Because the flour in Italy is softer and lower in gluten than American milled flour these
recipes call for a blend of cake and all-purpose flour to mimic an Italian style crust. This
tender dough stretches more easily and has less of a tendency to spring back onto itself
making it easier to wield and shape.

Another important factor in making great tasting pizza or pastas is the water you use. In
Italy and other parts of Europe, the water has more natural minerals in it, so use good
water like filtered, store bought or the best is to use non-carbonated mineral water for
baking. It may cost a little more, but you will definitely taste the difference, and never use
hot tap water for cooking because of the impurities associated with hot water heaters. In
small amounts use your microwave and for larger amounts use your stove top. Remember
good cooking should always taste good! If your water tastes bad, most likely it will effect
the taste of your food.

Each style of pizza has it's own dough recipe, but the making of each dough is basically
interchangeable except for the ingredients and thickness. Below are a few recipes.

Neapolitan Pizza Dough  (Basic Pizza Dough)

Ingredients

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water (105°F to 115°F / 40°C to 45°C)
1 cup cake flour (not self rising)
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil, to grease the bowl

Makes about 14 ounces -- Enough for one 14-inch pizza or two 10-inch pizzas

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water.  Make sure the water is not too hot, as this will kill the yeast and
prevent the dough from rising.

If using a stand mixer, use the paddle because the dough hook will not mix this size batch efficiently.  In the mixing
bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and stir by hand to distribute.  Add the
dissolved yeast and place the bowl and paddle on the mixer.  Start mixing on the lowest speed to mix.  Increase
the speed slightly and mix for 2 to 3 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Do not over-knead, as this will
build up too much gluten and make the dough difficult to shape.

If using a food processor, be sure to use the plastic blade; the metal blade will cut through the gluten strands and
keep the dough developing any "body."  Proceed as for the stand mixer, making sure to stop kneading as soon as
the dough forms a smooth ball.  Over-kneading could overheat the dough because the mixing bowl is directly
above the motor.

If mixing by hand, place the dry ingredients in a 4 to 6 quart mixing bowl, and stir to combine.  Make a well in the
middle and pour the liquids, reserving 1 teaspoon of the olive oil.  Use a wooden spoon to combine the
ingredients.  Once all the flour is mixed in, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and, with lightly oiled
hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes.  It should be smooth and elastic, but will still be slightly sticky.

Place the remaining teaspoon of oil in a 1-quart mixing bowl and spread it with your fingertips.  If desired, divide
the dough into halves.  Place the dough ball in the bowl, move it around the oil, then turn it over so that the oiled
side is facing upward.  Let dough rise on an oiled cookie sheet covered loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel
until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours at room temperature.  

To roll and shape the dough, lightly flour your hands and generously flour a clean, flat work surface.  Work with 1
piece of dough at a time.  Place it on the floured surface and press down with your fingertips in the middle,
spreading the dough with your hands.  When the dough has doubled in width, use a floured rolling pin to roll it
very thin, like flatbread.  The outside rim should be slightly thicker than the center of the dough.

Using a bread spatula, transfer the dough to a pizza peel.  Don't worry about keeping a perfect circle; you can
reshape the pizza once it is on the peel.  Reshape the dough slightly, pinching together any holes that may have
formed.  Dress the pizza according to the recipe. Transfer pizza to a pre heated 500 degree oven onto a pizza
stone or a pizza pan. If using a pizza stone, make sure it has been in the oven for at least 20 - 30 minutes before
transferring the pizza. Pizza should be done in 5 - 10 minutes depending upon your toppings if any.


Sicily is world renowned for its excellent rectangular pizzas, and with the following recipe,
you can learn how to make pizza dough the authentic way. This Sicilian pizza dough
recipe contains yeast, flour, water, oil, sugar and salt and needs to double in size.

Sicilian Pizza Dough

Ingredients

2 packages dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
1 cup cake flour (not self rising)
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar

Coat a bowl with a teaspoon of the oil and set it aside.

Stir the water, sugar, and yeast  together and sit for 10 minutes. Put 3 cups of the flour in a large bowl and add
the salt.

Spread the rest of the flour over a board. Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture, and then add this to the bowl of
flour. Stir until well mixed then turn out on to the floured board.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Knead the dough well until you have a smooth ball of dough.

Place it in the greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and then a towel and let it sit for 30 minutes or until the dough
has at least doubled in size.

Use half the dough to make a pizza crust, brush the edges with olive oil, and add your choice of topping

CHICAGO STYLE PIZZA is a pizza with a thick crust and is actually cooked in a deep pie
pan.

Deep Dish Pizza Crust

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup cake flour (not self rising)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups warmed water
1/4 cup dry instant yeast
1 tsp of sugar
1 tablespoon salt

Mix it all in a big bowl.  Let it rise until it doubles in size.  You can then knead it by hand and let it rise  again.  After
it has doubled in size again, roll it out to about 3/4 inch thick.  This makes a big thick pizza  crust.  Allow enough
time to cook in a 350 degree oven, so that middle of thick pizza crust is done and not doughy. Makes two 9 inch
deep dish pizza crusts.

Since pizza owes it's origins to the flatbread, many ancient recipes call for a no yeast
dough. This is a quick dough that makes a very thin crust and has come popular for those
who cannot or chooses not to consume yeast products and those who love a very thin
pizza.

No Yeast Pizza Crust

2 cups all purpose flour                   
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pizza pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Combine dry
ingredients in mixing bowl. Add liquids and stir to incorporate dry ingredients.  Knead dough by hand 6-8 times on
a lightly floured surface.  Roll dough thinly.  Place rolled dough onto prepared pizza pan or stone, add favorite  
toppings.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, depending on crust thickness.
Know Your Dough