Every Monday we’ll be posting a recipe that we both tried out. This week’s recipe was from The Real Housewives of New Jersey Teresa Giudice’s cookbook, Skinny Italian. We already love, love, love Teresa Giudice* and we’re hoping we love her Old World Pizza Dough recipe, too.
(Please note that any time I typed something like “dip your balls”, I was snickering like a 12 year old perv.)
I’ll admit it, I was a tiny bit worried about this week’s recipe (which was Nance’s choice), because I have never made pizza dough, not once in my entire life.
(That I remember, anyway.)
In our house, Fred’s the one who takes care of making the pizza dough because he worked at a pizza place (a real pizza place, not like Domino’s)(no offense, Domino’s lovers) for several years in his late teens/ early 20s, and that makes him the pizza dough expert in this house. He usually uses a bread dough recipe, makes it in the bread maker, and it’s always been just fine for our pizza-making purposes.
For the first time in the history of this web site, I actually read the recipe through when Nance suggested it, so I knew it wasn’t going to be something I’d just throw together in half an hour. This, being real pizza dough, was going to take some time.
But at least the ingredients are simple!
Bread flour (try not to be jealous of my fancy masking tape label), instant yeast, salt, and olive oil. The recipe calls for extra virgin olive oil, but Fred dislikes the tastes of the EVOO, so regular old olive oil is what I had on hand and what I used.
You can do this by hand, but why would you? That’s why God made KitchenAid mixers! You combine cold water, oil, and yeast in a mixing bowl, add the paddle attachment, and start it going. Add a cup of the flour and the salt, then once that’s mixed well, you keep adding flour until you get a stiff, sticky dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Switch to the dough hook and knead until the dough’s smooth and elastic – add flour if it’s necessary (ie, sticking to the bowl). I’ve made bread in my mixer before, so this part wasn’t completely foreign to me.
When it’s good and smooth and elastic, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
Now, here’s where I went off-recipe. The next instructions are to divide the dough into 6, which will give you 6 12-inch pizzas. There are only two of us here (though maybe the chickens would enjoy a nice pizza? I didn’t consider that.), and so Teresa was nice enough to include in the recipe that once the dough is divided, you can wrap the dough and freeze it for future use.
What I ended up doing was deciding to divide the dough into 12 pieces so that Fred and I could each make our own pizza (he likes green pepper on his, barf), and I’d freeze the other 10 pieces of dough. Unfortunately, I wander around with my head in the clouds, and so I ended up with 13 pieces of dough instead of 12. Not a big deal.
Pour some olive oil in a baking dish (if you’re doing all 12, use a 9×13″ dish, but since I was only doing the two, I used an 8×8″), place each ball in the dish (turning to coat with oil), leaving space between them, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and stick the dish in the fridge. I put the dish in the fridge, and wrapped up the rest of the balls and put them in a big freezer bag.
Now your dough is going to sit in the fridge for somewhere between 12 hours and 3 days. It’s a good thing I read through the recipe a few days in advance, right? I made it around lunchtime one day, and we had pizzas for dinner the next day, so it worked out well.
About 3 hours before baking, you’re going to remove your dough from the fridge. I actually removed mine 4 1/2 hours before baking – it says in the recipe that “if the dough is really chilled, it could take a little longer”, and better to be safe than hungry.
Pour some olive oil in a bowl, then roll your balls in the oil and return to the baking dish. At this point, I was a little leery of this dough, because I expected it to be somewhat the consistency of bread dough and it very much was not. It was way softer than I expected, but I went with it.
Once your balls are back in the baking dish, recover, and let stand at room temperature until doubled in size. This is what my balls looked like.
I was like “These look more like puddles than balls to me. WTF?” Fred arrived home from work, and I made him come look at my balls (HEE) and said “Are we going to be able to make pizzas out of this stuff?” and he looked at them, poked them, and said he thought they’d be fine.
So once your balls are big, you drop each of them on a well-floured surface, press on the dough to deflate it, then shape into a ball again, return to the dish, and let it sit there and wait for 20 minutes. I did that, and then when it had been 20 minutes, I forced Fred to come into the kitchen and do his dough-stretching and tossing thing.
Once our pizza dough was ready to go, we each topped our pizzas with whatever we wanted on them (Fred’s, on the left, had green peppers, onion, tomato slices, and mushrooms on it. Mine had spinach, onion, mushrooms, and tomato.)
The pizza sauce we used was made and canned by Shirley (Nance sent us a few jars late last year), and that stuff is SO good. I think there needs to be a “Pizza Sauce with Shirley” post, don’t y’all agree?
Pizza and a salad. Yes, I know it looks like shit. I’m sure Nance’s will look fabulous because she’s a pain in the ass like that.
The verdict? Well, my eyes have been opened! I honestly thought all pizza dough was the same, but this pizza dough was so much better than I expected. Kind of a pain in the ass? Yeah, it is. But it’s worth it – the next time Fred wants to pass off bread dough as pizza dough, I WILL KNOW BETTER.
Two thumbs up to the Old World Pizza Dough!
