Thursday, July 29, 2010
Refrigerator dough pizza
Am I the last person on the Internet to discover refrigerator dough? Because this super easy bread dough has rocked my world since my neighbor introduced me to it a few weeks ago. It is called refrigerator dough because you can make it and keep it at the ready in the fridge for up to two weeks. Or so they tell me. It hasn't lasted more than a few days at my house and I've been making it pretty regularly. The dough itself takes just a few minutes to make and requires no kneading. If you have a mixer with a dough hook it is even easier.
I'm not entirely sold on this dough for a loaf of bread, it does make a nice crusty loaf but there are other simple recipes that yield a better crumb. Still, I'm here to tell you that this dough makes absolutely incredible pizza. And if you make a practice out of keeping a supply in the refrigerator you can have a gorgeous, homemade pizza ready for the table in about thirty minutes. On those nights when you just don't know what to cook it is a real lifesaver.
You will need:
1 1/2 Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
1 12 Tablespoons Kosher salt
3 Cups Water
4 1/2 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
Dissolve the yeast and salt in 3 cups of lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Add the flour and stir or mix thoroughly with dough hook. Do not knead the dough, which will be very wet. Cover loosely in a 5 quart bowl and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours. After that time, move the dough to the refrigerator. If you intend to use the dough on the same day you make it, make sure that you plan ahead so that the dough can chill for a few more hours to make it easier to work with. And as I said: the dough will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
When you take it out of the fridge it will look like this:
To make your pizza, remove the amount of dough that you will need for the number and size pizzas you will be preparing. One batch of dough normally yields about five medium-sized, thick-crusted pizzas for our family. Then, pre-heat your oven (and baking stones if you are using them) to 400 degrees. Next, lightly flour your work space and loosely shape the pizzas. The dough won't be very elastic when you first remove it from the refrigerator so you will need to shape it once more before assembly. Now, prepare the toppings for your pizzas. I'll confess that I have not once made a traditional pizza with this dough. Since it is the height of summer here in Virginia and my garden is in full swing I usually just forage for toppings -- or send the kids out and see what they come back with!! Fresh ingredients make all the difference.
Once the oven has reached cooking temperature, move your dough to whatever cooking surface you will be using. Make sure to lightly cover it with corn flour first and don't forget to shape the dough one final time now that it is softer and more elastic. Then simply add your ingredients, maybe drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of Kosher salt, a bit of Parmesan cheese, and then place it on the center rack of the oven. The pizza will be ready when the cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.
For this blog post I prepared two small pizzas, one with thinly sliced salami, finely chopped, fresh basil, lemon thyme, Monterey pepper jack, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. The other pizza was a simple tomato, basil and the same combination of cheese. Both were yummy!
If you try this pizza dough, I hope you get as much enjoyment out of it as my family has!