As I type this, a friend of mine is cooking in Umbria, Italy. After returning from my cooking vacation in Italy, I passed along the business card. What do you know, he booked!
I can not wait to hear about his vacation. If his stay is anything like mine, it is going to be one his favorite vacations.
All this reminiscing is going somewhere, I promise.
On the first day of my cooking course, I learned how to make real Italian pizza dough. It was so easy and tasted simply divine.
I promised myself I would make homemade dough from then on out.
No frozen pizza.
Homemade pizza all the way.
Well, to say that I didn’t hold to that promise is putting it lightly.
As a matter of fact, I’ve been ordering more pizza lately than I’d care to admit.
You see, Sebastian and I have started a bit of a bad habit. For the past 3 weeks, we’ve ordered pizza every Tuesday.
Gross, I know.
Yesterday, I put a stop to this dirty habit by preparing enough homemade pizza dough to last us 6 weeks.
Here’s my step-by-step to homemade pizza dough and how to use fresh yeast.
Let’s get started!
Simple stuff here: 1 kg of all-purpose flour, 2 tsp. sugar, 2 blocks fresh yeast, 2 large pinches of salt, 2 (+) cups of warm water.
Here’s what a block of fresh yeast looks like in Germany. It is kept in the refrigerator section of the grocery store and costs about 20 cents.
Pull back the paper and this is what you get. A dry, crumbly block of yeast. You can already smell it by now.
The bowl contains the sugar and 2 cups of warm water. All you have to do is break up the yeast and drop it into the waiting water.
Fresh yeast has a strange texture, one I’m not quite sure how to describe. Sort of rubbery and spongy all at once.
Stir the yeast and water, breaking up any yeast chunks and allowing it to evenly dissolve. Then, set the yeast off to the side and let it do its thing.
Meanwhile, mix the flour and salt.
After only a minute or so, the yeast will begin to foam.
Make a well in the flour and pour the yeast mixture in.
Now put your camera down and get in there with your hands.
Mix, mix and mix some more.
Add more water as needed to form an elastic dough. I added about 1/4 cup more water.
Once the dough looks like this, it’s ready to be turned onto a floured surface.
Now it’s time to kneed.
Kneed the dough for about 7 minutes, or until it is smooth and stretchy.
Almost there, feel free to add another dusting of flour if the dough begins to stick to your surface.
Place the dough into a large floured bowl. Flour the top and sides of the dough as well.
Slice an X into the top. You will literally be able to see the dough rise in front of you.
Fresh yeast is the way to go!
Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place. My sunny radiator worked great.
Here is what the dough looked like about 20 minutes later.
1 hour later.
After an hour of rising, punch the dough down.
Kneed the dough again for a few minutes.
Cut the dough into 6 even portions.
Individually kneed each of the dough balls.
Roll each ball around in flour to prevent sticking in the bag.
Place each pizza dough into a freezer-safe bag.
Close the bag and freeze until ready to use.
To use a frozen dough, simply remove from the freezer a day before you want to make pizza. Allow the dough to thaw in the refrigerator. 1 hour before making the pizza, place the dough in a large bowl in a warm place and let it rise once more. Punch down, kneed and bake as usual.
With plenty of pizza dough ready to go, I really have no more excuses.
Frozen pizza is a thing of the past.
To see more about my experiences taking cooking lessons in Italy, visit the links below.
Learning about Umbria from other Bloggers
Welcome to Italy and Florence
European Chocolate Festival
Cooking School Day 1
Cooking School Day 2
Cooking School Day 3
Cooking School Day 4
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Before going to bed, I wanted to wish my big brother, Ben, a very happy birthday.
I admire your positive attitude and jovial nature.
I’ve been thinking about you all day.
Just so you know, there are 18 little kids from all over the world, currently living in Germany, who heard about 15 Brother Ben stories today.
You’re awesome and I’m so lucky to have you for a big brother. I love you, Boy.
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