Pizza dough is a great place for a yeast-dough beginner. It's a simple, easy recipe with a spectacular payoff -- homemade pizza!
- 1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional as needed
- 2 teaspoons sugar (1/4 ounce)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1/4 ounce package)
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading (11 3/8 ounces)
- 1/2 cup white or yellow cornmeal, plus additional for forming (2 3/8 ounces)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (1/8 ounce)
- 4 medium ripe yellow or red tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese, at room temperature
- 5 to 6 sprigs fresh basil, oregano or parsley or a mix, leaves stripped and torn
To make the dough: Stir the water, oil, and sugar in a liquid measuring cup until the sugar dissolves. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface over the liquid and set aside without stirring until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Whisk flour, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl, make a well in the center, and add yeast mixture. With a wooden spoon or your hand, gradually stir flour into liquid to make a rough dough. Pull dough together into a ball. Turn onto a work surface dusted with flour. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 to 6 minutes, using a little flour if necessary to keep it from sticking. Shape dough into a ball.
Brush a large bowl with oil and turn dough around in bowl to coat lightly. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, trace a circle the size of the dough on the plastic, and note the time -- let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Turn dough onto a work surface; knead briefly to release excess air, re-shape into a ball and return to the bowl. Cover, and let rise until soft and puffy, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare your topping: Grate the tomatoes on the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. If very juicy, drain lightly in a strainer. Sprinkle the garlic with the salt and mash and smear the garlic into a paste with the side of a chef's knife. Add to the drained tomatoes. Whisk in the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Divide dough in half. Form dough into rounds (see How-to pictures). Press dough into cornmeal, flipping to dust both sides. Hold dough up like a steering wheel and rotate and stretch it to make a thin disk. Lightly brush a pizza screen or crisper with oil and place round on top. Spread half the tomato over the top and bake until crust is golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove pizza from the oven and drop spoonfuls of ricotta on top. Scatter the fresh herbs and serve. Repeat with remaining pizza.
Copyright 2007 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved