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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Best Pizza Dough Ever!


Before everyone gets tired of my New Year's Feast, I'd better change to something new. Yes, it's new on I Just Love My Apron but not new on the blogosphere. It's pizza time.

Pizza and I are not real buddies. I get tired of it easily and have enough of it after a few days. Unlike Keith, my husband. He can't get enough of it and it becomes an easy-way-out dish for him. When I'm not in a mood to cook (we all have that moment right?), he will do a happy dance if I suggest we go for  pizza.

However, once one of my good friends, Tai, introduced me to a Thai version of pizza.  After that, I have a new perspective of it. Pizza can get Sassy! Yes sassy- at least in my opinion. She put basil pork and tom yum chicken for the toppings. It was bomb at the party. Now I only need to find a great pizza dough recipe for an all-homemade version. I've been postponing looking for, and experimenting with, a good recipe until other friends nagged me about it. 

To show how passionate I had become for making pizza, I ordered a brand new cast iron pizza pan. Now you think, "she's serious" right? No, not at all. It was sitting in the kitchen and got dusty after it arrived. Well, the time had come. I found one great recipe. It's easy, simple, and worth the try. Since then, I usually have the dough on hand and freeze it till I need it. The recipe is from the 101 Cookbooks ( It's claimed to be the best pizza dough ever - which I quite agree with. In the blog post, it stated that it came from the Bread Baker's Apprentice Cookbook by Peter Reinhart

One thing I noticed from the recipe is that it uses cold water with instant dry yeast. It's quite interesting since most of the bread recipes call for luke warm water with dry yeast. However, it will yield the best result if you leave it to "ferment" in the fridge overnight. I even used to leave it 2 nights and it tasted great. You just let the ingredients and the magic of yeast do the work and work themselves out. How easy is that?

I will post a Thai topping in the future but for now please enjoy the dough!

Tomato, Basil, Turkey sun dried tomato sausage, Mozerella cheese

Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza Dough Recipe
Courtesy of
Tweaked slightly on directions

Yield: Six- 6 oz pizza crust. I divided into 2 balls for 14"-15" pan.
Note: For a thin crust, you can divide it to 3 balls for 14" pan.

4 1/2 cups (20.25 ounces) unbleached high-gluten, bread, or all-purpose flour, chilled. (I always use bread flour)
1 3/4 (.44 ounce) teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon (.11 ounce) instant yeast. (I use 1 package dry instant yeast.)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) olive oil
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) water, ice cold (40°F)
Semolina flour OR cornmeal for dusting
Flour for dusting

Rolling pin
Zip lock bags
Baking sheet

  • Combine flour, salt, and yeast in a bowl ready for an electric mixer. Stir in oil and cold water. At low speed with the dough hook, mix the flour until it is all absorbed. Switch to medium speed and mix for 5-7 mins. The dough will become smooth, sticky, and elastic. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl.
  • If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour.
  • If you are mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the metal spoon into cold water and knead it.
  • Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the lightly floured space. I use a different process from the original recipe. It works fine for me. At a prepared space, I knead it a few times. I cut the dough into 3 equal pieces or larger if you have a bigger pizza pan. Sprinkle flour over the dough.
  • Prepare freezer plastic zip lock. Add 1 tbs olive oil and swirl it to coat. 
  • Put the dough in the zip lock. Place it on the baking tray and refrigerate over night. You can freeze it for up to 3 months according to Peter. Transfer them to thaw in the fridge a day before baking.
  • When you are ready to make a pizza, take the dough outside the fridge about 30 mins before baking.
  • Preheat oven to 500 F.
  • Dust the counter with flour and remove the dough from the bag. Use a pin roll to roll it out flat and to your desired thickness. After rolling, I spin the dough by hand to expand it. 
  • Generously sprinkle yellow cornmeal on a prepared cast iron pizza pan.
  • Place the stretched dough on the pan.
  • Begin to put on your toppings. On this post I used homemade pesto, Monterrey jack and mozzarella cheese, caramelized onions, and Italian cooked sausage. I prefer to have my meat cooked before topping it.
  • Bake for 12-15 mins.

Pesto, Cameralized onions, Cheeses, and Italaian sausage

Before I leave the post, I participated in Nancy @ Spicie Foodie YBR for January. I encourage you all to check it out and join the fun!

