There's nothing quite like the delicious smell of yeast and olive oil emanating from your oven as a homemade pizza bakes. The best part about making a pizza is the endless flexibility you have in deciding what type of dough to make, which toppings to use and how and when to use olive oil. For the maximum olive oil flavor, there are three possible opportunities to incorporate this healthy oil into your pizza-making process.
In the Dough
All pizza dough recipes use water, yeast and flour, but some also call for the addition of 1 or more tablespoons of olive oil. This infuses your dough from the beginning with a pleasant olive oil flavor in every bite. It will also make your dough a little less sticky as you combine and knead it into a ball.
Prior to Baking
The second opportunity to add olive oil to your pizza is before you bake the dough. After your dough has risen and you have stretched it out to your desired shape and size, you can apply olive oil to the unbaked dough before baking. Once your dough is on the peel that you will use to insert it into the oven or on the baking sheet that you will be cooking it on, use a pastry brush to apply 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the outer perimeter or to the entire dough circle, if desired.
You can then add all of your ingredients on top of the oiled dough. Not only will the olive oil impart a delicious flavor to your dough, but it will also create a barrier between your wet ingredients and the dough, preventing a soggy crust. Furthermore, the olive oil you brush on the outer perimeter will give the resulting crust a beautiful, golden brown color.
Prior to Serving
After you remove your pizza from the oven, you can finish the pie with a little bit more olive oil for a shiny crust and maximum olive oil flavor. Brush approximately a tablespoon of olive oil onto the crust. You can also drizzle a bit of olive oil over the entire pie.
Selecting an Olive Oil
While the quality of the oil is not that important when you incorporate it as an ingredient in the dough, using top-notch olive oil for brushing the pre-baked or baked dough will make a big difference. The flavor of the oil will come through more strongly when added at these stages. Look for extra virgin olive oils, which have no acidity, for a top-notch, flavorful oil. You can also finish your pie with other types of oils, such as truffle oil, for other interesting flavor profiles.
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