Basic Pizza Dough – 5 minutes
For timing purposes for your pizza dough, let’s assume that you intend to eat your homemade Pizza Margherita for dinner tonight.
In that case, first thing in the morning, as soon as you’re up: put the yeast (in whatever form it may be) in half a glass of water, taken from the 250 mL (1 cup plus 1 Tbsp) of warm water listed in the ingredients, dissolve it by mixing and stirring a bit with a spoon, and then set it aside.
How to prepare the yeast for pizza dough (video)
In the meantime, go and eat breakfast, play with the kids if you’ve got any, or better yet, get them involved in the kitchen: making a pizza with your children is one of the best kinds of family fun.
Have you got a food processor, a mixer with a dough hook, or something similar? If you haven’t, you might think about getting yourself a present; there are some really gorgeous food processors and mixers out there, handy for all kinds of cooking projects.
Put the ingredients in, including the glass of water+yeast, but not the salt or the olive oil. Start it up on the lowest speed and let it do its thing. After a minute, add the salt and oil as well and allow it to go on mixing a bit more.
Alternatively, hand-kneading works great, too, but it’ll take a few minutes more and of course the process is a bit different.
In that case I recommend kneading directly inside a very large bowl, so you’ll have less of a mess, and at the end you can leave the dough to rise in the same bowl.
In 50mL (a scant 1/4 cup) of water, taken from the 250mL total, dissolve the salt by stirring with a spoon. Put the ingredients in the bowl, including the glass of water+yeast, but not the salt or the olive oil, and begin kneading. After a few minutes add the water+salt and the oil, if you’re using it, and continue to knead well, putting force into it, pushing down hard at the center and regathering the dough into a ball again and again.
In both cases, at a certain point, a rather soft ball will take shape, and will gradually become smoother and smoother. But we keep kneading a little more. Now we’re going to use a scientific instrument that we all have with us at all times and that I’ve always found incredibly useful: the earlobe.
Yes, to see if we’ve reached the right point, we check whether the dough has a consistency similar to that of an earlobe. If you’re using a food processor or mixer, pull the dough out in order to check.
If it’s too firm, or if it’s crumbly or hard, add a little more water and knead until the dough feels similar to the consistency of your earlobe. On the other hand, if it’s too gluey, first try just kneading a little more. If it doesn’t become drier, if it doesn’t lose its stickiness, then you can add two or three tablespoons of flour and knead again.
The deciding factor during the kneading phase is the consistency of the dough. You’ve finished when it feels fairly smooth, with a consistency like your earlobe, and not sticky. Experience will help you determine quickly whether the dough is ready, but your earlobe is always there to help you check, especially if it’s your first time.
How to prepare the pizza dough (video)
Make a nice ball, put it in a bowl at least three times the size of the dough, and cover it with an immaculately clean dishtowel or cloth, a white one if possible, thoroughly dampened and wrung out well. Leave the bowl on the kitchen table (or better still, in the oven, with the heat off).
Ok! Now it’s time to go to work, or anyway to go about your day as normal.