Yes, there is yeast in this dough. But please, PLEASE don’t run away! Yeast isn’t as hard to work with as you may have been led to believe.
And coming from me, that means a lot. Because I used to be terrified of working with yeast. It seemed too picky for my simple ways: cold water won’t activate it but hot water’ll kill it; don’t ‘feed’ it too much flour at once or the whole world will fall apart (the end-result will also taste really yeasty), etc. How to tame the great terror known as yeast? Experience.
And let me tell you, I do NOT like that answer. I mean, it doesn’t seem like a quick-fix solution. But it can be. (If you use someone else’s experience! ha)
Well, anyways, lemme demystify yeast for you.
1) What kind of water activates yeast? Warm water. How do you know its warm? The easiest way to know is to stick your finger/hand under the faucet and feel the water; if your hand is comfortable (not too cold and not too hot) then the water is ready to activate them yeast! (Think Goldilocks and her porridge)
2) A starter…what’s a starter? It’s just a mixture of that warm water, yeast, and flour that’s set aside for a little while to ferment (allow the yeast to activate). The starter is ready to use when it’s foamy and bubbly (pretty sure those two words mean the exact same thing but I just had to use them both!) The amount of flour you use for the starter will affect how long it takes to get to the foamy stage–more flour gives the yeast more “food,” activating it quicker.
Fun fact: technically you don’t even need to add yeast to make the dough rise! If you mix up the water and flour and leave it for long enough, the yeast from the air will be “attracted” to it and voila! (you have to add more water and flour every so often to keep “attracting” and “feeding” the yeast) And that, my friends, is the basis of how sourdough breads are made.
3) When is it done rising? When it’s doubled in size. I usually let my dough rise twice. After the first rise, punch it down and knead it before letting it rise again. After the second rise, it’s ready to be baked to perfection!
4) Does the surrounding temperature matter while it’s rising? Well, kinda sorta. You could technically leave it in the fridge and it would rise–after hours. The reason you usually let it rise in a warm atmosphere is to speed up the process. You can adjust the temperature according to your schedule. (I would suggest doing that after you’ve worked with yeast-doughs some and are comfortable with them–which won’t take long! )
5) Why let the dough rise after being shaped? When making bread and pizza, letting the dough rise in the oven gives it more “umph”– it gets “light and fluffy.” If you ever baked a loaf of bread without giving it this final rise, it’ll be a whole lot denser (which is great if that’s what you like). For this pizza, I wanted a thin-crust, so I skipped this final rise. If you prefer a thick-crust pizza, let the dough rise in a warm oven (or cold; it’ll just take longer–check out #4 to find out why)
Any other questions I didn’t get to here? Feel free ask in the comments section!
And now, armed with this knowledge, you are fully ready to be entrusted with this pizza dough recipe. Make your tastebuds and stomach proud!
- 1½ cups warm water
- 1 tbsp yeast
- 2¼ cups white flour
- 1½ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp salt
- Mix ¼ cup of the warm water with the yeast and a tablespoon of the white flour. Cover with a cloth and set aside (for about 15 minutes)
- Once the mixture is foamy, add the rest of the water and stir. Mix in the salt and 1 cup of the white flour. Add the rest of the flour and kneed on a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest until the dough has doubled size.
- Afterwards, kneed the dough for a few minutes before covering it and leaving it to rest once again (until it has doubled in size).
- Kneed the dough once again (the last time--I promise!) The dough is now ready to be shaped and topped! For a thin crust pizza, roll the dough out, transfer to a greased baking pan/sheet, top with your favorite sauce and toppings, and cook at 400F for about 15 minutes.
- For a thick-crust pizza, roll the dough out, transfer to a greased baking pan/sheet, and let rise in a warm oven for about 10 minutes before finishing it with your favorite sauce and toppings. Cook at 400F for about 15 minutes.