If you ask anyone what the most important part of a pizza is, then you’re likely to get a variety of answers. Some say the toppings are everything, others are passionate about great cheese. Every ingredient in a pizza is crucial for a delicious experience, but the crust (and more specifically, the dough) is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of pizza. Without dough and crust, what would you place your sauce, cheese, and toppings on? This article will give you the secrets to making amazing pizza dough!
Multiple Ways to Make Dough
The ingredients you use to make your dough will be fairly similar regardless of what recipe you choose. Some will have more water and some might add honey, but the core ingredients of flour, water, and yeast will remain the same.
You can choose to make the dough by hand, if you’d like. You’ll mix all the ingredients and knead your dough until it is workable. An easier solution is to use a kitchen mixer.
You can also choose to use premade pizza dough, but you won’t have the same effects of homemade dough. This is because the preparation process of store-bought dough is far different from what you’ll do when you make it!
Making your own gourmet pizza does require careful planning if you want to make your own crust. Once you finally mix everything together, you’ll have to let it sit for at least an hour or two so the yeast can rise. This means that you need to prepare your dough before you even think about baking!
While dough may seem as simple as throwing all the ingredients together, there are a few things you need to keep an eye on to make sure your dough turns out just perfect! Great pizza dough starts with excellent preparation!
- Yeast Handling – How you deal with the beast known as yeast is probably the most important factor to how your dough turns out. Yeast is quite tricky, and really does require some precise handling.
The first thing you need to know about yeast is that you need to put it into a very specific temperature of water. This temperature is between 110°F and 115°F exactly. You can only use water within those 5 degrees, otherwise your yeast won’t rise properly. Your best bet is going to be the use of a thermometer to get your water in the correct range. If you don’t end up with a bubbly, frothy yeast mixture after about 5 minutes, you’ll want to dump it and start over again because your dough just won’t turn out right.
- Rising Time – The rising time of your dough is also closely related to yeast. The reason why you let your dough sit out before using it is because you need the yeast to naturally rise within the dough. This creates fluffy, voluminous balls of pizza dough.
For best practices, you want to let your dough rise (covered and in the fridge) for a bare minimum of 2 hours. If you’re really passionate about creating perfect dough, you want to let it rise for closer to 8 hours. This means that if you’re thinking about eating pizza for dinner, you’ll want to make the dough when you first wake up!
- Oil Usage – Another secret for perfect dough is the proper use of oil to keep your dough moist while it rises. Once you’ve mixed your dough together, you’ll want to split it up into portion-sized balls. Next, you’ll want to lightly oil each dough ball with some olive oil before placing it into a bowl covered with plastic wrap. This will prevent your dough from drying out.
One thing to keep in mind is to make sure you only lightly oil your balls of dough. This is because you don’t want your dough to be oily once it is stretch out and plopped on a pizza stone. If you put oil onto a pizza stone, it can smoke as it is cooking in the oven.
Your Secret Weapon
The best thing you can use for any pizza is a pizza stone, but it can also restore a questionable frozen pizza to a reasonable standard! What makes a pizza stone so great is what it does to your pizza as it is cooking!
A pizza stone is a rounded slab of material that you stick directly into your oven. You’ll want to make sure to preheat it as the same time as your oven to prevent cracking. The stone will reach the same temperature of your oven, but it will all be directly condensed on the stone rather than spread through the oven.
This allows you to apply direct, even heat to the bottom of your pizza, which is critical for making fantastic crust. Any good pizza stone will also be porous, meaning it is covered in tiny holes.
These holes are great for slowly acquiring a seasoning after cooking many pizzas, but they’re also essential for absorbing moisture from your crust. Do you see why a pizza stone can save a frozen pizza that tastes like cardboard now? It is because a pizza stone can draw out that foul-tasting moisture, leaving you with a perfectly crispy crust on the bottom!
Once you’ve perfected the process of making dough, you’re finally ready to make some tasty pizza crusts! The way you’ll do this is by stretching out your pizza dough. If you’ve ever seen professionals make pizza, you probably know the iconic pizza dough toss well. Many talented pizza artists are capable of tossing their pizza dough up into the air to stretch it out, but this requires some careful focus and practice to perfect.
Don’t worry, we won’t make you learn how to toss a pizza, because you’ll probably end up dropping it on accident. The last thing you’d want to do is waste pizza dough that literally took hours to make! Fortunately, there is a much simpler way to stretch out your dough!
That answer is quite simple – gravity! Gravity plays a huge role in everyday life, as it is one law that everything must abide by. Pizza dough is no exception. If you flatten your dough and hold one edge up in the air, the opposing side will naturally begin to droop. Continue doing this around the entire edge of your crust until it is stretched out to the diameter you’re looking for!
A Pizza Stone to Make Your Dough Shine
Now you know the biggest (but quite simple) secrets to making memory-worthy pizza dough! After using these techniques, you’ll never go back to making pizza dough differently, and you’ll certainly steer clear of premade dough!
What really makes the difference for pizza dough is how you handle the yeast, how long you let your dough rise, and whether you kept your dough moist during that time. These are all simple things to take care of, but failing to do them will resulting in poor crust.
Making great dough is a good first step, but to ensure you end up with amazing, golden-brown crust, you’ll need to use a pizza stone to make your crust blossom. Pizza stones have the ability to match the temperature of your oven while also directly applying that heat to the base of your pizza. They’re also porous, all of which combines to cook some incredible pizza crust!
If you want to start making the best pizza crust you’ve ever tasted, then you need a Cast Elegance pizza stone! The Cast Elegance stone is made of Thermarite, an ultra-strong material designed for maximum longevity. When you purchase a Cast Elegance pizza stone, you’ll also receive a free ebook that has a recipe for perfect pizza dough! If you want good crust, then a pizza stone is your best bet!