Friday, May 11, 2007

Definitely the best pizza crust!

This originated in Cooking Light, but I've tweaked it repeatedly to come up with my ideal crust. This recipe makes one deep dish, two hand-tossed or three thin-crust pizzas. You can make the dough on the weekend, then freeze it after the first rise to use later in the week.

2 cups very warm water (about 120 degrees is best)
3 tsp honey
3 tsp yeast
1/2 cup wheat germ
5 cups flour (or less)
1 1/2 tsp salt

Dissolve honey in water, then add yeast. Stir once, then let sit until foam covers the water's surface.

Add wheat germ and stir. Add 2 cups flour and mix well. If you have a mixer with kneading hook, start using it now. If not, mix with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula. Keep adding flour until dough begins to pull from edges of bowl. Let dough rest 20 minutes.

Add salt, then flour 1/2 cup at a time until you can handle it easily with floured hands.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise about an hour, until doubled in size, or when it doesn't spring back when you poke it gently.

Divide the dough into halves for hand-tossed pizzas and thirds for thin-crust. (If freezing, see below *.) Begin pre-heating your oven to 425 degrees.

Spread the dough out on a pizza stone or cookie sheet. Bake for 10-25 minutes at 425 degrees or until golden. Remove from oven and gently work a long spatula up under the dough, then flip it.

Top with sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake until cheese bubbles and browns.

Remove from oven and brush crust with olive oil. Voila!

* If you plan on freezing the dough, punch out all the air from the dough ball. Dust with flour, then wrap in two layers of plastic wrap and put it in the freezer.

To thaw, pull it out from the freezer and put in fridge the morning before you want to make pizza. When you get home from work, pull it out of the fridge and let rise at room temperature.

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