Kitchen Bootcamp 2: Pizza Dough

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Yep – it’s that time of the month again – time for another Kitchen Bootcamp Challenge.  Jen’s choice of yeast breads had me shaking in my shoes, I will admit. Bread and I are not friends, you see.

I have kinda sorta made pita bread that were passable and recently a pizza crust that was edible but it’s not my favourite thing to do. All the better to challenge myself with, right?  And who better to make the challenge recipe with than the Kitchen Bootcamp goddess herself, Jen?

Unfortunately I ran out of time to complete the challenge before I left for Philadelphia where I have been since Sunday, attending two conferences. Fortunately for me, between those conferences I had the pleasure of visiting the fabulous Jen and she forced me to insisted that I participate in the challenge under her gentle guidance.  Meeting Jen for the first time was not awkward at all and it was like we had known each other forever 🙂

Jen thought it would be best to ease me back into the land of the yeast and through pizza.  The fact that she had a bounty of fabulous veggies from her CSA goodies that would make great toppings made our decision easy. Plus, Jen was very convinced that pizza would be “so easy” for me. Uh huh.

And which recipe did we use?  Well, since we were both so caught up in chatting, eating, photographing, walking Yellow Dog and struggling to get through our RSS Readers together (not to mention planning a trip to Hershey’s Word of Chocolate) we kinda forgot about the  dough until we were about to leave her house for the afternoon. No problem, says Jen and whips out a bunch of cookbooks, effortlessly scans them and finds one she feels will be suitable (you know, for me!).  I will note that we Jen did not follow the recipe exactly as apparently you simply cannot mess up when you work with yeast. Errr, yes well Jen has not seen me at work in the kitchen!!

The dough only took a few minutes to whip together in fact and Jen made me do all the work, talking me through how much flour to add, despite what recipes might say, depending on the humidity in the air etc…  I learned a few good tips 🙂

The dough roughly shaped to form the bases (we were going for a rustic look), we topped them with a few bits and pieces from Jen’s treasure trove of a fridge…

We made garlic scape pesto – a recipe tested by both myself and Jen:

(yes, Jen used the Ninja!)

We topped that with some roughly chopped artichoke hearts for a simple but really tasty pizza…

For the second pizza topping, we combined some lightly sautéed kale and garlic with this gorgeous heirloom tomato:

You can’t tell in the picture but some parts of it were nearly purple.  It kept its lovely red colour when it was baked too which was nice!

Result?

The pizza crust got the thumbs up from Jen’s hubby and from both of us.  It was thin and crispy enough that it didn’t go soggy under the weight of the toppings and actually fairly even so there were no real doughy parts.  A success that I will try to recreate at home soon, channeling some of Jen’s zen calm in the kitchen!!

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Basic Pizza Dough

Adapted from The North End Italian Cookbook by Marguerite DiMino Buonopane

Ingredients:

3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 package dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
3 cups unbleached flour (. W eused white whole-wheat flour and only used about 2.5 cups since Jen told me that it “felt right” with that amount, the weather not being so humid)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
vegetable oil (we used olive oil to coat the proofing bowl)

A pinch of dried oregano, basil, thyme (as you prefer)

Method:

1. Place the lukewarm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast and sugar over it. Combine. Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture and mix well.
2. Combine 1 cup of flour and the salt with the dried herbs.
3. Add the 1 cup of flour to the liquid mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
4. Add another half cup of flour and stir until combined and continue in this manner, a half cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The amount of flour needed will vary, depending on how moist the dough is and on the weather; a damp or humid day will cause excess moisture
5. Keeping the dough in the bowl, knead until smooth, elastic and no longer sticky.
6. Coat a medium-sized bowl with olive oil and place the ball of dough in it, rolling to coat completely.
7. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 45- 60 minutes.

To bake:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place pizza stone in preheating oven.
2. Roll or stretch out your dough to the size(s) you would like your pizza(s). Top with your sauces and toppings and place on parchment paper on pizza stone. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and the crust has a nice golden colour to it.

68 thoughts on “Kitchen Bootcamp 2: Pizza Dough”

  1. Mmmmm… fantastic! And love the toppings! I make pizza all the time yet always top it with the same things. Now you have inspired me to do something different. Great recipe too! Wow, Mardi, Macs and Yeast Dough! The skies the limit now!

    Reply
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  3. This yeast bread turned out great! The pizza looks so good. I need to make one myself after seeing yours. 🙂

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  4. Those tomatoes are amazing, where on earth do you find them? I’ve always wanted to try heirloom tomatoes. I had such a hard time getting the crust that thin, you did very well and the pizza looks fantastic. Nicely done!

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  5. Mardi, you’re pizzas look fantastic! The crust looks wonderful, and I love your choice of toppings. I have a pepperoni-loving husband (or perhaps I should say, veggie-averse husband), so it’s rare I get to splurge on the veggie toppings I really like. Plus, it looks like you had a blast with Jen in the process. What could be better?

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  6. absolutely gorgeous – i’m looking forward to trying this dough out chez nous very soon! i can practically smell the pesto and fresh tomato jumping from the photographs, beautiful!

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  7. Both pizzas look delicious! I’d say you definitely conquered the yeast dough…congrats 🙂 There is an amazing pizza dough at a local market here in Phoenix I’ve gotten in the habit of using rather than making my own, but your recipe and story is a really great inspiration to take the plunge. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. That looks SO good. Even the ball of dough looks tasty enough to eat. And the shots of the pizza with browned bubbly cheese are driving me crazy right now. I’m hungry!

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  9. Looks amazing. I loved home-made pizza bases. Going to invest in a pizza stone, as I heard it keeps the temperature constant, making for more even cooking and a crispier crust.

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  10. Oh hey! This looked so remarkably like the pizzas from an eatery some years ago in Neutral Bay, Sydney, called Gourmet Pizza Kitchen. It was the only place I never thought twice about going to in order to get a pizza… always first rate, with a mix of tastes rather than the gamble of quality in too many pizzerias. Fantastic job, Mardi.

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  11. I am wondering what your tips were for humidity…I am always interested in those little tibidts.
    And it looks like you love your ninja like I love my bullet…

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  12. NUTS!I wrote a crazy long reply to your article but my internet crapped out and I lost it all! Oh well, just wanted to say that it was a great article! Nicely done!

    Reply
  13. I do love artichoke on pizza – and yours makes me want to reach into the screen and grab a slice.

    I haven’t made any pizza since the International Incident Party, but I think it may be on the menu at my place again very soon after seeing this post!

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  14. those pizzas look heavenly – well done! i’m afraid of pizza dough myself. i need to get over it and just try it . . .

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  15. I like making pizza dough also but I make dough without yeast, then I just roll the dough really thin and the crust gets nice and crusty. It’s so quick and simple! I know, it’s like cheating 😉

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  16. I want some pizza! I was never crazy about pepperoni or sausage or pizza with green pepper so I love that my penchant for olive oil and veggies is now mainstream! My favorite is spinach, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and feta.

    Your and Jen’s looks fabulous and yummy but I do have one question. Does Yellow Dog get some too; especially now in recuperation?

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  17. This looks delicious ! Will attempt to try this one of these days when I work up the courage 🙂

    Reply

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