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Homemade Pizza Crust

April 9, 2010

Laura’s Blog Entry

The Smiths have had a long and tragic past with homemade pizza dough. When Neil and I got married we loved trying new recipes and cooking together.  Fairly early on we got a pizza stone and wooden paddle set so we could make our own pizza. We tried numerous recipes for dough, all of which were nasty and doughy or hard and tasteless. But when I started working at a gourmet kitchen store I found the most marvelous yeast that was specifically formulated for pizza dough. That seemed to be the magic element that made it all work. The dough was relatively thin and crispy, but with a nice body to it.

Then, all of a sudden, we couldn’t get the yeast anymore. I scanned the internet, and no luck. The product just plain disappeared. It was a sad, sad day.

So we gave up on making our own dough.

Fast forward to last year. I was really getting annoyed that we couldn’t make our our pizza. Good quality frozen ones cost as much as getting pizza out. So I started over. Searching online for recipes. Asking friends what they use. And then, one day, out of the blue one of my online friends, John, posted a recipe on the Facebook page for his barbecue sauce company, Cripple Creek BBQ. For pizza dough!

Well, I had to give the pizza dough a try. We love his BBQ sauce and dry rub, and he is a chef, so I though he might just know what he is doing. The sauce is delicious, BTW. We have tried the original, which is tasty and well-balanced between sweet and smokey. They also make Chipotle, Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion flavors.

Indeed John does know what he is doing! We have a winner! I’ve made this recipe three times now and it turned out great.

The dough is very flavorful, even if you make and use it the same day. (He recommends do a cold rise on the dough in the fridge overnight.) The last time I made it substituted 1/3 cup whole wheat flour for part of the all-purpose flour give a different flavor. I like that, too.

Here is the recipe, reprinted with permission. (Thanks John!) Followed by a few of my own tips and notes, of course. Cause that’s how I roll. John posted a very helpful video tutorial on the Facebook page, dated February 13. It is worth the time to watch.

Cripple Creek Pizza Dough

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon olive Oil
1 package of yeast (2 1/4teaspoons)
1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
2/3 cup cold water

Proof yeast in warm water with honey and oil. Add flour and salt in mixing bowl. Add yeast mixture to flour incorporate then add cold water. Mix 15-20 minutes, [in a stand mixer using the dough hook] check bakers window for gluten…. [See video for this technique]

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12-15 hours. Unless using it same day, then leave on counter at room temperature for 2 hours to proof. Punch down and form into pizzas or calzones.

If using the overnight cold fermentation process pull dough from fridge 2-3 hours prior to using it. Let it come to room temperature before you form it.

Here are a couple of notes on the recipe from my own experience that you might find helpful:

* John lives in Colorado, so I think the altitude there might affect the flour to liquid ratio. I ended up adding an additional 2/3 – 1 cup additional flour to achieve the proper dough consistency. I guess I could add less water, but I like that I get two 12 inch pizzas out of one recipe with the addition of the extra flour.

* I couldn’t believe he was calling for 12 minutes of kneading in the mixer! I was sure that would overwork the dough, but it turned out perfectly.

* I generally make the dough in the morning, let it rise two hours, punch down, then refrigerate until 2 hours before dinner. I then pull it out and punch down again, then let sit and warm up. Finally, I punch it down again 10 minutes before I try to roll it out. Dough needs to rest after a punch down. Otherwise it is too springy and won’t roll out flat.

* We bake ours on a pizza stone at 450-475 degrees. For extra flavor and to keep the dough from sticking to the pizza paddle I first sprinkle a generous amount of cornmeal on the surface of the paddle before laying on the dough. I then sprinkle the corneal with kosher salt and ground pepper. This makes the bottom extra tasty!

The pizza pictured above (and below) was topped with the following: pesto, cheese, finely diced onion and zucchini and pine nuts. So good. I might saute the onion and zucchini next time though. It had a bit too much moisture. Thanks to our friends Tony and Melanie for that combo.

Finally, if all this wasn’t enough, here is my latest pizza creation, in honor of Cripple Creek Barbeque:

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Spread on BBQ sauce as a base. We used Cripple Creek Original. Top with shredded mozzarella. Next, spread on some shredded, roasted or grilled chicken which has been tossed with a little sauce. My secret ingredient for this pizza is caramelized onion! I slice up half a large onion and cook it slowly in a little olive oil until golden brown. Add to the pizza. If you are totally committed, you can do what I did last time – crumbled over 2 slices of crispy cooked bacon.  Insanely delicious!

And here’s a final note on this marathon blog – we’ve found that Trader Joe’s Shredded Mozzarella Cheese is super fantastic! Great quality stuff and make a big difference in the final product. Happy pizza making, everyone!

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