Bake 52 Week 7: Basic Pizza Dough

If you know me well, you should probably sit down before reading this next sentence: I wasn’t in the mood for pizza the night I made this.

Me? Not in the mood for pizza? It’s true. I’ve eaten so much pizza in the last couple of weeks that I truly wasn’t really in the mood for it this time. But, I made a sacrifice and ate it anyway 😉

I have two go-to pizza dough recipes that I use rather frequently. One is a thinner crust that bakes up nicely, and the upside to it is that the recipe makes just one crust, so I use it when I don’t want two pizzas, or pizza and breadsticks. The other makes a more bready crust, and makes enough for two pizzas, or one pizza and breadsticks (which is the route we usually go). The best thing about both of these recipes? From start to finish, I can have pizza on the table within about 30 minutes.

Being spoiled like that, I had a bit of a struggle with the prep time that the basic pizza dough recipes takes–it has to rise for 1-1 1/2 hours. It’s a rare day in my house when I plan dinner ahead to the point that I have that much leeway. And given that the day I made this pizza was an incredibly busy one, it’s a miracle that we ate before 10:00 that night. But, I pulled it off. I decided to do one pizza and make breadsticks with the rest of the dough. I skipped the suggestion to use the pizza sauce recipe in the book….I LOVE my old standby sauce, which is just 1 cup of tomato sauce seasoned with a tablespoon of Shirley J Pizza & Pasta Seasoning. So quick and easy and super yummy! With my pizza and breadsticks prepared, they were ready to go into the oven. (and if my cheese looks a bit odd to you, it because it’s frozen….we make pizza frequently enough that I find it easiest to buy mozzerella in bulk and freeze it in bags containing 2 cups of cheese, which is the perfect amount for a pizza or batch of cheesy breadsticks)

I’m a pretty big cheater when it comes to using my pizza stone. I never preheat it. Shame on me, right? Well, even on a cold stone, my pizzas always bake up nicely, so I figure there’s no point. But, trying to stick to the recipe on this one, I put my stone in a 500° oven to let it heat up for 30 minutes. And when the 30 minutes was up and I opened the oven door, smoke billowed out. My poor house was hazy and smelly for the rest of the night. Hmmmm….not a very good incentive to try that again.

I really struggled to get the pizza from the baking sheet to the stone. The recipe suggests making the pizza on a piece of parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet (or the back of a rimmed baking sheet, which is what I did), and then when it’s time to bake, sliding the parchment from the baking sheet to the hot stone in the oven. That step really needs two people. I nearly lost the pizza more than once while attempting to slide it from one location to the other, while trying not to give myself a 500° burn. I think a pizza peel would be a worthy investment if I plan to preheat my stone more often in the future.

After 8 minutes in the oven, my pizza still looked a little undercooked. So, I gave it 2 more minutes….and when the time was up, the cheese looked as though any more time in the oven would leave it burnt, while the crust looked like it still needed a minute or two to bake. Plus, one side of the pizza was much less baked than the other….not sure why it didn’t bake up evenly. In spite of that, it was cooked all the way through and seemed to pass the soggy vs. crisp test mentioned in the book.  The breadsticks looked great when they came out!

Did it pass the taste test? Yeah, I think so. Maybe not with flying colors, but everyone liked it. Typically when I make pizza, Ryan will easily eat three pieces and several breadsticks. He was done after just one of these slices. Both of my other pizza recipes include a bit of sugar in the dough and I think this recipe could have used some as well….it was a tad bland for me.  The final consensus from Joseph was that he preferred my other recipes.

I WILL try this recipe again. I think some of my issues with it were due to user error. It likely won’t go on my go-to recipe list, mainly because of the rising time involved, but I think I should be able to tweak it enough to fit my tastes and make it one that we use from time to time.

Betsy was this week’s host and the full recipe and diretions can be found on her blog.

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5 Responses to “Bake 52 Week 7: Basic Pizza Dough”

  1. Jen Says:

    I really did give myself a burn trying to get it in the oven!! And I’m so glad you mentioned the smoke with preheating the baking stone– that happened to me, too!!! In fact, it was so awful, I set off the smoke alarm, my son laughed and announced, “Mom’s baking again!!” and then I burned my finger. It was a bad minute. 🙂 I love your idea of making breadsticks with the other part of the dough. YUM!

  2. Amanda Says:

    I am starting to feel like the only one who didn’t think to make bread sticks and I might never forgive myself for it! What do you put under the cheese on those, they look delicious!

    • jenn Says:

      To be honest, these breadsticks weren’t as yummy as they usually turn out….maybe due to the difference in what we’re used to with the crust, but I don’t know. I always sprinkle the dough with some garlic salt and season salt, top with mozzerella, and then sprinkle the top with Italian seasoning and paremsan. Typically, I fold the dough over, slice into breadsticks, and then twist them. I didn’t have time to do that this time though.

  3. bekah Says:

    I think your pizza and breadsticks look REALLY great. You’re smart to say you’ll give it another shot before throwing it out… the 2nd time always helps in the whole elimination process.

  4. Bake 52 Week 11: Ciabatta Bread | ZollyZoo…In The Kitchen Says:

    […] baking.  I put my stone in, hoping I’d have better results with pre-heating it than I did last time.  No such luck.  When I opened the oven door, smoke poured out again and it was evident that my […]

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