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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Crispy Pizza Crust Rounds

One thing you'll find about me is that I'm all about making my own convenience foods. I like to eat homemade; it's often cheaper and almost always better tasting. But sometimes, I just want something quick. That's when I reach in the freezer and pull out something I prepared a different day. For many things, if you're going to make it, it really isn't much more time consuming to make a bunch of it and save it for later use. That's the point of this recipe. My husband and I really love homemade pizza. I'm not a huge fan of the store bought varieties whether it be from a can or a shelf. These pizza rounds are easy to make, taste great, and store in the freezer perfectly. When you're ready for a pizza, take them out of the freezer, top, and bake. There's no waiting around or hassling with it. And everyone gets their own! No more fights over toppings; what a relief!

Crispy Pizza Crust Rounds
Yield: 7-8 pizza crusts
(based on a middle eastern flat bread called Lavash)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 pkt dry active or instant yeast
1 cup warm water
4 TBS plain yogurt
1 TBS olive oil

Mix flours and salt together in a large bowl. Mix warm water, yeast, yogurt, and oil in a small bowl. Let yeast soften for a couple of minutes (if you are using instant yeast, you can just throw everything together at once). Add liquid to dry and stir until comes together in a ball. If dough seems too dry and won't incorporate all the flour, add a little drizzle of oil until it becomes workable.

Turn out on counter and knead until forms a nice ball that is not overly sticky to the touch. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, all the better! Just mix everything in there and let it do your kneading for you. Prepare a large bowl with a drizzle of oil and put finished dough in bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap to keep moist and set in a warm spot. Let rise until dough doubles in size and does not spring back when you poke it, about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Turn dough out on counter. Divide into 7-8 balls of 4 oz each. I use a kitchen scale, but you can estimate. Roll each ball into about an 8 inch circle (see video below). Two rounds should fit on a full-size baking sheet. Brush both sides of each circle with olive oil and prick 8-10 times with a fork. The nice thing about oiling both sides is that once you have an oiled side down, you can "shape" the round and the oil keeps the gluten from pulling the dough back out of shape.

Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the dough is slightly browned and no longer doughy looking, flipping once. How done you bake them is a matter of preference. I like mine more done and crispy, my husband prefers his softer. Either one works.

Remove from oven, cool completely on a rack. When completely cooled, slide into a gallon zip top bag and freeze. Now they're ready for use when you are!

To bake the pizza, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pull rounds out of the freezer and place on baking sheet. Immediately begin topping. Bake in top half of oven until cheese is browned and bubbly.


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