Making and freezing pizza dough: An update

OK. So I hunted down some Italian "OO" flour at my local pasta shop. "OO" simply means it is the finest grind. The protein content and elasticity of the gluten depends on what kind of wheat is used. USA all-purpose flour or white whole-wheat flour works fine, but I wanted to try this fancy stuff. It really was fun (I know we are supposed to go for whole grains whenever we can, but, hey, this is pizza and I will eat quinoa, barley, farro, brown rice and millet another day). Try this recipe modified a bit from the Williams Sonoma catalog.

Servings: 5 12-inch pizza crusts

Ingredients

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 cups really warm tap water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, agave nectar, or honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cups "OO" flour
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

Directions

  1. In the mixing bowl, a food processor, or a stand mixer, dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water and let stand until foamy. I like to "preheat" the bowl with warm water before starting. 
  2. Add about three cups of flour, olive oil, and the salt. Mix with the paddle attachment or knead it on a floured work surface for about five minutes. The dough will be very wet and not yet come together in a ball. 
  3. Add another 1 1/2 cups of flour in stages and keep mixing, now with a dough hook/kneading. The dough will still stick to the side of the mixer.
  4. Add the remaining flour, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough cleans the side of the bowl or it comes together into a manageable dough if kneading. Keep going another 5 minutes, then turn the dough into a lightly oiled bowl. 
  5. If using all five crusts, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours, then divide into 5 balls. 
  6. Dust them with flour, cover with a dry kitchen towel and let them rise another 20 to 30 minutes while you preheat your oven and make the toppings.  
  7. Roll out and make your pizzas as described earlier in this website (search for pizza). 

Major life-changing tip: Make up a full recipe of pizza dough. Divide it into 5 lumps, about 8 ounces each. Set aside the number you want to use that day. Lightly flour the others and wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Put them in a freezer bag and freeze (even before the first rise). Some day in the next month or two when your thoughts turn to a wild mushroom pizza or a pizza Margherita for dinner but you are going to work that day, just put a frozen dough ball into your refrigerator. Leave it in the plastic wrap. Like magic, it will thaw, rise slowly, puffing against the wrap and be ready for the final rise when you come home in the evening. Take it out of the refrigerator when you get home, do whatever you do, preheat your pizza stone at 450 F, make your toppings, roll out the crust and that's it. I used to freeze it after the first rise. This way seems to work better. Also, I used to let it thaw unwrapped in a bowl at room temp, but the dough got a skin on it.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 240
  • Total fat: 1 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 700 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 53 g
  • Dietary fiber: 2 g
  • Sugars: 0 g
  • Protein: 10 g

Note: Each serving calculated using half of 12-inch pizza crust.

Contributor

Preston Maring, MD