Best! Dough for Sloppy Joe ‘Za! (well, for any ‘Za, really)

14DoughFirstBakebfLOSo, we’ve made some mighty-fine Sloppy Joe’s (ermmm, if I do say so myself), now it’s time to make the dough.

I found a pizza dough recipe I really liked when I made the White ‘Za a little while back. I thought it had a great texture, and loved the addition of honey and black pepper to the dough (OK, so the recipe called for white pepper – Tellicherry worked a treat, and added some nice dark flecks to the crust); but it wasn’t just right – so I went on looking for that perfect dough.

01FlourPepperbfLOFound it! I think.

This recipe, from the book that came with my mixer, claims to be a basic dough for pizza, focaccia, or calzones; and it, too, calls for honey, so I added a nice bit o’ the 04YeastBubbledbfLOTellicherry just to be festive. This recipe also, like the Alex Guarnaschelli one earlier, offered a cool little tip for use when making your own ‘Za – and I’ve added both to this recipe post, so look for the bold text.

•1-1/2 cup warm water (110º)
•2 tsp yeast
•1 tsp honey
•4 to 4-1/2 cups flour
•2 tsp kosher or sea salt
•1/2 tsp Tellicherry pepper
•2 tbsp olive oil – plus more for later
•Corn meal

05YeastAddOliveOilbfLOCombine 4 cups of the flour with the salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Stir together the warm water, the honey, and the yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer and let it stand for 10 minutes – until the yeast is dissolved and the mixture foams.

Add the olive oil and 3 cups of the flour mixture.

07DoughKneadedbfLOUsing the dough hook, mix the dough on a low setting (my mixer called for setting 2 out of 12) for 2 minutes.

With the mixer still running, add the remaining flour mixture – one tablespoon at a time – until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and starts to cling to the dough hook. Use the extra half cup of flour if you need to, I did.

Increase the mixer speed to 3 and knead the dough for 4 minutes or so, until it is smooth and elastic.

09DoughFirstRisebfLOForm the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil.

Turn the dough to oil all sides, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside for one hour, until the dough has doubled.

Punch the dough down and let rest for 10 minutes, then proceed.


11DoughSecondRisebfLOTIP: If you have the time, once you’ve punched the dough down, recover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside for another 60 minutes and allow it to rise again. This extra time will give you a dough with more developed flavor and texture.

Does it work?

12PanOIledbfLOI dunno. I had the time, so did the second rise and was very happy with the result. I should also note that because I had actually read the entire recipe (!) and planned ahead (!) – I used the 2 hours of dough rising time to prepare my sloppy joe mixture and allow it to cool a bit before making the ‘Za.

All-righty then, dough has risen, been punched back, and risen again.

13DoughInThePanbfLONow, heat your oven to 500º, then punch the dough back one more time and let it rest for 10 minutes before turning out onto a board lightly dusted with corn meal and rolling out into a circle. Here’s where I made a mistake. The original recipe told me that it yielded 2-1/4 pounds of dough, but not how many ‘Zas that would make. I chose to make one with ALL. THAT. DOUGH. Mebbe shoulda planned on two. Just a thought.

OK – dough rolled out, time to pop it on your pan of choice – ours is made of cast iron and I am loving it. I brushed my pan with just a little bit of oil before adding the dough.

15BrushOnOliveOilSoftbfLOTIP: Dough nicely formed and in the pan, I popped it in the hot oven for 8 minutes without any toppings added, then removed the partially baked disk from the oven and brushed the top with a small amount of olive oil. According to Alex, this will help to create a barrier to keep the crust from getting soggy once you’ve added all the stuff you plan to heap on top of it.

Does it work?

Works a treat, in my not-so-humble opinion.

Dough pre-baked a tad and provided an olive oil barrier, we’re ready for the big finish.

17SloppyJoeZaReadytoBakebfLOSpread your toppings (in this case – the Sloppy Joe mixture) over the dough, then add your cheese(s) of choice. I opted for a combination of cheddar and mozzarella, which I had already shredded and stashed in the fridge. I had thought of using this really good garlic jack cheese from Door County, but was just too lazy to set about shredding it at that point.

18SloppyJoeZaBakedbfLOOh well, next time.

Pop the ‘Za back into your still hot oven for another 15 minutes or so, until the cheese is all melty and the sauce all bubbly and everything is all YUM.

Ladies’ and gentlemen, I give you Sloppy Joe ‘Za!

So, NEXT time I make this dough, I will certainly count on making TWO ‘Zas – or mebbe one ‘Za and one calzone – or mebbe I will just try a half recipe.

Irregardless, it’s all good.

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