Huge dough balls fast! No waiting! Make pizza for dinner in 30 minutes or less! Here’s how! Why pick up the phone when you can slap together some flour and water and get busy?!
There are so many “use it now!” pizza dough recipes creeping around the internet. Some of them are even from authoritative sources. But if you want a great pizza, a pizza that makes you say, “Wow, I’m glad I didn’t trust this meal to my local Papa’s Domino Hut,” you will be disappointed by Use It Now pizza dough. Here’s why…
It’s impossible to make a great pizza dough in a matter of minutes. Good pizza dough is about the place where two fantastic F-words collide: it's Food banging into Fermentation.
But what is fermentation? You certainly know the word. Fermentation is a metabolic process. And what the F does THAT mean? Let’s unpack it just a little to better understand how it leads to freeing the pizza.
Trust me, you’re going to hate this. It gets so Biology 101, but it’ll be worth it.
Metabolism is what we non-science types vaguely understand as some crazy clock inside us. We know it slows down as we get older, so we get fatter than ever by eating too much pizza. The word metabolism comes from the Greek word “metabolē,” meaning “change.” And that's not like, “Oh, I don’t have change to tip the pizza delivery guy.” We’re talking life change.
But wait. It gets better. Metabolism is (ready?) an enzyme-catalyzed reaction that lets living things grow. (Science!) In a metabolic process, three important things happen: 1) taking the potential energy in food and converting it into fuel for running a cellular process; 2) converting food into building blocks for other compounds; and 3) eliminating metabolic waste.
And with food, fermentation is the metabolic process that produces what experts call “a desirable chemical change.” That’s unlike the other, less desirable, temporary, smoke-induced chemical change we all know about that inspires one to order an 18-inch delivery pizza or jam one’s head into a party-size bag of tortilla chips—or to eat an entire one-pound chocolate bar, which we mention because the process of making chocolate requires fermenting cocoa beans. Do you like sauerkraut? Yep: fermented. Even the pizza-pertinent word "cheese" has etymology related to fermentation.
If we were talking about making wine, the desirable chemical change is the creation of alcohol. Single-called microorganisms called yeast (the royalty of the fungus kingdom!) eat the sugars present in the fruit juice, then eliminate the metabolic waste in the form of alcohol. They’re having a party so we can, too. Whee!
For pizza dough, the metabolic process is similar. We toss those royal yeast into flour and water, and they get busy. They’re all in there, eating the sugars and producing carbon dioxide and alcohol.
In fact, if you ever overdo the yeast in a batch of dough, you can smell the alcohol just coming off that dough. It’s crazy. And the dough isn’t going to be very good, either. (Been there. Done that.)
The carbon dioxide produced by the yeast also makes the dough rise. Those yeast also help develop the gluten. And the gluten is why we can stretch a little ball of dough into a big, flat, elastic disc and call it pizza.
Here’s the thing: you cannot rush the process of fermentation. Yes, you can throw in fistfuls or yeast and the dough will puff up in short order. But it doesn’t taste good. When you’re talking about wheat flour, the proteins, starches and fats in it don’t have a lot of flavor. But add a little yeast and, over time, it breaks them all down. It helps them develop fabulous flavors that are the reason amazing pizza tastes amazing.
You can even tell whether a dough has been fermented just by looking at the crust. The resulting pizza crust looks smooth and lacks texture. It looks like many, many fast-food pizzas you see out there from chains whose strengths are being consistent, convenient and quick.
The downside is that fermentation requires patience—but the upside is worth it. This is how you serve people a pizza that makes them say, “This is the best pizza I’ve ever had!”
So don’t rush it. You’ll be glad you didn’t. And when you start making a habit of having dough balls and sauce in the freezer, you can have fresh pizza almost as easily as making a phone call—except it’s a fraction of the price and it makes you so very happy.
Want to know more about how to Free The Pizza and get some FREE intel? Click here.
Blaine Parker (AKA The Pizza Geek) is fanatical about the idea that true, professional-quality pizza can be made at home. His home. Your home. Anyone's home. After two decades of honing his craft and making pizza in standard consumer ovens across the nation, he's sharing what he's learned with home cooks who want to pizza. Blaine is also the author of the new, unusual and amusing how-to pizza book, Free The Pizza!
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