Pizza Dough

Here’s another way to use leftovers out of the fridge in a creative way: pizza. This is a good basic dough recipe. We had barbecue sauce from when we made pulled pork, pineapple from a salad, Spanish chorizo from when we made stew, a few green olives, some roasted tomatoes, etc. That sounded like too many intense flavors for one pizza, so we divided it and did a barbecue chicken pizza with pineapple and cheddar, and a chorizo, olive and roasted tomato pizza with gouda and parm. Mix it up with whatever cheeses, sauces and toppings you prefer.

Extra-virgin olive oil, for greasing and brushing
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
6 c. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. salt

Grease the inside of a large bowl liberally with olive oil and set aside.

Place ½ cup warm (105 to 110 degrees F) water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to sit for about five minutes, or until the yeast has formed an active layer at the top.

Meanwhile, place the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Pour out the flour mixture onto a cool work surface. Form a well in the center of the flour. Pour the yeast mixture into the well. Add 1 ½ cups of cool water. Keeping the well intact for as long as possible, slowly begin to mix the flour at the water’s edge into the liquid. Continue mixing until the liquid starts to form a dough, then scrape the remaining flour into it. Add water as needed to make the dough workable.

Transfer the dough to the greased bowl. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil, then loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place away from drafts until doubled in bulk (roughly 1 ½ to 2 hours).

Punch down the dough and knead a second time. Let the dough rise again for about 40 – 50 minutes, then punch the dough down again and divide the dough into 4 balls. Shape balls into crusts by rolling them out onto a baking stone. Top as desired and bake for 20 – 30 minutes. Freeze any unused dough for up to 3 months.