Pizza Dough – Pizza deeg zelf maken #start2BBQ
I don’t need to tell you the world of BBQ is for bigger than just grilling a piece of meat! But did you know, you can bake the most delicious pizza on moste BBQ’s? Making your own pizza isn’t that difficult. You’ll soon have a result you can be satisfied with. But making the best pizza is something you will quickly see as a challenge. In this post we’ll take a closer look at what it takes to make the almost perfect pizza. There is always room for improvement, isn’t there? But here are some insights that helped me improve my dough skills. With as result a lovely crusted airy pizza bottom.
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The Best!!! Usually anyway… I certainly don’t want to prejudice the pizzeria with this. Because no matter how well I make my own pizza, I still don’t feel I can match a real Italian pizza from the pizzeria. What I especially aim for with this subtitle is encouraging you to try and make your own pizza sauce and dough. Because although you might not be able to get the pizza as good as in your favorite pizza restaurant (or maybe you might for the experts), you can undoubtedly surpass the majority of instant pizzas, if you know what you’re doing. Making your own sauce and dough isn’t that hard as it seems if you find out what you’re doing. The first time it may seem like a lot of work, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find you’ll have plenty of time in between to finish your wife’s list of chores (unfortunately…).
A good pizza starts with a good dough. Opinions will probably differ around this because food and taste are subjective. I’m not a fan of thick crusted pizzas myself. Give me a thinner and crispier crust at the bottom with a nice airy dough in the thin layer just above. To get this effect two things are important in the dough itself: a good fermentation so that the air bubbles provide a lightness in the dough and also a firm gluten structure is needed but not too firm. Otherwise the dough becomes too tough and unworkable. To achieve these factors three things are very important:
- The right flour: For making pizza it is recommended to use 00 flour. But what is 00 flour and what makes it so special for pizza. Tipo 00 flour is a very finely ground wheat flour. Look for a tipo 00 wheat flour with a gluten percentage of about 12 percent. The less gluten the flour contains the less elastic the dough will become. However, if it contains too much gluten, your dough will become stiff, making it more difficult to rise and the lightness of your pizza will drop significantly.
- Activating the yeast: You can do this by activating the yeast in lukewarm water with some sugar. Attention,when the water is too hot it kills the yeast, when it’s too cold water hinders the activation. By activating the yeast, it has an advantage over other substances such as salt, which extract moisture from the yeast and can also kill it. Activating the yeast is therefore a good warming up for your yeast to achieve a good result.
- Get the feeling: kneading the dough is important to get the right gluten structure. If you don’t knead enough, your dough will be sticky and the gluten strands will not be firm enough. If you knead too long, your pizza can become too firm and tough. The moment in between is the moment we are looking for. The moment that your dough feels silky soft and springs back slightly when you poke it gently with your finger.
If you’ve kept these factors in mind, all you have to do is wait patiently while the dough rises. This phase is also very important. At this moment your dough is going to form the air bubbles that are needed to make the dough light and airy. Again it’s just a matter of looking at your dough. When it’s about doubled you’ll notice that the dough is getting a bit more supple and possibly already starts to form a bubble. At this moment you can carefully take the dough out of the bowl, ball it up (it can help to do this on a flowered surface) and divide it. Be careful not to knead the dough too much or press it while cutting, otherwise you push the air out again. Then let the portioned balls of dough rise a little further.
Forming the pizza
If I may choose one element that I want to immerse myself in even more, it’s forming the perfect pizza base like the real pizzaiolo. This is also an important part of working on a delicious pizza. You can shape the dough using different techniques although not all methods are equally effective.
- Rolling the Pizza dough: Rolling the dough is perhaps something that is done most often in Flanders. This results in a thin crispy bottom. Nothing wrong with that. But keep in mind, however, that the frequent rolling of the dough causes more and more air to be squeezed out of the dough. Because of this you actually undo the work you did before to make your dough rise nicely and your crust will also stay flat. Until recently I did it this way myself. But the last pizza I made I used the finger pulling technique. I have to say, it does make a difference!
- Stretching the Pizza dough: The stretching technique is a possibility in itself but still requires some caution and knowledge. Especially the choice of flour is essential (recommended for pizza 00 flour). If you are too brutal when racking, the gluten structures can tear, which will not benefit your pizza bottom. With a firm gluten structure and the necessary caution, you can get on without pushing air out of the bottom. Think of throwing up the pizzaiolo. If you are not familiar with the throwing part (like me) you might use your whole hand to stretch the dough. This is tricky because you risk being to brutal and tearing the dough apart (yes I’ve done it before…)
- Finger pushing the pizza dough: An option between the two, which is perhaps safest for the amateur chef, is to gently push the pizza dough to stretch it. You can do this by gently pushing the dough from the inside out with your fingers until you have a bottom of the desired size. By following this method you don’t push the air completely out of the bottom, but to the outer layer of your pizza bottom, which gives you a nice airy crust.
With these steps I hope to set you on your way to making a nice pizza bottom. From the moment you’re able to make a good pizza dough it only depends on your imaginations and the way you bake your pizza (more about that later on). Are you a fan of experimenting ? Or do you prefer the classics. You probably might have some more tips from your own backyard that you want to share with us? Then we’d love to hear it. Don’t hesitate to take a moment to react on Facebook or instagram or tag me and show me your results.
- 450 gr. 00 flour
- 4 gr. dry yeast
- 250 ml. lukewarm water
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil +- 10 gr.
- 4 gr. sugar
- 8 gr. salt
- Optional: a handful of fresh herbs basil, oregano, rosemary…
Start by activating the yeast. You do this by dissolving the dry yeast in lukewarm water. Set this aside for 10 minutes until you notice that the yeast dissolves in the water and the whole begins to “foam”.
Meanwhile, weigh the flour and add it to a mixing bowl. Stir in the salt, sugar and optionally fresh herbs. Make a hole in the middle into which you pour a tablespoon of oil.
Pour the water with the activated yeast into the hole and mix well by hand or using your food processor. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes at slow speed. Stop when you notice that you have obtained a silky soft elastic dough that hardly sticks.
Form a ball of the dough and let it rise for about 2 hours under a damp towel at room temperature. Check the dough regularly after an hour and a half. If the dough has doubled and does not immediately spring back when you gently port it with your finger then you are ready for the next step.
Carefully cut the pizza dough into 2 (or 4) pieces, round them up and let them rest for another half hour on a flowered worktop under a damp towel.
Now the dough is ready to form your pizza. Take a ball of pizza dough and gently press it from the middle out with your fingers. Slowly work your way out until your pizza has reached the desired size and thickness of bottom. Make sure that you stay at least one cm from the edge each time so that you can get a nice crust.