The Bread Chronicles: Pizza

In this segment of the Bread Chronicles, I present to you pizza dough.  It's simple, no-fuss, and far better than the stuff you buy at the store.  (I really don't have an excuse for buying dough anymore.)  What I love about this pizza dough is that it adapts well to any style pizza.  Personally, I like to roll out the dough a little on the thin side, for a crispier quality.  One of my favorite pizzas to make is the classic Margherita- but as far as toppings go, you can be as adventurous (or not) as you'd like.

Pizza Dough recipe, adapted slightly from The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia

1 package dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3- 3.5 cups unbleached white flour

Put yeast in medium mixing bowl and pour in warm water.  Stir in sugar and mix with fork.  Let mixture stand until yeast has dissolved and starts bubbling and foaming (about 5 minutes).
Put salt and about 2/3 of flour in a food processor fitted with metal blade.  Pulse and add in yeast mixture.  Add rest of flour, pulsing only enough until dough forms a ball around edges of food processor.  Test dough with fingers- if it's too sticky, add a little more flour and pulse.  
Flour hands and remove dough from processor.  Knead dough a little and form into ball and place in an oiled boil.  Place plastic wrap or a damp dish towel over bowl and let sit until ball doubles in size, at least 45 minutes.
Punch dough in with fist to release air.  Knead for 1 minute.  Dough can either make one large pizza or two medium-sized pizzas.  (Can cut ball in half).  

Preheat oven to 475 F.  Make sure oven is at correct temperature.  Bake pizza for about 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted and bubbling.

Margherita pizza
Take one ball and roll out over floured surface.  Spread tomato sauce (I simmer bottled tomatoes with a little garlic and spices) thinly over dough.  You don't want to overdo this part or you will have soggy pizza!  Break apart pieces of buffalo mozzarella and scatter across pizza.  Place some full basil leaves and cook following the directions above.

Burrata and pesto pizza
Take one ball and roll out over floured surface.  Spread white sauce then pesto sauce (combine basil, garlic, olive oil, and grated parmesan in a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth) thinly over dough.  Cut cherry tomatoes in half and scatter across pizza.  Cook following the directions above.  When the pizza is removed from the oven, break apart pieces of burrata over the pizza and serve.  Enjoy!

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