2 ¼ teaspoons of dry yeast (one packet) for focaccia and thick crust pizza
Or 1 ¼ teaspoons of dry yeast for thin crust pizza
1 ½ cups of very warm (not hot) water
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons of fine sea salt
3 ¾ cups of unbleached bread or all-purpose flour plus more for kneading the
2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon more for coating the mixing bowl
Method for proofing the yeast:
In a large measuring cup, combine the water, yeast and sugar. Leave for 5 to 6 minutes, or until foamy. If the mixture does not “bubble”, throw it away and use a new package of yeast.
Food Processor Method – an 11 to 14 cup processor is needed
- While the yeast is “proofing”, combine the flour and the salt in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse two or three times with the plastic dough blade. *
- When the yeast and water mixture are foamy, turn the processor on and pour the yeast mixture through the feed tube until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough does not form a ball, because it is too wet, add more flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a ball. If the dough is dry and not coming together, add water, about 1/8 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away and forms a ball around the blade. Continue to process 45 seconds to a minute. Turn off the machine and add the olive oil; process for 1 more minute.
- On a floured board turn the processor bowl over so that the dough falls on the board. Remove the blade carefully. Continue to knead for a couple of minutes until the dough is smooth, adding more flour to the dough if it is too sticky. Knead the dough into a ball.
- Put the ball of dough into a large mixing bowl to which you have added the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and turn it once to coat the other side. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rise until doubled, 1 ½ to 2 hours. Punch down and let rise one more hour, if possible.
*A metal blade can also be used to make the dough but if children are using the processor I suggest ONLY the plastic dough blade be used. Removing the dough from the work bowl can involve touching the center blade, which is very sharp. I suggest turning the processor bowl over onto the counter, allowing the dough to fall out. The blade can then be removed more easily.
- Combine the flour and salt, and place the mixture in a very large bowl. Make a well in the center, and add the yeast mixture and olive oil. Gradually work the flour into the liquid, using a wooden spoon or your fingers. When the dough is too stiff to work with the spoon, knead it with your hands on a floured surface until it is smooth and shiny, about 8-10 minutes. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky
- Put the ball of dough into a large mixing bowl to which you have added the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and turn it once to coat the other side. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean dishtowel and let rise until doubled, 1 ½ to 2 hours. Punch down and let rise one more hour, if possible.
Stand Mixer with Paddle Attachment
- Combine the flour and salt into the work bowl and mix on low speed to incorporate the ingredients then slowly add the yeast mixture and olive oil while mixing on the low speed for about one minute.
- Attach the dough hook to the mixer and start on a low speed. Gradually increase the speed to medium until a ball forms. This should take about 30 seconds. If the dough does not release from the sides of the bowl, add a pinch of flour. If the dough is very dry and floury, add a small amount of water. Knead about 5 to 8 minutes on medium speed.
- If the dough does not come away from the sides or bottom of the bowl, you will need to hand knead the dough briefly on a floured surface.
- Put the ball of dough in a mixing bowl to which you have added the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and turn it once to coat the other side. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rise until doubled, 1 ½ to 2 hours. Punch down and let rise one more hour, if possible.
Pizza dough can be made ahead of time. Place each ball of dough in an oiled (2 tablespoons of olive oil) self-sealing plastic bag and refrigerate up to three days, or freeze for up to a month, first allowing the dough to rise for 30 minutes before freezing.
Allow the refrigerated dough to stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours before using. Thaw the frozen dough in the bag at room temperature until the dough has warmed up and risen to almost twice its size (2 to 3 hours).