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Artisan Dough Pizza

January 24, 2010

Did I convince you to make a batch of mother-dough in my post about artisan bread in 5 minutes a day?

No?  My tales of freshly baked bread boules and dinner rolls didn’t get you elbow deep in flour and water?  Well, would you change your mind if I told you that this dough could turn into pizza, too?

Whole wheat pizza dough?  That even your husband will eat?  That’s pretty irresistable.

For one pizza, take 1/4 of your mother dough recipe…

Mother Recipe (for 4 lbs of dough, I halved this recipe by eff Hertzberg and Zoë François)
5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp (2 packets) granulated yeast
1 tbsp kosher salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
4 cups lukewarm water (Note: You can add a teaspoon of dried herbs to the water for herb-flavored breads.)
Cornmeal or parchment paper
1 to 2 tbsp whole seed mixture for sprinkling on top of the crust: sesame, flaxseed, caraway, raw sunflower, poppy and/or anise (optional)

The instructions are important here.  What lacks in this recipe is a significant amount of gluten development.  So shaping this dough will be different than you may have experience in the past.  It will be more of a press into your desired pie-shape than a stretch and rest affair.  It will be more prone to tearing, so be gentle.

1) Grab 1/4 (~1 lb) of dough and tuck the edges beneath the mass of dough to create a ball.

2) With a floured palm, flatten the dough (on a floured surface) into a disk.

3) Using floured fingertips gently push the dough from the center outwards, stretching to create a circular pie.

4) Work the thickest parts outward and remain patient.  Shaping the dough should take about 10 minutes.  You should be preheating your oven right now to 450*.  Preheat your baking stone, too.

5) Step away from the dough if you get frustrated.  Remember, we cannot rely on stretching the pizza here, there is no gluten.  You must push and prod the dough.  You should easily be able to achieve a pizza of 14″ in diameter.

6) HEAVILY dust your pizza peel with cornmeal and place the dough atop it.  Let rest and come to room temperature while you prepare your toppings. If desired, season crust with a swath of olive oil and oregano.

7) Do not prebake the crust.  Top pizza (still on peel) and firmly dislodge topped pizza to preheated baking stone when ready to bake.  Cook 15-18 minutes until crust begins to brown.

If you do not have a pizza peel, assemble pie on parchment paper and then place pizza, paper and all, directly atop heated baking stone.

If you do not have a baking stone, go buy one.

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