September 22, 2013

Quick and Easy Pizza Dough + How to Freeze It

Need a perfect pizza dough in 40 minutes or less? This recipe is it! It's quick, soft, fluffy, crusty and chewy. Not only can it be made in record time, but it can also be frozen for use at a later date!

Quick n' Easy Pizza Dough + How to Freeze It!

I'm sort of pizza obsessed, and when I finally found the perfect pizza dough recipe there was only one thing wrong with it, the fact that it needed 1-2 hours of rising time. Sometimes real life just happens and I don't have 1-2 hours of extra time. The answer: instant yeast. It can also be called "rapid rise" or "quick rise" yeast.

It works miracles and it has totally changed how I view bread making in general! This pizza dough takes maybe 10-15 minutes to throw together and then only 20-30 minutes of rising time. It makes enough dough for 4 (12 inch) pizza crusts, and each portion of dough can be wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and frozen! Yes, I make all of my pizza dough ahead of time now.

Quick N' Easy Pizza Dough

Recipe Source: ©Amanda Jenks, adapted from Lauren's Latest

5-7 cups bread flour, divided
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (or two 0.25oz packets)
2 cups warm water (between 120˚F and 130˚F)
1/4 cup olive oil

Quick n' Easy Pizza Dough + How to Freeze It!

In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine 3 cups of the bread flour, salt, sugar, and instant yeast (pictured above left). Add the warm water and olive oil, mixing on low speed until totally combined (pictured above right). Switch to dough hook attachment. With the mixer running on low, start adding enough remaining flour to make a dough that is soft and tacky but that does not stick to your hands (pictured lower left). The final amount of flour you use will largely depend on the humidity of where you live. I usually use about 5 1/2-5 3/4 cup. Cover the mixer with a lid and knead on the highest speed for 6 minutes. After kneading the dough will be warm and soft and it should not stick to the walls of the mixing bowl (pictured lower right).

Grease a large bowl. Form dough into the shape of a large ball and place in greased bowl. Cover with a clean towel. Let rise until double in size, about 20-30 minutes.

The dough pictured on the left below is just after mixing. The dough on the right is the same dough just 25 minutes later! Punch dough down and cut into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball. 

Quick n' Easy Pizza Dough + How to Freeze It!

To use immediately: Place a pizza stone or upside down cookie sheet in a cold oven. Preheat oven to 475˚F. Dust a 12" piece of parchment paper with a small amount of cornmeal. On a floured surface roll one of the portions of pizza dough into a 12" circle. Transfer dough to parchment paper. Top with your favorite sauce, cheese, and pizza toppings. Bake on pizza stone for 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. You'll want to watch your pizza during this time and snip any bubbles with kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Cooking times will vary based on different ovens and pizza toppings.

To freeze: Double wrap each portion of dough in plastic wrap (it will continue to rise when you put it in the freezer and might pop through a layer of plastic wrap). Place wrapped dough in gallon size ziplock bags and freeze for up to three months. We usually use ours up within a month though. To use thaw for 8 hours in the refrigerator (yes, you'll have to take it out the morning of the day you plan on making pizza). Then thaw for 10 additional minutes on the counter at room temperature before rolling it out and cooking it as directed above.

Yield: 4 (12") pizzas, 8 pieces each

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