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Saturday, July 31

Flavorful Homemade Pizza Crust

Parade of Pizzas: Day 4
homemade crust for baked or fried/large or mini pizzas

I was introduced to this recipe by my mother-in-law. She is an excellent cook! It comes from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion cookbook. King Arthur Flour has a great catalog of baking supplies and they have a line of cookbooks.

This pizza dough requires more time to make than the recipe I posted last week. But it is versatile, delicious and worth the extra time. Plus, you can make-and-bake it day of, make it now and bake it days later. It can be made gluten-free and can be shaped into 2 large pizzas or several palm-sized pizzas.

When I made it with my husband's family we shaped it into mini-sized pizzas, baked the dough, topped the dough, and baked it again. We also fried some on the mini pizzas and topped them just prior to serving. We like it both ways, but love it fried!

This recipe is adapted from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion Cookbook.

3 cups flour (use gluten-free flour if desired)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

Mix and knead together all of the dough ingredients, by hand, mixer or bread machine, till you’ve created a smooth, soft dough. Don’t over-knead the dough; it should hold together, but can still look fairly rough on the surface.

Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 45 minutes; then refrigerate it for 4 hours (or up to 36 hours); this step will develop the crust’s flavor. It'll continue to rise in the fridge, so make sure it's in a big enough bowl.

For 2 large pizzas, divide the dough in half. Working with one piece of dough at a time, pick it up and stretch it into the shape desired. For a large thin-crust pizza, make a 12-inch round. For thick-crust, make a 9-inch round.For mini-pizzas, divide the dough into clumps large enough to stretch into a thin 3-inch pizza.

Baked Pizza
Cover the dough, and let it rest while preheating the oven to 450 degrees. After 30 minutes, transfer the pizza dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet or a hot oven stone. Bake for 6-8 minutes.

To enjoy the pizza NOW
Top it with your favorite toppings and return to oven to bake for 8 minutes. You desire a golden crust and bubbly cheese.

To enjoy the pizza LATER
Allow the untopped crusts to cool, wrap them in plastic wrap, and store at room temperature for 2 or 3 days. Refrigerate for up to 5 days; or freeze for up to 4 weeks.

When you’re ready to serve, remove the crusts from the refrigerator/freezer. While they warm to room temperature, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Top it with your favorite toppings and return to oven to bake for 8 minutes. You desire a golden crust and bubbly cheese.

Topping Suggestions
marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, hamburger, bacon, sausage, chopped pineapple, assorted vegetables (roasted onions, peppers, olives, mushrooms, zucchini)

Fried Pizza
Shape dough into 3-inch rounds. Drop rounds, a few at a time, into hot oil. I like using a fry daddy. After 1 1/2 minutes, remove the rounds with tongs and cool on a paper napkin lined plate. After frying all mini-pizzas, stack onto a serving platter and serve with assorted toppings available for people to customize their pizza!

Topping Suggestions
cold marinara sauce, cold pesto, feta cheese, chopped olives
Yields 2 9-12 inch pizzas or several mini-pizzas.

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