California Pizza Kitchen Basic Pizza Dough
Makes dough for two 9-inch pizzas.
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
1 1/2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon for coating
To Make The Dough
Dissolve the yeast in the water and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
Be sure that the water is hot. Temperatures of 120 degrees F and
above will kill the yeast, and your dough will not rise.
If using an upright electric mixer, such as a KitchenAid, use the
mixing paddle attachment because the batch size is too small for the
dough hook to be effective. Combine all other ingredients (except
the additional teaspoon of olive oil) and combine them with the
dissolved yeast in the mixing bowl. (Do not pour the salt directly
into the yeast water because this would kill some of the yeast.)
Allow these ingredients to mix gradually, use the lowest 2 speeds to
mix the dough. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes, until the dough is smooth and
elastic. Over-mixing the dough will produce tough, rubbery dough,
and friction will cause the dough to rise too fast.
If using a food processor, using a dough "blade" made of plastic
rather than the sharp steel knife attachment, which would cut the
gluten strands and ruin the consistency of the dough. Otherwise
proceed as above. Be especially cautious not to mix too long with a
food processor because the temperature resulting from the friction
of mixing could easily exceed 120 degrees F, killing the yeast. Mix
only until a smooth dough ball is formed.
If mixing by hand, place the dry ingredients in a 4 to 6 quart
mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the liquids
(reserving the teaspoon of olive oil). Use a wooden spoon to combine
the ingredients. Once initial mixing is done, you can lightly oil
your hands and begin kneading the dough. Knead for 5 minutes. When
done the dough should be slightly tacky (that is, it should be
barely beyond sticking to your hands).
Lightly oil the dough ball and the interior of a 1-quart glass bowl.
Place the dough ball in the bowl and seal the bowl with clear food
wrap. Seal airtight. Set aside at room temperature (70 to 70 degrees
F) to rise until double in bulk - about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
The dough could be used at this point, but it will not be that
wonderful, chewy, flavorful dough that it will later become. Punch
down the dough, re-form a nice round ball and return it to the same
bowl. Cover again with clear food wrap. Place the bowl in the
refrigerator overnight, covered airtight.
About 2 hours before you are ready to assemble your pizza, remove
the dough from the refrigerator. Use a sharp knife to divide the
dough into 2 equal portions (or 4 equal portions if making
appetizer-size pizza or if smaller 6-inch pizzas are desired.)
Roll the smaller doughs into round balls on a smooth, clean surface.
Be sure to seal any holes by pinching or rolling.
Place the newly-formed dough balls in a glass casserole dish, spaced
far enough apart to allow for each to double in size. Seal the top
of the dish airtight with clear food wrap. Set aside at room
temperature until the dough balls have doubled in size (about 2
hours). They should be smooth and puffy.
To stretch and form the dough for pizza
Sprinkle a medium dusting of flour over a 12 x 12-inch clean, smooth
surface. Use a metal spatula or dough spacer to carefully remove a
dough ball from the glass casserole dish, being very careful to
preserve its round shape. Flour the dough liberally. Place the
floured dough on the floured smooth surface.
Use your hand or rolling pin to press the dough down forming a flat
circle about 1/2-icnh thick. Pinch the dough between your fingers
all around the edge of the circle, forming a lip or rim that rises
about 1/4-inch above the center surface of the dough. You may
continue this outward stretching motion of the hands until you have
reached a 9-inch diameter pizza dough.
To dress the pizza
Lightly sprinkle cornmeal, semolina or flour over the surface of a
wooden pizza peel. Arrange the stretched dough over the floured peel
surface. Work quickly to dress the pizza so that the dough will not
become soggy or sticky from the sauces and toppings.
When you are ready to transfer the pizza to the pizza stone in the
pre-heated oven, grasp the handle of the peel and execute a very
small test jerk to verify that the pizza will come easily off the
peel. If the dough does not move freely, carefully lift the edges of
the dough and try to rotate it by hand. Extreme cases may require
that you toss more flour under the dough edges.
Once the dough is moving easily on the peel, open the oven and
position the edge of the peel over the center of the stone about 2/3
from the front of the stone. Jiggle and tilt the peel to get the
pizza to start sliding off. When the pizza begins to touch the
stone, pull the peel quickly out from under it. Don't attempt to
move the pizza until it has begun to set (about 3 minutes). The peel
can be slid under the pizza to move it or remove it.