Originally Posted by Magnolia Bloom
The Publix bakery has fresh pizza dough. too. I've tried it twice, but never gotten the knack for rolling it out. It's always been too thick for me. Any secrets? I've tried tossing it, but we won't go there!
I make my own dough from scratch. It's really very easy, just need to plan at least a half day ahead to allow time to proof and rise, but if that's not for you, then try the Publix, or the Trader Joes.
The trick is to let it sit out at room temp for AT LEAST 30 minutes, an hour is better. When it sits out, the dough softens and the glutens relax, so the dough is more stretchy. Try this.
When you take it out of the bag, dust it with about a tablespoon of AP flour. Some of the flour will just fall on the counter (make sure the countertop is CLEAN and DRY and SMOOTH). That's OK, just make a loose pile with it, as it will keep the dough from stocking to the countertop.
If you don't have a Pizza Stone, go out to Home Depot, or to Lowes and buy four (4) UNGLAZED brick tiles. They are 8" square each, so the four of them will make a 16" square. (in my opinion, this is better than a Pizza Stone, because you have more room to make it land on the stones). Preheat the oven to at least 500f, and let it preheat for at least 30 minutes after the light comes on, so that the stones are really hot. Make sure the rack is on the lowest, or second lowest setting, and remove the other rack so you have plenty of room above to work with.
I know this sounds like a lot of trouble, but it really isn't anything. I'm just typing a lot to explain it. So far you've floured a ball of dough, and put some brick tiles in the oven and turned it on.
If you are careful, you can stretch the dough by hand, but if you're worried about tearing it, you can use a rolling pin. Just keep rolling from teh middle to the outside, focusing on keeping it as round as possible. Don't be afraid to gently reshape it by pulling gently with your hand, or pushing a section in to make it look round (or leave it funky shaped, which is cool).
When the pizza is shaped, put it on a peice of Parchement Paper, as this will allow you to easily get it off your Pizza Peel or your Cutting Board into the oven, without any effort. Now that the dough is on the parch paper, and on the board that you'll use to transfer it, you're ready to build your pie.
I like to put about 1 tbs of EVOO (olive oil) on the top of the dough, and use my hands to gently blot it over the whole crust. It should be just barely damp, but not puddled. Then the sauce. I use pre-made sauce, homeade is just not worth the effort IMO. Spread the sauce with the back of a tablespoon evenly, leaving about 3/4" of dough NOT covered, for the actual crust. I use approximately 8 oz on a 14" crust. Personal preference, but use more than you'd think, as some will evaporate during cooking.
If you want, you can sprinkle some grated parm cheese and/or some oregeno on the sauce now. Optional.
Now add your cheeze. Shredded Mozz, or a pizza blend is good. I use about 8oz on a whole pie, but only put about 2/3 on now, as the rest will go on the top.
Now add your toppings. My daughter likes Pepperoni, my wife and I like Sausage Pepper Onion, but whatever you like, just add it. Be careful to not use to many "watery" toppings like tomatoes, or they will make your pizza soggy.
Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top, it will melt in and "glue" the whole pie together. You can sprinkle more Parm or Oregeno on top, if you want.
Now, you are ready to put the pizza in the oven. If you want to make it really good, put two ice cubes on the floor of your oven. The steam will make your dough rize better, and give a better crust.
Since you built your pizza on a parchement paper, slide it right onto the stones. Go nice and slow, and use a spatula to guide it. If it's not on center, you can just grab the paper with your hand to move it some.
Close the door, after about five minutes the crust is set, you can use your spatula to lift the dough off the paper and hold it in place, and just slide the paper out so the pizza is cooking directly on the stones. Keep the door closed as much as possible, but you can also twirl the pizza 180 degrees so it cooks evenly.
When you think it's done, let it cook another minute or two, you want to top to be brown, and the underside to be nice and crusty.
when it's time to get it out, just hold your cutting board in front of the oven rack, and use a spatula to slide it onto the board. Easy-Peasy.
LET THE PIZZA COOL for at least 5 minutes, otherwise it will ooze all over the place.
Enjoy, and revel in the praise. You'll be the pizza hero.
Even though this is a really long post, it is not difficult. If you break it down into simple steps, you will see that there is nothing complicated. Handling the dough takes a little practice, but just go slow and it will be OK. If you make a huge mistake on the dough, form it back into a ball, let it sit for at least 15 minutes, and start over with it.