Now that families are back to their autumn routine of school / work / sports / activities, they're searching for dinner on the fly. Frozen or takeout pizza is a frequent fallback. Why not up the freshness quotient -- while keeping the convenience -- with homemade pizza dough that can be made in bulk to have at the ready?
Greg Wentz, a chef instructor at Baltimore International College, relies on this easy pizza-dough recipe to give his family the foundation for quick weeknight meals. One pizza might have pesto, mozzarella and tomatoes; another might have homemade tomato sauce with a mix of shredded cheeses and sliced pepperoni.
Note: Each crust from this recipe makes a 14-inch pizza with about 8 slices. Balls of dough you're not using right away can be frozen, wrapped well in plastic wrap, for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Or, prebake crusts and freeze those to top later.
PIZZA DOUGH / / MAKES SEVEN 14-INCH PIZZA CRUSTS, WITH ABOUT 8 SLICES EACH
21 / 2 packages rapid-rise yeast or 0.66 ounces fresh yeast
29 ounces warm water (about 3 2 / 3 cups, at about 95 degrees)
4 egg yolks
3 pounds bread flour
1 / 2 ounce salt (about 21 / 3 teaspoons)
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling bowl
Combine yeast with water and egg yolks; mix in a standing mixer with a dough hook for about 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients; mix on lowest speed for 10 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and let rise, covered, until the dough is doubled in size, about 1 1 / 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. Separate into 7 portions of dough.
To make pizza with a crisp crust, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out each dough ball you're using to 14 inches, pressing out air bubbles and taking care not to make dough too thin. Place dough on a pizza pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray, stretching dough slightly to fit. Make a ridge around the edges with your fingers. Prick crust all over with a fork and bake for 6 minutes, to a light color. Take crust out of the oven and increase heat to 500 degrees.
Brush crust with pesto or pizza sauce; add cheese and other toppings. Brush edges with olive oil and drizzle oil over toppings. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake about 5 minutes.
Courtesy of Baltimore International College chef instructor Greg Wentz
Per slice (dough only): 105 calories, 3 grams protein, 2 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 18 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 99 milligrams sodium