Food: One dough to rule them all

January 13, 2010

You can do so many things with this dough that it’s almost not funny. I’ve memorized this recipe because it’s just that useful.

This dough is terribly useful
How much Of what
Alternate method: Use a food processor instead of a mixer. Mixing time is reduced considerably. I think David usually churns the dough for a minute, or slightly less.
3 c. All-purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose, which has a higher protein content than most)
1 1/2 tsp. Active dry yeast
2 tsp. Salt
1 1/4 c. Lukewarm water
  1. If you’re paranoid about things rising, you can proof the yeast a small amount of the warm water first. But I usually do not.
  2. In a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix together the dry ingredients at very low speed.
  3. Sloooooowly start adding the water, in batches. You may only need 1 cup of it. I find I usually need the entire 1 1/4 cups. You want just enough water for the dough to stick together. You can tell if you’re at the right mixture if the mixer bowl kind of “cleans itself” and the dough is a cohesive ball. If you hear squishy sounds, it’s too wet. Add a bit more flour.
  4. Up the speed of the mixer just a bit and knead for several minutes.
  5. When the dough ball, stretched, keeps stretching instead of tearing into strands and will stretch until reasonably thin without breaking: you’re done.
  6. Lightly spray a bowl with cooking spray—I just use the mixer bowl—and put it somewhere warm to rise for a few hours. Exact timing is not key. Doubling in bulk is a good sign.

Now, do something with it

Option 1: Pizza

Making pizza with this dough is one of the most common applications I put it to.

  1. Preheat the hell out of your oven, at the hottest setting it will do.
  2. Divide a full recipe in half for a large (16-18″ diameter) pizza, or as much as in eighths for personal pizzas.
  3. Roll out or otherwise form your pizza shape. Put your selected crap on it (left as an exercise for the reader) and bake it in the middle of the oven for as long as it takes. Usually about 10 minutes.
  4. If you are lucky enough to have access to a grill or a hotter oven of some sort, you can also “blind bake” the dough (a la a pie crust) for a few minutes—that is, bake it for a few minutes without anything on it yet. Then, remove from oven, flip it over, add your crap and bake again. This makes a much firmer or crispier crust.

Option 2: Bagels

  1. Make the dough as above, except add a tablespoon of molasses and/or sugar.
  2. After the dough has risen for about 2 hours, divide into 8 equal sections and roll into balls. Let rise again for a short while.
  3. Heat a big old pot of water on the stove. Put about a tablespoon of sugar in it.
  4. Preheat your oven to 400F. I don’t know what that is in gas mark, you weird UK people.
  5. Stick your finger through each dough ball, in the center, and whirl it around a bit until you get it into sort of an ugly torus/ring shape. Getting this step perfect takes a few goes, but they’ll taste good even if they look stupid.
  6. When the water boils, add your bagel-things one or two at a time. Boil 1 minute on first side, turn over and let boil another minute. Bagels will initially sink but then rise as they cook.
  7. Remove and drain briefly on a rack before putting onto a cookie sheet and baking in your oven for about 18-20 minutes. Keep an eye on them; you’ll know when they’re done.

Option 3: Bagel dogs

I love these things. So shoot me. They remind me of childhood. David erroneously calls them pigs in blankets (in my reality, that means pancakes around sausage). These are great taken for lunch and reheated. Ketchup is essential.

  1. After dough is risen, divide into 16 pieces. Alternately, and more sanely, save half of the full recipe for something else and divide other half into 8 pieces.
  2. Put large pot of water on stove to boil.
  3. Preheat oven to 400F.
  4. Form each piece into a rough triangle and roll out flat.
  5. Roll a triangle of dough around each hot dog (by the way, you need hot dogs for this!), kind of like a crescent roll.
  6. When water boils, boil each hot dog-dough thing for one minute. Unlike regular bagels, for which I’m a bit finicky about boil time, I just dump all of the hot dog things into the pot at once.
  7. Drain briefly and then bake for about 18-20 minutes on a cookie sheet.
  8. Oh, yum (in my opinion). These keep well.

Other Options…

You could make…bread…or…calzone…or…rolls? You can probably do whatever you want with this stuff.

The dough, once risen, keeps well for a few days in the fridge in something airtight.

I’ve heard reports that freezing dough like this works too, but I’ve never tried it.

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