Homemade pizza is really, really good. In fact, I’m going to be making this a lot more.Â And I’m not just saying that because there areÂ two more balls of pizza dough currently sitting in my freezer.
I’ve tried to make pizza once before, as one of my first forays into breadbaking. And it was before I knew what I was doing, and in retrospect, I know now that my yeast was dead (poor yeast!), because the dough barely rose and was completely inelastic. Not surprisingly, then, I couldn’t roll it thin enough to make a delicious thin-crust pizza.
This dough, though, was perfect. A little wet, which made it a little tricky to work with, but it was perfectly thin and baked up crispy. I used my favorite shortcut tomato sauce (tomato paste, water, parmesan cheese and spices), grated mozzarella, and grilled chicken, and YUM!
The dough takes a lot of resting, but once you’ve made it, it’s freezeable for months. I can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t have a few pizza crusts ready to go at all times — can you?
Grilled Chicken Pizza
4 1/2 Cups bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cups water, ice cold
1 tbsp sugar
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
3/4 cups water
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 chicken breast, rubbed with olive oil
Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a large bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer). Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.
Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper. Turn the dough out onto the counter and cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Gently round each piece into a ball. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.
Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.
On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.
Make the tomato sauce by mixing together tomato paste, water, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, smoked paprika. Grill the chicken in a grill pan for 10 minutes on high heat, flipping halfway through, and allow to cool. Chop the chicken into small pieces and set aside.
At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500Â° F). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.
When the dough has the shape you want, top it with the tomato sauce, chicken and cheese. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven and bake for about 5-8 minutes. After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180Â°.
Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.