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Basic Pizza Dough

Basic Pizza Dough

This is basic pizza dough. Leftover dough can be quickly baked (just enough so that it's not burned), and frozen. It's easier to make a generous amount of dough.

Ingredients: four 27 cm diameter pizza crust worth

Bread (strong) flour
500 g
Cake flour
100 g
Dry yeast
10 g
Sugar
1 tablespoon
Salt
1/2 teaspoon
Skim milk powder
1 tablespoon
Olive oil
2 tablespoons
Lukewarm water (less than 50 °C)
300 ml

Steps

1. Measure out the flour, dry yeast, sugar, salt and skim milk powder, and combine in a bowl.
2. Make a well in the middle of the flour, and add 90% of the lukewarm water. The water should not be hot to the touch, or the yeast will die.
3. Mix the contents of the bowl. If you cover your hands with plastic gloves the dough won't stick to them. If the dough is too stiff, add the rest of the lukewarm water. It can be on the stiff side.
4. Mix in the olive oil. Knead the dough until it cleanly comes off the sides of the bowl (about 5 minutes).
5. Knead the dough on a work surface. I use a thick (3 mm) vinyl sheet as a kneading surface. Fold the dough towards you as you knead.
6. Knead, or bash the dough on the work surface (it's great for releasing stress). Get rid of your stress for 20 minutes.
7. When the dough is silky smooth and bouncy, the kneading is done. Leave to rise (1st rising) in a 37°C oven for about 1 hour.
8. When the dough has about doubled in volume, the 1st rising is done. The rising time will vary depending on the season (temperature, humidity). It should double approximately in volume.
9. Poke the dough with your index finger, to make sure the hole doesn't fill back up. Apparently this is called the "finger test". If the hole fills up, let the dough rise a bit more.
10. Cut the dough into 4 portions with a pastry scraper (or a knife). Round off each portion of dough, so that they have a smooth, taut surface (rather like steamed buns).
11. Roll the dough balls on a work surface to make their surfaces really smooth.
12. (This is a key point) Rest the dough in the refrigerator. Wrap each ball of dough in plastic wrap, and rest for at least 2 hours (or up to half a day).
13. Even in the refrigerator, the dough will rise in residual heat. Press down lightly to deflate the dough, and round off the dough again using bread flour (not listed) to dust your work surface.
14. Press each dough ball out with the fat part of your palm into a circle. Since the dough has rested in the refrigerator, it will be very easy to flatten.
15. You can flatten it to about 7-8 mm in thickness just using your hands, but use a rolling pin to make it about 5 mm thick. Make sure to keep the dough circular.
16. Cover the dough circle with one of the pieces of plastic wrap you used to wrap the balls. Stroke with your hands to shape and smooth out the dough.
17. Poke several holes in the dough with a fork to finish. Stab it repeatedly, but gently! The basic pizza crust is done.

Story Behind this Recipe

I think that kneading flour into dough is the ultimate Slow Food. When I'm leisurely kneading dough on a day off while listening to music, all my daily stress just disappears. The dough will become more delicious too.