Heart shaped Pizza

I simply love this pizza dough!

For the last several years we always have pizza in our Valentine’s celebration. This year we actually made homemade pizzas on Monday and then ate another of our favorites (spaghetti and meatballs) on Tuesday at William’s request.

I will confess that I love pizza. It is one of my favorites. I spent many Fridays trying to find the perfect pizza crust recipe. (Prior to sports practices and games Friday night was pizza night at our house.) I even requested pizza dough recipes from my readers at one point. One suggestion I received was excellent, but unfortunately you need to make the dough a day ahead and I don’t always plan that far in advance. I will confess that even though I blog and share probably more information about my cooking than you care to read the truth is I don’t always have a plan for the evening meal. Once I found this recipe for pizza dough, I realized it was the dough recipe for me. While it does require some waiting, I pretty much can decide at lunch time that I want pizza for dinner and can have it on the table at a reasonable time.

As long as the pizzas are headed for the oven and not the grill (need a grilled pizza recipe?), this recipe is what I will be making. You may have noticed that I included this recipe as part of my post about the pizza with prosciutto and mixed greens, but the dough is so yummy that I decided it needed a post all to itself.

I love mushroom pizza. I'll have to share the recipe for this one later!

Pizza Dough

Printer Friendly Recipe
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast or 1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/4 cups bread flour (Make sure you use Bread Flour you won’t get the same result with AP Flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Pour the 1/4 cup warm water and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk by hand to blend. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. After the mixture has rested and the yeast is activated whisk in the 1 cup of water and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the flour and salt. Knead the dough using the dough attachment on the mixer on low speed for about 2 minutes (it will come together in a cohesive mass). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. (This allows the dough to fully hydrate.) After the rest period, turn the mixer to medium-low and knead until the dough is elastic an smooth about 3-6 minutes.

Lightly spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Scrape the dough out of the mixer and into the prepared bowl. Turn the dough over to oil the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size. This should take about 1 hour depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of your oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Allow 30 minutes to 1 hour to insure the stone has heated properly.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press down the dough to let out the air bubbles but do not knead. Divide the dough in half to make 2 (12-inch) pizzas. (The directions say the dough can be refrigerated or frozen at the point but I have yet to try refrigerating or freezing.)

Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour, then press down using your hand or a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a disk about 12 inches in diameter. Dust a pizza peel (or baking sheet) with corn meal to make transferring the dough to the stone easier. Top with your toppings of choice. Transfer the pizza to the hot stone using the sheet pan or pizza peel. Bake for 6-9 minutes. When the pizza is finished cooking remove the pizza using a large spatula, sheet pan, or pizza peel transfer to a cutting board, slice, and enjoy.

Adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking.