Blogging buddy Cheri, of Fabulous Foods, worked on her friend Mitch's pizza dough recipe for over a year in a friendly competition, trying to best him. She came up with a really great pizza dough recipe by subbing semolina for part of the flour. Semolina is a de-germed and de-branned flour, just like regular all-purpose, but it's made from a high-protein flour. It's yellow color comes from the type of wheat. Because of the way semolina is processed, its texture is coarser than all-purpose flour, and it's the magic ingredient in this dough. Italians have known about semolina for a long time. (My mother-in-law always used to tell me to buy pasta made with semolina.) It adds the chewy texture to this pizza dough, which a true pizza connoisseur reveres.
I did have some trouble with the recipe -- no way could I use the amount of water in the recipe. First off, when I placed the water, yeast and honey in my food processor and pulsed, I had a huge mess -- the mixture splashed up so much it actually came out of the processor. And I've not had success baking pizzas at 550F -- they burn at that temp. My own method is to set the oven at 550F, then immediately reduce to 400F when the pizza goes in.
I've already rated Mitch's pizza dough recipe 10/10, but I need to rethink that rating. Now that I've made both recipes, I can say that I like Mitch's because I can roll it very thin; but I like Cheri's because it has the flavor and chew that comes from semolina. But neither one has it all, so I'm rating both a 9 and am still searching for that elusive "perfect" pizza dough -- one that is crispy on the edges and tender and chewy inside, and has a good flavor. 9 is a very high rating -- I would make either of these pizza doughs again, because they're both excellent.
Cheri's Favorite Pizza Dough, Adapted
Source: Fabulous Foods
Rating: 9 out of 10
INGREDIENTS: 1 cup very warm water, divided use
2 tsp. active dry yeast (not Rapid Rise or instant)
2 tsp. sugar (I used honey)
2-1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup semolina flour (Bob's Red Mill semolina is available in some grocery stores and online)
1 tsp. sea salt
Combine 1/4 cup water, yeast and sugar or honey in work bowl of food processor and pulse to mix. Let sit for about 5 minutes, or till yeast starts to foam.
Measure flours and salt in a large bowl; whisk together. Add 1 cup flour to yeast mixture and pulse to mix. Gradually add remaining water and flour mixture, pulsing while adding. When all ingredients have been added, adjust dough as needed, adding more water to make dough looser, or more flour to tighten it up. You want to use the least amount of flour to get a pliable dough. Too much flour will make the dough tighter and tougher.
Unlike cake batter, yeast dough likes to be beat to death, so have at it! Pulse it, pulse it, pulse it, then pulse it some more. When you've beaten it to death, take the dough out and place it in a bowl that has 1 Tbsp. olive oil smeared around the inside. It helps if your hands still have the olive oil on them -- it will keep the dough from sticking to your fingers. Turn the dough over once, to coat the top with oil as well. Cover with a damp, clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about an hour or so. I like to use my microwave oven (turned off, of course). Test for doubling by putting two fingers into the dough; if the dents remain, the dough has doubled. Also look for little "blisters" on the surface of the dough. You can prepare the dough for baking now, but it will even be better if it "cures" in the fridge overnight. Curing gives the dough more flavor. If desired, you can freeze the dough after the first rising. Let it come to room temperature before shaping and baking. Yield: two (11") pizzas
If you don't have a pizza stone, please do buy one. They're only about $10 and they do make your crust better. I usually cut a piece of parchment about the size of the stone and sprinkle some cornmeal onto it before placing my dough on top. This makes it ever so easy to slip the pizza on and off the stone.