The Pizza Dough Experiment

After the pizza sauce experiment, in which I made my own sauce free of sugar, I felt empowered. Yes, making sauce is actually fairly easy, but it was a good first step. So, the next logical step is to make my own dough. Also simple, you say? Well, perhaps, but I have never made dough or any pastry from scratch, so I was intimidated.

First step was to find a recipe for dough that did not include sugar. After a while I thought it wasn’t going to happen and figured I’d go with honey, but I did stumble upon a straight-forward recipe on edible sound bites without sugar. I made the dough as soon as I got home from work. I started off in my food processor as it has a dough blade attachment, but I quickly found it did not quite yield the results I had hoped for. I then opted to knead the dough by hand, which was simple enough except I found my interpretation of “on a lightly floured surface” was probably not quite right. I definitely over-floured my work space, and the result was messy. However, I got the dough to a consistency that seemed appropriate and then placed it in a bowl, covered it with a hand towel and walked away for a few hours.

Those hours consisted of me deciding I should purchase a pizza stone and pizza peel. I was soon to find out I should have also invested in some cornmeal to facilitate the transfer of pizza from the peel to the stone, but alas, baby steps.

I came back later expecting a much larger specimen, but I don’t actually think it had risen all that much. Nonetheless, I rolled out the dough into an almost-circle (on a more-lightly-than-before floured surface). I learned the hard way that rolling out the dough on the pizza peel is a bad idea as it has no grip whatsoever. Then, I recalled someone telling me I should lift it and work with the dough to stretch it out, so I tried that for… um… 30 seconds. I felt silly and really had no clue what I was doing, so I felt it best to stop. Let’s just say I was really glad I did not have an audience.

Once the dough appeared acceptable, I added the sauce and toppings and then found out first-hand why they recommend cornmeal for the pizza peel. I thought some flour would suffice – it did, but just barely. I may have uttered some inappropriate language as I tried to transfer the pizza onto a hot stone while 450-degree heat hit my face. Some cheese was sacrificed in action, and a surprising amount ended up on the floor instead of in the oven.

Twelve minutes later, pizza emerged from the oven. It looked fit to eat but not for photography, so sorry, no photos this time. Verdict? Pretty good for a first try. It doesn’t even come close to take-out, but I made it with my own hands at a fraction of the price. I still have some dough left and extra sauce, so I’ll try it again soon – and maybe I’ll even take a picture.

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