We pride ourselves on being a family focused restaurant. That is why we have a great kid’s menu, use fresh ingredients and even why we take the time to make our own pizza dough. We even refer to the other restaurants managed by our parent organization as our “sister” restaurants. We believe in family, we believe that time spent with family should be fun, light hearted and should warm the soul. Our country is facing a crisis right now and it breaks our hearts to not be able to open our dining room doors and give your family a chance to do those things.
So we started talking about how can we help our guests, the people we view as our extended family, connect with one another. How can we make sure they are still having a good time as a family regardless of what is happening outside their home? We thought about some things we love to do and had a brilliant idea. Why don’t we share how to make your own pizza dough! We promise to keep it easy. This is a recipe for beginners and experienced chefs, and will yield a soft, and chewy pizza crust that is sure to make the family smile at least twice …. once while you are making it, the second while you are eating it!
Let’s start with the ingredient list:
1. Flour (3 ½ cups) – Unbleached all-purpose white flour. About as simple as it gets. We are going for easy and readily available products. Might as well start off simple right?
2. Salt (3/4 teaspoon) – We know, we know, but it is a necessary flavor additive and you will appreciate it later.
3. Sugar (1 tablespoon) – Now we sound like we are contradicting ourselves. Sweet and salty? Yes, you need a bit of both. But the real reason for the sugar is that 1 tablespoon increases the activity of yeast and tenderizes the dough. Even more so when you pair it with a little olive oil.
4. Oil (2 tablespoons) – A couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil really adds wonderful flavor to the dough. You will also want to brush a thin layer of olive oil across the rolled out dough before adding the toppings. This helps avoid a soggy tasting crust.
5. Yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons) –We recommend an instant yeast as it will make things a bit easier. You need 2 ¼ teaspoons for this recipe so one standard packet should be fine.
6. Water (1 1/3 cups) – Warm water will help cut down on rise time, but you need to stay below 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Water that warm will kill the yeast. Aim to be between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Cornmeal (enough to dust the pan evenly) – No it doesn’t go into the dough mix, but it will help your pizza come off the pan much easier if you dust the pan with cornmeal first. Also if you pay close attention, most delivery style pizzas have some cornmeal on the bottom of the crust.
1. Prep the dough:
A. Whisk together the warm water, yeast and sugar in your stand mixer with a dough hook. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
B. Add the olive oil, salt and flour. Beat on a low speed for 2 minutes
i. After the 2 minutes, put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and then get the kids involved. Lightly flour their hands and then let them knead the dough for another 3-4 minutes. (while the kids are kneading the dough, clean out the mixing bowl)
C. Lightly grease your mixing bowl with oil or a non-stick spray, place the dough back in the bowl and allow it to get a thin coat of oil on all sides. Place a towel over the bowl and let it sit on the counter for 60 – 90 minutes. You want to see the dough ball double in size. This is a great time to catch an episode of Fuller House or your other family favorite through a streaming service or even catch up on cleaning bedrooms!
D. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. You want to allow it to stay at that temperature for at least 15 minutes. Lightly grease your baking sheet and then sprinkle with cornmeal.
E. While the oven is preheating, start to shape the dough. We suggest splitting the dough in half. 2 pizzas are always better than one! Of course you can always freeze the other half.
i. Go back to your lightly floured surface to shape the dough. When shaping the dough, be sure to punch it down to release any air bubbles. You can use a rolling pin, but this is supposed to be fun, encourage the kids to get in and help. Once the dough is rolled out, move to the pan and have the kids shape into a 12-inch circle making sure to create a slight lip around the edges.
ii. Let it rest for another 2-3 minutes.
F. Top and bake!
i. Push some dents into the dough to avoid bubbles, lightly brush the crust with olive oil, add sauce, your favorite toppings and cheese. Toss it in the oven for 12-15 minutes.
G. Now the best part – SLICE, EAT AND ENJOY!
i. I don’t think we need to provide instructions on this part.
We hope this helps you and your family have a few smiles, some great memories and a break from this quarantine induced boredom. From our family to yours, have fun, stay healthy and enjoy the pizza!