Correction: Pizza Dough Recipes
I got a text from my son a while back that said, “Mom, I tried your 123 Pizza Dough Recipe, but I had to add a whole lot of extra flour. What happened?” Well, I went into an explanation of how the temperature and humidity of the house when you are making dough will affect how much flour it takes up, and how well it rises, and pretty much everything about the dough’s texture. However, I went over the recipe again, comparing that dough recipe with my other one that makes enough for 2 crusts, and there was quite a discrepancy. I did say that it was stickier than the other dough, but I remember still being able to work with it easily. So, tonight I decided to try it again, and son, you were right. I also had to add quite a bit more extra flour. In fact, instead of using 1 3/4 cups of flour for the dough for one pizza, I found that I had to add 2 cups while mixing, and it took up another 1/4 cup while I was kneading it.
So, I thought that I had better let you all know, in case you had come across the same problem. The temperature and humidity does affect yeast doughs quite a bit, so you can expect a little variance from the recipe when making any yeast dough. You get to know what it should feel like, and you keep adding a bit more flour at a time until you get to that feeling. For those of you who are new to making yeast doughs, the dough shouldn’t be too sticky, and you should be able to knead it and work it without it sticking much to your hands or the counter. A bit of stickiness is OK – but mostly it should feel smooth and elastic, and should plump right back up when a finger is depressed into the surface. That’s how you know you have kneaded it enough and it has the correct amount of flour.
Also, I want to repeat an important note on working the dough for pizza. After it rises, it will be puffy and full of air bubbles. For many bread recipes, we punch that first rising down and form the loaves, then let them rise again. The second rising gives a more even texture to the bread. But for pizza, that isn’t necessary. After kneading the dough, I put the amount for one pizza into a well-oiled bowl, and oil the top of the dough too. Then I cover with plastic wrap or wax paper and put into a warm place to rise (usually I turn the oven light on and that creates enough warmth for it to rise in the oven.)
Now here is the important part. Once it has risen, oil a large pizza pan (14 inch pan, or a cookie sheet), and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Turn the bowl of dough upside down over the pan and dump out the dough right onto the prepared pan. Then using your finger tips only, start at the middle of the dough and lightly press it out around the pan, working and turning the pan until you have pressed the dough right to the sides of the pan. You don’t punch the dough down, and you don’t use a rolling pin, or throw it into the air, or any other silly thing you might want to do. Instead, we try to preserve the air bubbles that have formed, as these are what is going to make the dough light. It does rise again, as you are preparing it to cook, so don’t worry if you have flattened it out while pressing it onto the pan. It will still be good.
So, that’s it. I have corrected my 123 Pizza Dough recipe and my Asparagus White Pizza dough recipe (same recipe for the dough used in both of these – follow links to the recipes). Depending on the conditions in your kitchen on the day you make it, you may need as little as 1 3/4 cups, or as much as 2 1/4 cups of flour. I like to use 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, and the rest white all purpose. Combined with the honey, it tastes delish! Give it a try. Thanks to my son for pointing out an error in the recipe. Your comments are always welcome.