Friday, April 22, 2011
overnight pizza dough
Well my dears, the dust has settled. All projects (except, you know, the long term phd-y ones) are done and I have gone back to buying root vegetables and whole grains after a month or two or three of 4 dollar kombucha and bagels from the coop. In some ways its good-- more food out of the house means more time out of the house might mean making meaningful theatre-things happen or at least interacting with other human beings not through a screen (BOWLING TOGETHER). But it also means I look at my bank account and am like-- 30 dollars at Rock Bottom? TWICE IN A WEEK?
None of this, though, is news to the army of thoughtful diligent people who get home at 5 every day or live in a major city where takeout is a thing. Such folks, I imagine, have have already figured out how to calibrate the line between spending a whole day making a cake and hoping that there will be snacks at an art opening to eat for dinner. But some of us are still figuring out the sweet spot between extreme homebodydom and eating fake Mexican food at sad chains, ok?
If necessity is the mother of invention, then I am glad that my navel-gazing post-adolescent search for both a homemade life and a performance-person's schedule led me to this pizza dough. It is really wonderful and keeps for a few days so that you can bake off a quick pizza whenever.
Pinapple feta, cheddar&peas&hotsauce. This recipe makes enough pizzas that you can figure out new and cool and weird toppings your own damn self. Do try a simple pineapple/feta pizza though, especially if you are a fruit on pizza naysayer-- this combo recently converted me.
Overnight Pizza Dough
(makes enough for 6 big personal pizzas, but you can freeze some)
(adapted a little from Peter Reinhardt via 101 cookbooks)
+ 4 1/2 cups flour
+ 1 3/4 t salt
+ 1 t instant yeast
+ 1/4 cup (2 ounces) olive oil
+ 2 c water
-- Combine ingredients and stir/flop your hand around in the bowl until the dough comes together.
-- Knead for as long as you can stand it. 7 minutes? The dough should be tacky and almost sticky and have that awesome elasticity and sheen that dough gets when you knead it right. Yes! If not add more water. If it is too wet and sticks to the bottom of the bowl add a little more flour.
-- Cut the dough into 6 blobs and coat them well with olive oil. Let them hang out on a baking sheet in the fridge overnight covered with plastic wrap. They will keep in the fridge for like 3 days. If you aren't going to eat 6 pizzas in 3 days (uhhh) you can freeze the blobs in plastic wrap after a day, no bigs.
-- OK crash for the evening and get up and run errands that you have been putting off for months and tell embarrassingly personal anecdotes in class because you are sleep deprived and daydream about the future. Is it dinnertime? Go home and take a pizza blob out of the fridge. Make sure it is still greased-up and not all dry and cracky. If its dried out a little that's fine, but not the Platonic Pizza Ideal. Flatten it into a disc and let it hang out for up to 2 hours. If you are hungry NOW and can only wait until the oven preheats, well, that's between you and yer stomach. I for one couldn't taste a difference.
-- Crank the oven up to 500 and stick your cast iron pan or pizza stone inside. Stretch the dough over your fists and toss it around until it is the thinness that you want it. I find that stretching a blob to fit a 12 inch iron skillet is usually right on.
-- Once the oven is hot, lay down some cornmeal on your baking surface (the pan or the back of a baking sheet or a peel that you will transfer to your pizza stone, you bougie jerk who owns a pizza peel). Stretch out that dough one last time and dress your pizza up right. Into the oven for 8 minutes, until the crust is brown and cheese is bubbly.