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Fresh Veggie and Canadian Bacon Pizza with Homemade Crust

3/21/2012, 8 a.m.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown
Serves 8; 2 slices per serving

Crust
4 cups all-purpose flour,
      plus ½ cup set aside
1 envelope instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt  
1¼ cups tepid water
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cornmeal for dusting the peel

Toppings
2 cups part-skim mozzarella
  or other reduced-fat cheese
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 ounces Canadian bacon, diced
2 cups sliced or chopped fresh
   vegetables, such as  mushrooms,
   zucchini, broccoli, asparagus or
   onions, or a combination
4 teaspoons thinly sliced or finely
   chopped fresh herbs, such as
   basil or oregano, or a combination  

If using a standing mixer, in the bowl whisk together the 4 cups of flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Pour in the water. Attach the dough hook. With the mixer on low, beat until the dough forms a ball, stopping the mixer and pushing down the dough with your hands as needed so it combines well. If the dough is sticky, add some of the remaining ½ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat for 2-3 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.

If mixing by hand, in a large bowl stir together the 4 cups of flour, yeast, sugar and salt using a large wooden spoon. With your hands, blend the dough into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add some of the remaining ½ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, working it in for 3-4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and does not stick to the side of the bowl.

For either method, set the dough aside to rest for 15 minutes.

To knead the dough with the mixer, beat on medium-low until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Push the dough away from you with the heels of your hands. Fold the dough back over onto itself. Continue to knead the dough for about 30 seconds, or until the dough is smooth and elastic, then work the dough into a ball.

To knead by hand, turn the dough out as directed above and knead for 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Work the dough into a ball.

Lightly coat a large, clean bowl with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place (about 85ºF) until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Fold down the dough, patting it into a disk, and place it back in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the dough and cut into two equal portions. Shape each into a ball.

If you plan to use the dough that day, leave it on the counter, covered with a clean kitchen towel, for 1 hour to let it relax so shaping is easier. If you plan to use the dough another day, wrap it well in plastic wrap or put in an airtight plastic bag, and refrigerate for up to 1 week. For longer storage, freeze the dough, then when you’re ready to use it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.