It is the easiest, most versatile dough, and can be used for just about any variety of bread item. Fashion this dough into bagels, croissants, pizza crust, brioche, rolls, and regular ol' bread loaves. The dough can be made, and then refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. I've made all sorts of bread, and this recipe is notably forgiving and foolproof. I love that I can keep this dough in the fridge for several days, and use it in whatever bread form I need. Last week we used a half batch of dough to make stuffed bagel bombs, and the other half to make pizza.
Below is the dough recipe, followed by instructions for making a classic loaf of bread and outstanding pizza crust.
All-Purpose Bread Dough
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3 1/2 - 4 cups flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast (or 1/2 packet)
1 3/4 cups water, at room temperature
Stir together 3 1/2 cups flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer with a spoon (or even easier, using the dough hook like a spoon). Continue stirring by hand as you add the water, mixing for 1 minute.
Attach the dough hook to the mixer, and mix on the lowest speed for 7-10 minutes until the dough looks like a wet ball. If it's too wet, mix in a little more flour (but no more than an additional 1/2 cup).
Brush or spray a large bowl with oil, and dump the dough in. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough proof at room temperature for 45 minutes.
Dough can now be used immediately or stored. If storing the dough, place in an airtight container at least twice its size in the fridge for up to 4 days. Take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature 30-45 minutes before using.
Grease an 8x4-inch loaf pan. Form dough into a loaf shape, and place in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan, and cool completely. Makes one loaf.
For pizza crust:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a lightly floured pizza pan or stone, gently stretch and press dough out into a circle until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Let dough rest for 5-10 minutes. Put on sauce and toppings. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted, and crust is lightly browned.