winter pizza party

Have you ever tried making your own pizza dough? It's really quite easy. It's a great introduction to more complicated bread recipes like baguettes and ciabattas and takes half the time. It's also a great crowd pleaser after a snowy day outside especially if you have little ones to please! sianrichards_winterfarm1

 

Basic Pizza Dough (Adapted from Chatelaine Magazine)

Standing time:30 minutes Baking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250 mL) warm water
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar
  • 8-g packet quick-rise or regular dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
  • 3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 11/2 tsp (7 mL) salt or 1 tbsp (15 mL) kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour (if needed)

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Method

  • Pour water into a large bowl. Water should be between 100F (38C) and 110F (45C), slightly higher than body temperature. Stir in sugar, then yeast. Let stand until mixture is foamy on top, from 5 to 10 min, then stir in oil.
  • Meanwhile, mix 3 cups (750 mL) flour and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Then with the food processor still on, slowly pour in yeast-oil mixture until it begins to form a ball. If dough doesn’t come together, pulse in another 2 tbsp (15 mL) flour.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then dust your hands with flour. Using the base of your palm, knead several times, rotating the dough a quarter turn after each knead, until it forms a smooth ball.
  • Place dough in an oiled bowl. Turn to coat evenly. Spray a piece of waxed paper with oil and place on top of bowl. Cover with a damp cloth. Leave dough in a warm place until it doubles in size, 30 to 60 min. Remove it to a floured surface. Punch down. Use right away, refrigerate in a sealed plastic bag up to 2 days, or freeze up to 1 month.
  • To bake, place rack in bottom third of oven. Preheat to 500F (260C). Sprinkle a large baking sheet or pizza stone with cornmeal. Stretch, press or roll out dough on counter or piece of parchment. Slide dough or parchment onto pan. Pull out paper. Add toppings. Bake until bottom of dough is golden, 10 to 15 min.

_DSC5295For toppings the only limit is your imagination. In my mind, some of the best pizzas are also the simplest. A classic Margherita pizza with homemade tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, basil and olive oil is delicious.

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Another favourite of mine is Wild Mushroom and Taleggio pizza finished off with a drizzle of truffle oil. So fragrant and earthy - my mouth waters just thinking about it!

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If you can get your hands on a pizza stone or a large piece of natural tile (like untreated slate) you will end up with a pizza much closer in taste and texture to a wood oven fired pizza. If you're feeding a crowd a couple of stones would make the job easier. Of course having an assortment of toppings on hand for your guests to choose from is ideal.

Photos: Sian Richards