I’d never eaten cardboard before. It wasn’t an ambition of mine. It never really entered my mind to do such a thing. But then came that summer evening when we ordered a thin crust pizza from Dominos.
As my teeth tore at the stubborn crust covered in what theoretically was at one time cheese and tomatoes, a horrible thought crossed my mind. Had the bottom of the box inadvertently stuck to my slice of pizza? In spite of my complete lack of experience in eating cardboard, my active imagination was able to project that what I was attempting to chew and swallow, was quite likely cardboard– toughness dissolving into a pulpy mush.
The outcome was a ‘good news/ bad news’ scenario. The good news was that it wasn’t actually cardboard. The bad news was that it was supposed to be pizza crust.
Inspired by this corrugated catastrophe, I decided to seek out a recipe for pizza dough made from scratch. I even checked Youtube to learn how to throw the dough, using centrifugal force and a clenched fist to form the dough. My advise to anyone wishing to learn this is, “Make sure your kitchen floor is swept and washed with disinfectant.” Your dough will spend about half of its time hitting all corners of the kitchen floor. Instead, I now use a rolling pin. Learning to toss pizza dough may have to wait for my next life, provided I’m not reincarnated as a Dominos delivery boy.
Basic Pizza Dough
(Shamelessly borrowed from Mark Bittman’s The Minimalist Cooks Dinner)
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon course kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
The By-hand Method:
1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in large mixing bowl.
2. Add 1 cup of cold water and olive oil. Kneed into smooth ball that is slightly sticky to touch. If dry, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water. If sticky, add tablespoon of flour at a time. (I nearly always add water one teaspoon at a time.)
3. Put dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise ideally 1 to 2 hours. (Or, do what I do. Let it rise about 10 minutes simply because you didn’t think ahead and you’re really hungry.)
4. Press the dough into an oiled or non-stick baking sheet. You can roll it out with a rolling pin and your hands. You can also put it on parchment paper on a stone slab. Whatever works for you.
With whatever toppings you choose, bake in a 500 F. oven for 6 to 12 minutes. If your pizza crust tastes like cardboard using this recipe, you’ve done something seriously wrong. It’s time to re-examine your life.