If you’re anything like me, maybe you’ve said things such as, “I’m a good cook but not really a baker” or, “I just don’t have the patience to make bread.” Now, maybe there’s some truth behind this, but I spoke with a chef recently who told me the second they started telling themselves that breads and doughs are easy, they became just that. Easy. Surely that can’t be true, surely they require type A personalities, super refined measurements and three days of free time. But I swallowed my pride and started telling myself that making bread is easy.
It’s important to note that I still wouldn’t consider myself a baker, but I’ve shaken off the fear of bread and dough and have been making things worth eating. There is plenty of work to be done to improve my skills but every step along the way consists of pretty delicious treats.
A great way to start when it comes to breads and doughs is with pizza. It’s a forgiving and versatile dough and in the end, you’ll probably end up covering any imperfections with cheese. A simple ratio of about* 800g of flour to about* 2 cups of water does the trick. I use a tablespoon of raw honey and 2 teaspoons of yeast, and I mix it by hand. No stand mixer involved here. Starting off in the bowl and slowly working to a clean work-surface takes a little more time and energy, but it makes you appreciate the end product all the more.
*I say about because I’m here claiming that it’s alright to eyeball it. We all kind of know what pizza dough should feel like, right? Go with your gut and don’t be afraid to goof it up; we learn from our mistakes.
Give or take 25 minutes of hard labor will take a shaggy bowl of flour to a smooth supple ball of dough.
All Purpose Pizza Dough
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yields: about 1200g of dough (good for 4 small pizzas)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Rest time: 2 to 24 hours
Total time: 2.5 hours
800g all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon honey
2 teaspoon active dry yeast
*more water/flour as needed
1. Bloom yeast in warm water (100-110 degrees) with tablespoon of honey. Mixture should be foaming and lively - if not, your yeast might be dead.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and yeast mixture with a wooden spoon until loose shaggy dough forms.
3. Using your hands, start incorporating the dough in the bowl.
4. When you have one cohesive ball, lay it out onto a lightly floured surface and begin kneading.
5. Keep kneading until dough is supple, stretching and smooth. It shouldn’t stick to your fingers and should have some stretch in it before it tears.
6. Rest and repeat before using or freeze at this point for future use.
Garlic Parmesan Doughballs
Yields: 4 cheesy dough balls
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cool time: 25 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
4 150g dough balls
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
Dried oregano, basil and onion to taste
Kosher salt to taste
A lot of Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a cast iron skillet inside the oven.
2. Using a bench scraper, cut the dough into four small pieces by dividing the dough ball in halves and then fourths. Placing your hand on the balls of dough, roll into tight mounds.
3. Combine butter, olive oil, garlic and spices in a microwave safe dish and melt.
4. Place dough balls in preheated skillet and cook for 10 minutes or until golden crust forms underneath
5. Dress with butter/oil mixture and flip dough balls, exposing crust, to create a second crust. Cook for 10 more minutes.
6. Dress with more butter/oil mixture and top with Parmesan cheese and cook for five more minutes.
7. Remove from oven topping with copious amounts more of Parmesan cheese.
8. Try really hard to allow them to cool slightly before digging in.