Pizza night begins on Thursday night for me. After the boys are in bed, the house is cleaned up, the dishes are being whirred clean in the dishwasher, the laundry is tumbling, but generally just before I step into the shower, a little reminder goes off on my phone. *MAKE PIZZA DOUGH*. Yelling at me really. Telling me not to forget or else I’ll have to make an unwanted Friday stop at the grocery store for dough and 20 other things not on my list (though I wouldn’t mind some fresh flowers and a few bottles of Topo Chico). I’m always happy to do it after I get over the initial shock that I almost forgot again. I first trudge to the kitchen, and (most important step) I turn the lamp on that sits on the counter for extra coziness. I may pour myself just a splash more wine and then out of the pantry I pull the flour, the olive oil, the salt, the yeast from the fridge and a mason jar from the shelf to measure out my warm water. It’s a ritual that tells me – the weekend is almost here! All you have to do is just lean forward and momentum will take you right up to that moment you walk through your home’s front door on Friday night. On pizza night! The best family tradition that rolls around every single week with the predictability of clockwork. Wanted to get our favorite recipe down here because I’ve tried so many in the decade that we’ve done Pizza Friday (even before we had kids!) and this one truly is the best. It freezes well if you want to make it in bulk, it comes together in 10 minutes, you can make it the day of, or (if you’re a working mom like me) you can make it the night before and it goes into the fridge for an overnight rise. It tastes even better for the extended rise.
2 teaspoons/5 grams dry active yeast
1 3/4 cups/ 420 ml lukewarm water
4 ½ cups/625 grams all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons/5 grams kosher salt
2 tablespoons/30 milliliters olive oil
Put the warm lukewarm water in a mixing bowl (use a stand mixer or food processor if you prefer – I always use my kitchenaid mixer). Sprinkle yeast over water and let dissolve, about 2 minutes.
Add flour, salt and olive oil and mix well until flour is incorporated and dough forms, about 5 minutes. It may look a little rough or pockmarked.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Turn dough out onto surface and knead lightly until it looks smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Coat a bowl in oil and place your dough in the bowl and let rise in the refrigerator overnight. You can skip this rise in the refrigerator and use the dough right away, but this cool, slow rise makes it easier to stretch and gives the pizza a crisper texture and more nuanced flavor.) You can also freeze it for future use.
To make your pizza: preheat oven to 475. Get bowl out of fridge (I usually let it sit out for a couple hours first to make it easier to stretch) and pour out onto on a lightly floured surface. Split dough into either two pieces for large pizzas or into four for small. Form each piece into a smooth, firm ball. Flour lightly, cover loosely with plastic wrap and top with a kitchen towel. Leave to rest for about 15-30 minutes. Now is a good time to get your toppings ready, make your sauce.
Now, to bake pizzas stretch into your desired size. If you like thick pizza – make it thick. If you like thin – make it thin! You can do this with your hands or a rolling pin. We use cookie sheets to cook ours but you could anything. You can use either olive oil or fine cornmeal on your pan to ensure that it doesn’t stick. We like a crispier crust so we pre bake the pizza at 475 for about ten minutes before putting any of our toppings on. If you like a softer pizza – just add your toppings before you put it in. Baking time will depend on the thickness of your pizza, so it can vary from 10-20 minutes. Just keep watch the first few times you make it and make a note. We also like to broil for a couple minutes at the end for yummy cheese.
I’ll make another post soon with our pizza sauce recipe and topping ideas! Enjoy!