Allison’s Pizza Dough

November 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Every weekend my daughter goes to her best friend’s house for pizza and movie night. Last weekend she came back from her friend’s house and said that Allison, the mom, is making amazing pizza dough and that people are asking to buy it. Before I had kids I made pizza dough quite frequently and came up with very creative recipes including a whole wheat dough with flax seeds and fresh herbs. After having kids I trimmed my baking and started to buy organic pizza dough from a natural foods store. I called Allison and she was more than happy to share her recipe with me.

To Allison, pizza and movie night is a family bonding ritual and a way to punctuate the week. Allison’s learnt how to make pizza dough from Luigi, an Italian brother-in-law. One of Allison’s favorite places to eat pizza is at Terroni’s in Toronto.

Cooking time 1 hour
Makes one medium-sized medium crust pizza
Or one large thin crust pizza
Bake pizza at 450 F

1 cup (250 ml) warm water 100 degrees F
1 tsp (5 ml) sugar
2 1/4 tsp (12 ml) yeast
1/8 tsp (1 ml) sea salt
2 cups (500 ml) + 1/8 cup (30 ml) all-purpose unbleached

3/4 cup (185 ml) pasta sauce
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) black sesame seeds
3 cups (750 ml) organic spinach
1/2 cup (125 ml) cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 ml) pitted mixed olives
1/4 (65 ml) goat’s cheese (optional)
1/4 cup (65 ml) thinly sliced red onions

1. Rinse a large mixing bowl with warm water to heat the bowl.

2. Add the warm water, sugar, and yeast to the bowl. Without disturbing the yeast gently guide all yeast granules into the water and stir ever so lightly to ensure that the yeast is submerged. Let the yeast stand for about 10 minutes or until the mixture foams.

3. Add the flour to the mixing bowl. If using a standing mixer, lock the mixer head and mix on low until the mixture is solid and comes clean from the sides and forms a ball. If the mixture is wet add some flour and if to dry add a bit of water. If hand mixing, mix the flour with a spoon and transfer to a work surface and continue kneading by hand. Transfer back into the bowl.

4. Add 1/8 cup of flour to the bowl and coat the outside of the dough and bowl. The raising process draws out moisture from the dough and the flour prevents the dough from sticking to the bowl.

5. Cover the top of the bowl with a tea towel to prevent the top of the dough from drying. Take the bowl and place in the oven on the lowest heat setting for the raising process. If the oven is too hot, you can keep the door open. Another option is to place the bowl near a heat source such as a heat vent, being careful not to cook the dough. The dough is ready when it doubles in size about half an hour.

6. Flour your work surface and place the dough in the middle. Work the dough with your hands and flatten out to the desired thickness. Flip the dough with the back of your hands and not your fingers to prevent making holes especially when making a thin crust.

7. Grease your pizza pan with 1 tsp of olive oil or lightly flour to prevent the pizza from sticking to the pan.

8. Fold your dough in half and transfer to the pizza pan.

9. Fold the edges of the crust in and pinch. If you like you can stuff the crust with cheese.

10. Pour the pasta sauce on to the middle of the dough. Start in the middle and use a spoon and spread the sauce in a circular motion working from the inside out. Drizzle the crust with olive oil and press with black sesame seeds.

11. Layer the pizza with the toppings in this order. Spinach, cherry tomatoes, olives, goat’s cheese, and sliced red onions.

12. Place your pizza in the middle rack of the oven until the crust is cooked about 10 minutes, this makes a crispy crust. Transfer the pizza to the top rack and cook until the toppings are cooked 3-5 minutes.

13. Set the oven on broil and cook for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese and toppings. Turn off before the spinach wilts.

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