Yeast-based foods that need to rise have been my nemesis on occasion. And please do not ask about pie crusts. The first rule of Pie Crusts is do not talk about the Pie Crusts. I know I could buy pre-baked shells but it's the principle of the thing. The Spousal Unit loves lemon meringue pie and, as God is my witness - and apparently Scarlett O'Hara too - I am going to make one from scratch. Someday.
Ahem. Anyway, I saw this recipe on Food Network and thought, "Oh heck, even I can't screw that up." I tried it and, ergo! Voila! Viola! Presto Magnifico! I created pizza dough that actually worked! And worked again! (I realize this is a lot of exclamation points but y'all really have no idea :)).
Pizza Dough (via Food Network courtesy Giada DeLaurentiis)
1 (1/4 oz) packet active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups warm water @ 100-110 degrees
Olive oil, for drizzling
Put the water in a small bowl. Add the yeast and stir until dissolved.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Add the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add a little extra water, one tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too sticky, add extra flour, one tablespoon at a time. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. (This part took me once or twice to get the "feel" of the dough that told me I had enough of a water to flour ratio. What I found was if my palms felt like they were slightly sweaty then the dough was generally moist and elastic enough.)
With floured hands, knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 10 to 12 minutes. This is the fun part 'cause you're gonna need some arm muscles:
Not necessarily like those (that's me on the left and, boy, do I miss those arms) but you do want to bear down on the dough and use the heels of your hands to fold and knead the dough rather than your fingers. As you do, you'll notice it become much smoother and more pliable although it may still be slightly sticky.
Using a fist, deflate the dough in the center and cut it
into three equal-sized pieces. Form the dough into three balls and put into three oiled bowls. Cover each bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rest for one hour. Remove the dough and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for up to one day.
Whatever portion I'm using within the next 24-48 hours I will just leave in the fridge in a plastic Baggie. The rest I will put in the freezer until I'm ready to use it and it freezes very well. The dough makes a very good thin crust pizza. I usually add my sauce and whatever toppings I want and then cook it at 350-375 to the degree of doneness I prefer. Is yummy :).