Cornmeal Olive Oil Pizza Crust
~ JP ~
We love pizza – especially with a great crust, and ready-made crusts from the store just aren’t the same. If we didn’t have to make dough from scratch we would eat it more often. Here’s a nifty shortcut. This recipe allows you to make it once, then use a piece throughout the week.
Cornmeal Olive Oil Dough Pizza Crust
1 T yeast
6 cups flour
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
3 T sugar
¾ cup yellow cornmeal
¾ cups olive oil
2 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1. Mix yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil with water in 5qt bowl.
2. Mix in flour and cornmeal into the mixture. Be thorough in the mix, but don’t over-knead it. Add more flour if necessary.
3. Let rise at room temp until it collapses ~ 2 hours
Makes enough for eight 12” pizzas, around ½ pound each. [½ pound is the size of an orange, and can be rolled into a thin 12” crust.]
You can use the dough immediately after rising, but its better to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a covered, not airtight container. Just place a lid on the container without sealing it. It lasts about 10 days, and gets easier to handle with time.
See dough handling tips (below).
Handling the dough
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (20-30 minutes)
2. Prep and measure your toppings.
3. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and use a serrated knife to cut off an orange-sized piece. Shape it into a ball and douse the outside with flour so its not so sticky.
4. Flatten by stretching and pulling it out to the sides, holding the center with the heel of one hand, pulling out with the other, rotating this motion as you go.
5. When it doesn’t work, give up. (Just kidding). Take a rolling pin on a floured work surface and flatten the rest of the way, lightly flouring the top to keep things from sticking.
Purists who use a pizza stone, spread it with cornmeal, and use a pizza peel. I have all those things, but don’t use them anymore. After a couple of accidents that left half the toppings on the oven floor, I decided the extra effort wasn’t worth it. Instead, I use a round pizza pan (full of holes). I also have a grate/screen that is fairly stiff and lets air through. They’re easy to get in and out of the oven and I’ve never spilled one. If you don’t have one of these, you can use a piece of parchment paper trimmed to fit the pizza (any edges not touching the pizza will burn). You can place it right on the rack, or a stone, and get a tremendous crust.
For most artisan (thick) crusts, lightly coat with olive oil and par bake the dough for ~7 minutes, before adding the toppings. I drizzle the oil and spread it with my fingers.
For thin crust (1/8 inch) put the cheese on first. This keeps the sauce from soaking the crust and making it soggy. Get it topped and into the oven quickly to avoid this. ~ 10 minutes.
*If you’re using a holy pan (as I do), lightly oil the top and par bake thin crust for up to 5 minutes. Even with the holes, a pan is not the same as a stone. Partially baking the crust before topping will do the trick.
Note: the better your crust is, the less important toppings are. That’s why cheesy bread is popular – it’s just a crust with cheese and garlic salt.