.
For snacks, you could divide this into 8 mini size pizzas so the kids can top them and bake them as needed.