​I know, that’s a really crazy headline but I was making pizza dough the other day and realized that I used one skill I learned from being a potter and it made all the difference in the world.

When the pandemic of 2020 hit hubby Ben and I decided that instead of having a date night out, since all the dine-in restaurants were closed, that we would start having a special Pizza and Svengoolie Night!

We started out by ordering Pizza from the many take-out places around town but that led to arguments about toppings. I like Pesto Sauce, mushrooms, olives, and Ben likes Shrimp and Pineapple on a traditional pizza sauce.

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Since I had been making pizza for years and years it was only a matter of time before I took on the job of making our Saturday night pizzas, including the dough. I have a dough recipe that I have used for years but it seemed that it was never consistent in how it came out. Sometimes it was dry, sometimes it wouldn’t rise, sometimes it would rise too much.
Making Pizza Like a Potter
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Like many of us when we were shut inside our houses for months on end, I decided to learn how to make sour dough bread. Most of the bakers I followed didn’t measure their ingredients with measuring cups and spoons. They used a gram scale.

In the Pottery Studio, we use a gram scale to weigh out our glaze material so I knew ALL ABOUT grams but I had never used it in baking.
I actually had a kitchen scale at home that I used for some stupid diet I was on. A tiny button on the bottom changed it from ounces to grams.
Once I began making bread by measuring out the ingredients in grams and  I began to have consistent loaves of Bread.

Weighing (vs measuring) does that.

The other super, awesome part of baking using weights is there are so many fewer dishes to clean afterward.  When I make my Bread dough and Pizza Dough I only use ONE BOWL!!  And you can do that by Taring between ingredients. 

To Tare or Not to Tare. That is not the question.

When you cook with a scale, like when you make a glaze, you TARE the bowl before you put in the next ingredient. Tare means setting the scale to Zero, no matter what is on it. All of the cheap $15.00 kitchen scales I have, have this ability but double-check just to make sure.

So you set the bowl on the scale and hit TARE and the scale shows 0. Add the first ingredient until the scale reads the desired weight. Tare again, add the next ingredient, Tare again, add the next ingredient, and so on.
 
When I make glazes I weigh the chemical, dump it into another container, weigh the next chemical, dump it into the container, and so on. Lots of the material I use when making glaze look alike and I just want to make sure it’s spot on. You can do the same thing with baking if you want but I find I don’t have to.
 

So give it a try. I will share with you my two recipes. Everyday Sandwich Bread and Pizza Dough

A loaf of hot homemade bread
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Everyday Sandwich Bread

There is nothing better than freshly baked, just out of the oven hot bread

 

This is an excellent, soft, slightly sweet bread that bakes beautifully and slices perfectly when cool.  ( I left the cup measurements on this recipe )
Ingredients – Makes two loaves
  • 440 ML (2 cups)  warm water 110 degrees F/45 degrees C
  • 110 G (1/2 cup) white sugar
  • 11 G (1 1/2 tablespoons) active dry yeast
  • 8 G (1 1/2 teaspoons) salt
  • 44G (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
  • 750 G (5-6 cups flour)  You can use all-purpose flour OR  bread flour!
Instructions
In a large bowl, dissolve the 13 G of the sugar in warm water and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam, about 5 minutes.
Mix remaining sugar, salt, and oil into the yeast. Slowly mix in flour. The dough should be tacky and clean the sides of the bowl. Don’t add too much extra flour or your loaf will end up dry. If you think you added to much flour add a bit more hot water until you get the correct consistency. It should be slightly sticky to your hand.
Hand Knead dough adding flour as needed until it’s no longer sticking alot and is smooth ( 7 minutes.} I find myself kneading the dough like I wedge my clay!!
Place in a well-oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth.
Allow the dough to rise until its doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Knead for 1 minute and divide in half.
Shape into loaves and place into two greased 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until the dough has risen about 1 inch above the pans.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30-40 minutes.
This bread cuts beautifully when cool but who can resist it hot out of the oven!  Of course, having soft butter ready to spread is a plus. Check out my Butter Keepers!!

 

Leona Italian Cusine
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So Back to making Pizza Dough

Like I said earlier, originally I made dough by measuring out in cups and teaspoons but my dough was inconsistent. Once I recalculated my recipe in grams my dough is SPOT ON every week.

 I use pizza screens but this recipe will work for any way you want to cook your pizza. Just monitor the cooking time to make sure the bottom gets nicely browned.

This recipe makes four 10″ Pizzas or two 14″ Pizza
Ingredients
  • 667 G Flour
  • 24 G Sugar
  • 11 G Salt
  • 7 G Yeast
  • 35 G Olive Oil
  • 367 G Hot Water (120 F Degree) About 1 1/2 C
The total weight of dry ingredients will be approximately  1057 g

To cut into 4 sections – 264 g per ball

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Mix all the dry ingredients together and mix well.
-Add Oil and blend into dry ingredients
-Add water and knead in machine until a smooth ball forms

OR if kneading by hand (This is how I do it most of the time, sometimes it is like spiral wedging)

Stir the ingredients as much as you possibly can. Then dump the dough and remaining flour onto a clean counter. Hand knead until all the flour is incorporated into the dough.  Continue kneading until the dough is smooth.

For 10″ pizza, make it into 4 equal balls. Knead each one and form into a small oval disc.  Lightly dust with flour, cover and refrigerate until an hour before needing it.  Remove from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature before rolling out and using.

TO FREEZE: This dough freezes very well.  As soon as the dough is made, divide it into the sizes you need.  Put into a floured covered plastic container or ziplock bags and immediately place into the freezer.  When you are ready to use it, remove it from the freezer in the morning and let it thaw in the refrigerator.  An hour or so before making your pizza, remove it from the container and the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
When ready to use:
Roll out the dough starting from the inside and pushing out. Use a rolling pin if needed.  Place the rolled out dough on the pizza screen and cover it with your favorite toppings.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cook pizza in the preheated oven for 12 minutes.

Remove, cut, and enjoy!

I would love to hear if you try making these using the weighing method and what you think!!

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