Two or three nights before pizza making day, I'll make the dough in my handy dandy Kitchen Aid (which he bought for me one Christmas). Good pizza dough needs time. I never use a recipe, but it's basically warm water, yeast, sugar, olive oil, flour and salt. If I'm feeling fancy I'll add herbs or granulated garlic, but it's fantastic on it's own.
I let it slow rise and do its tasty fermentation thing in the refrigerator for up to three nights. In the afternoon of pizza making day, it gets taken out so it come to room temperature, so that it can be used in the evening.
I like pre-baking my crusts. We use a convection oven at 450F. I used a different method before, but after experimenting, this is hands down my favourite! The crust comes out so crispy and cracker like. There isn't a soft doughy spot in sight. Here's what I do...
Oven at 450F convection or 475F non-convection
- Shape the dough on parchment, the size of your cookie sheet, about 1/4 of an inch thick
- Dock the dough all over with a fork to prevent huge bubbles when baking
- With the dough on parchment paper and on the cookie sheet, bake until golden
- Remove from oven and flip the dough so that the top is now the bottom
- Dress with sauce and toppings and return to the oven, middle rack, without the parchment. (Use the cookie sheet as a pizza peel to help you, but we're baking without it as well. Pizza on rack, just like that!)
- It's done when the cheese is bubbly, crust is a dark golden colour and the bottom is crisp. (You'll know it's crisp when you go to remove it with the cookie sheet. The pizza won't droop, but rather be a solid pie)
It was perfect. The perfect carrier of delicious toppings. I had on mine a base of kale pesto dotted with tomato sauce, leftover chicken fingers and bacon that I found in the freezer, diced onions, a red pepper, zucchini and tomato from the garden, as well as a good helping of cheese. Mozzarella and cheddar!
Rich had the same minus the pesto, the chicken and cheese. Instead he had red sauce, meatless pepperoni and a light sprinkling of quinoa. None of that fake cheese stuff here.