I’m going to admit something big here…
When I picked this out from the Skinny Italian cookbook I never even bothered to read the recipe. I could give you a million excuses (my life is too busy, wah wah wah), but the truth is I wanted to get the recipe picked and shot out to that damn particular Robyn for approval as soon as I could. Just so I could mark it off of my todo list (not to be confused with people who make things a big to-do about nothing because that’s a whole other animal). I figured that I would have pizza on the night during the week that I didn’t feel like cooking. Imagine my surprise when I went to make this bad boy and saw that there was a 12 hour window needed! Swear words happened. BIG TIME.
See the pretty pictures that I was looking at when I chose this recipe? Nobody can blame me because they look damn good!
Action shot! You can see here that I doubled the recipe. This is when you knead it for a little bit AFTER you use your giant KitchenAid mixer or another brand (I won’t judge). And also, I bought my own mixer. I did not win it from a rich housewife that lives on a ranch. Hell yeah, I’m jealous. Those fuckers are expensive! Heh.
I hate it when I make a mess and have to clean it up. Especially when it’s just from being a dumb ass and/or not taking my time. There is no reason on the planet as to why my mixer has flour on it besides the fact that I wasn’t paying attention and just dumped shit every where. Do not be like me, people. Just don’t.
I see that Robyn already showed you the dough ball/olive oil stage so I’ll skip that part. Our weather here in Pennsylvania has been wonky lately and we have already hit the high 70’s and low 80’s this month (March). It was an easy decision to make our pizza on the grill last night.
This is where I tried to get artistic and failed. Sausage and parmesan cheese. I had a tray filled up with everything imaginable for the pizzas and this just happened to be what I zoned in on when snapping a picture. True Confession: I only eat hot sausage in a casing, on a bun. I had no idea that I should take the casing off before I cut it up for the pizza. I don’t like sausage on my pizza. Alex, the culinary genius that he is (that would be sarcasm, son) had to tell me to do it. Do not let it be said that I cannot be taught something by my children (although it’s not much because hello, I am way smarter than they will ever be. heh).
I have wicked arthritis in my hands so I normally do anything I can to make it less painful for myself, hence the rolling pin. You don’t need one (unless you’re like me). The picture is cropped so you can’t see that I’m wearing the world’s ugliest slippers. What? I was at home being all relaxed.
I didn’t get a picture of the crust fresh off the grill I just want to note that we pre-grilled the dough for a bit (it gets the pretty lines on it) before we put toppings on it. I roll it out, lay it on the hot grill for a few minutes, flip it over (well, actually Rick does the flipping while I go back and roll out another crust) and then we put our toppings on it. Rick puts the pizza with the toppings on the top rack to finish being cooked.
I were starving by the time we made these so getting a good photo was the last thing on my mind. They were, of course, fabulous. All the opinionated assholes in my family agreed that this recipe is a winner. Although Alex did say that he thinks mine is just as good (brownie points) and I have to admit that the way I do my pizza crust is to just toss things in the mixer (without measuring), run it for a while, let it raise for about an hour, punch it down, roll it out and throw it on the grill. But if you have the time definitely give this recipe a try. It is, of course, FABULOUS!
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for rising
- 1-1/4 teaspoons instant (bread machine) yeast
- 4-1/2 cups bread flour, as needed
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- To make the dough by hand, combine 1-3/4 cups cold water, the oil, and the yeast in a large bowl. Stir in 1 cup of flour and the salt. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a sticky dough that is too stiff to stir. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. Knead, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and elastic (this means that when you stretch the dough a couple of inches in the opposite directions, it snaps back into shape), about 5 minutes. The dough will remain slightly sticky, so don't overdo it with the flour. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~To make the dough in a heavy-duty standing mixer, combine 1-3/4 cups cold water, the oil, and the yeast in the work bowl. Attach the bowl to the mixer and affix the paddle attachment. With the machine on low speed, add 1 cup of the flour and the salt. Gradually add enough of the flour to make a stiff, sticky dough that clears the sides of the bowl. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed, adding more flour if necessary, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly.
- Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces and form each into a ball. Pour a couple of tablespoons of the oil into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Place each ball into the dish, turn to completely coat with oil, and turn smooth side up in the dish, leaving space between the balls. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the covered dough for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days. (The dough can be frozen, each ball in its own small plastic freezer bag, for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before using.) If you are really in a hurry, let the covered dough stand at room temperature until the balls double in size, about 1-1/2 hours, and skip the next step.
- About 3 hours before baking, pour a few tablespoons of oil in a clean bowl. One at a time, coat each ball in fresh oil, and return to the baking dish, smooth side up. Cover again with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours. If the dough is really chilled from the refrigerator, it could take a little longer.
- One at a time, drop each ball onto a lightly floured work surface, and press on the dough to deflate it. Shape into a ball again, return to the dish, cover, and let stand at room temperature to relax for 20 minutes. The dough is now ready to become pizza!
*Nance’s mom, Shirley and Robyn met Teresa in Pittsburgh last year. They really do love, love, love her!