I make a lot of bread and pizza; especially in the winter months when the house is sealed up tight and the smell of the fresh baking bread can fill every nook and cranny of our home. I have a simple dough recipe that I use for any type of white bread, pizza crust, or yeast roll. The pizza pictured above was for our older sons 18th Birthday.
The basic recipe is as follows:
2 packets yeast (I use quick or rapid rise)
4 cups warm water (not to hot or it will kill the yeast, not to cold or it won’t activate the yeast)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon flour plus 3-4 additional cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dissolve yeast in warm water and stir in the sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon flour. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes on the counter undisturbed. Mixture should get very frothy as the yeast begins to feed on the flour and sugar.
Gently stir in oil. Add half of the flour and all of the salt. Do not add salt before the flour because the salt by itself will start killing the yeast.
Work in the rest of the flour adding little by little until dough can be kneaded without sticking to the side of the bowl. Keep folding sides of your dough ball underneath itself untill you have a neat, dense ball of dough.
Grease a large bowl and set your dough inside. Pour a dab of olive oil on the top of the dough ball. Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rise until double in size. (1-2 hours). I set it in a warm location by the fireplace or on top of the fridge.
When dough is ready, punch the dough ball down to deflate. Knead very little at this point, 2-3 times at the very most. Shape into loaves and place into greased bread pans. Will make 2 large loaves. For pizza just roll your dough on a floured counter, carefully place on a greased pizza pan, and top with your favorite ingredients. For dinner rolls, make your little balls of dough and place on a greased cookie sheet. Baking times vary. For bread: 45 minutes in preheated 375 oven. For pizza: 20-30 minutes in 450 oven. For rolls: 35-45 minutes in 375 oven. (Baking times are approximate.) Baked bread can be frozen for easy use later on. Just allow it to come to room temperature before freezing and make sure it is sealed really well in freezer bags or wrap.