Quick Rise Pizza Dough
With growing interest in the science of pizza doughs, I stick to 2 types - a quick rise one that uses a generous amount of rapid rise yeast and one that uses a small amount of traditional yeast. Both take minutes to assemble but the first one requires only 30 minutes to rise while the second one peaks after a couple of days in the fridge. Let me be clear! The flavour and texture from a cold fermentation process are truly worth the wait but when that pizza craving hits, this quick rise dough recipe is perfect. Having said that, I have used both recipes interchangeably, either because I make too much and store my quick rise in the fridge for another day or because I can’t wait 3 days for my pizza dough to be ready. For my overnight dough, check out https://marisamariella.com.
Sometimes I make this dough by hand because I need (no pun intended) something tactile to ground me. Other times, I use the mixer and let the dough hook do all the work while I use the 5 minutes to tidy up the kitchen or some other quick task. In either case, while the dough rises, I prepare the sauce and toppings. The pizza is in the oven in about 30 minutes or less. And I don’t stress if the dough rises a little longer. It's absolutely delicious!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, preferably organic
- 1½ - 2 tbsp instant rapid-rise yeast
- 1¼ cup water, very warm to the touch
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp sea salt
- ½ - 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup pureed or crushed canned unsalted San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- few fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
- Vegetables (ex. sauteed mushrooms, thinly sliced red onions, grilled zucchini and eggplants, olives)
- Meat (ex. thinly sliced prosciutto, cooked and crumbled Italian sausage, thinly sliced pancetta)
- Cheese (ex. grated mozzarella or friulano or fresh imported Asiago cheese, ricotta, sliced bocconcini, brie)
- Herbs and spices (ex. fresh basil leaves, dried oregano, rosemary, thyme)
- Extra virgin olive oil
Made by Hand
Generously grease a baking sheet with oil. Set aside.
Preheat baking steel or pizza stone according to package instructions. (Place in a cold oven and set temperature to 450°F - 500°F. Preheat for at least 30 minutes.
Cut a piece of parchment paper larger than what your pizza size will be. Lay it on a pizza peel or a rimless cookie sheet or a rimmed cookie sheet flipped upside down. Set aside.
Place the flour in a large shallow bowl. Sprinkle the yeast and stir.
Measure the water in a measuring cup, making sure that it is very warm to the touch. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir to combine.
Use your hands to bring the dough together and then place on a floured work surface. The dough will look shaggy and lumpy.
Knead for about 10 minutes. Dust with a little more flour as needed. When the dough becomes smooth and pliable, shape it into a ball.
Test the dough by poking it firmly with your finger. If the indentation bounces back quickly, the dough is kneaded enough. If the dimple remains, then continue kneading for a few more minutes. Remove the dough and shape the dough into a ball. Divide into half or quarters, depending on the preferred size of pizza.
Place each portion on the greased baking sheet, ensuring that they do not touch. Lightly cover with plastic wrap. Leave on the counter or other draft-free place and allow to rest for about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the pizza toppings.
Made with Electric Mixer
Place the flour in mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast and stir. Measure the water in a measuring cup, making sure that it is very warm to the touch. Add the rest of the ingredients. Pour into mixing bowl and start with medium-low speed to mix everything. Gradually increase speed to high and knead the dough about 6 minutes.
Continue as above.
Divide the dough in half to make 2 10" pizzas. Place one dough ball on a lightly floured counter and use your fingers to gently spread it out just a little. Then carefully transfer the dough to the parchment paper and continue to spread it out to form a 10-inch circle.
Spread the pizza sauce, leaving a border. Sprinkle with the cheese, then the rest of the toppings. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.
Then, pull the oven rack with the pizza steel or stone out slightly and slide the parchment paper with the pizza on top onto the steel or stone. You may need to adjust the placement of the pizza using the parchment paper. Do not burn yourself. Bake for about 8 minutes or until golden and bubbly. . Then turn the oven on to broil and broil for a minute or two, checking often. Remove from the oven and slice into pieces. Serve hot.
The kneading process strengthens the gluten which gives the pizza dough structure and texture but if the yeast is not alive, no amount of kneading will make the dough rise.
Proofing your yeast
If you are certain that your yeast is fresh, then you do not have to proof it. If you are uncertain, follow these steps:
To test instant yeast, start with 1/2 cup of lukewarm water in a bowl that can hold up to three times the volume. Add in 2¼ teaspoons and 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir lightly and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. Within a few minutes, the mixture will begin to bubble and foam. After 10 minutes, the yeast will have doubled or tripled in size and fill the bowl. These observations indicate fresh yeast. If there is no such activity, either you used water that was too hot or the yeast is dead. If you are certain that the temperature of the water was safe, then discard the yeast. Always check the expiry date of yeast.