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    Sharmilee! :) said...

    Looks yummilicious

    Magdalena said...

    I will have to try this pizza dough then - as I have not found so far my favorite pizza dough and I still search for the ideal one.
    I expriment with toppings, too; once I made pizza with nori and arugula - according to a recipe which I found in a cookbook of the Japanese author. It was awful, in this case the mixture of Italian and Japanese was a total failure ! As regards Thai ingredients on pizza - this may work out; I have here a book by Eric Kayser - French baker and pastry chef, and I am tempted to make his Thai style chicken tart (the dough with green curry paste; and the toppping - eggplants and curry chicken, as far as I remember).
    Kind regards !

    Faith said...

    That pizza dough does look fantastic! I've been looking for a thin-crust, yet pliable dough with crispy edges to make New York-style pizza (my favorite!) at home...I haven't had much luck with it, but this dough looks fantastic and I am definitely going to give it a try. Also, I'm in love with your toppings! The idea of a sassy pizza is so much fun! :)

    lequan said...

    Tanantha, I just made pizza recently, but I usually use premade pizza dough that I buy from the store. Now with this recipe I don't need to buy any more pizza doughs. Isn't it funny how there's always one person in a relationship that loves pizza? That would be me, hubby actually dislikes it. I know, I have a weird one...teehee. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I'll have to try it next time I make pizza. Your pizza looks delicious. I bet I could eat the whole thing - yummy!

    Lazaro Cooks! said...

    Fantastic job with the pizza dough. Quite counterintuitive indeed. Awesome photos as well, vibrant, they jump off the screen.


    Magic of Spice said...

    Hey, Tanantha
    I am a big pizza lover...and that finished crust does look very tempting. Plus I trust you and if you say it's that good then I know it is :)

    denise @ quickies on the dinner table said...

    Hi Tanantha - I think you know this post has me excited as it's no longer a secret that I'm a bread nerd LOL

    I'm not surprised that you found this pizza dough fantastic as cold rise dough has a special flavour compared to normal rise dough.

    I can't wait to see your Thai pizza recipe - love that there is no tomato sauce on this one. Oh, and gorgeous pics too, as usual!

    Anonymous said...

    Have you tried it with whole wheat? That would be good too. Got to try this!

    Anonymous said...

    A gorgeous looking pizza, the crust with this dough recipe looks just perfect! Love your toppings with pesto & sausage, and can't wait for your Thai pizza!

    Angie's Recipes said...

    The pizza looks heavenly, from the crust to the topping!

    Spicie Foodie said...

    Hi Tanantha, now that looks like a great pizza dough and delicious pizza variations! I'll be waiting for your Thai version. Also this dough recipe sounds very interesting and one to try for sure. Could you please email me your recipe photo? So I can add you to the roundup on the 31st. Thanks:)

    Monet said...

    Unlike you, I could eat pizza every single day. I can't believe I haven't tried this pizza crust recipe before...we are just going to have make a beautiful pie this weekend! I love the toppings you used unique and delicious. Thank you for sharing all of this yumminess. I hope you have a great Friday. The weekend approaches!

    druidaccountforsale said...

    My isn't it sad i can't snatch that out from the screen.LOL. I love it, picture perfect I can imagine the aroma caressing my nose.

    Tawny @ The Year of The Cookie said...

    Ok, whenever anyone says something is 'the best' i have a hard time turning it down! And this does look like it could be the best!

    Jessie said...

    Those toppings look so original (and delicious!) - I've never even thought of straying away from the typical margerita-type pizza (perhaps that's why I never make pizza :P ). With such a solid pizza dough recipe as that one, you could get really creative with the toppings! I see a whole new world opening here, Tanantha! :D

    Evan @swEEts said...

    That is one good looking pizza crust! We love pizza at our house so we're always looking for new things to try.. this sounds great Tanantha! yum yum yum!

    Biren @ Roti n Rice said...

    It's been a while since I made pizza. Perhaps it's time to make it again. I know my boys will be happy if I do. Sounds like a fantastic crust!

    She's Cookin' said...

    I used to make my own dough for pizza years ago! You've inspired me to do it again - pizza is still one of my favorite foods :)

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